5 facts about aging

5 facts about aging

Gerontology is the science of aging

The phenomenon of aging is studied by gerontology. The term appeared at the suggestion of the Russian biologist Ilya Mechnikov in 1903.

Gerontology examines the biological, psychological and social aspects of aging and is divided into four areas. Geriatrics studies age-related diseases. Hygiene describes general and specific rules for maintaining a high quality of life for older people. psychology focuses on psychological health, while biogerontology studies the biological mechanisms of aging.

There is no single aging mechanism

On the one hand, aging is a complex disruption of the body's functioning. But this is also the result of its functioning, so we can say that the main cause of biological aging is life itself. Scientists identify many scenarios that lead to wear and tear of the body, and here are the main ones.

One type of disorder is gene mutations that occur in the nucleus of cells. They have a cumulative effect: the more genes are damaged, the more significant the harm to the body. It manifests itself in the problems characteristic of old age, including an increase in the likelihood of chronic diseases.

Another variant of the genetic malfunction is determined by the epigenetic factor. Epigenetics studies how genes behave if DNA remains unchanged, that is, in fact, how our body adapts to various external conditions. An example of epigenetic changes is DNA methylation. This process allows cells to define their profile: some become the epithelial cells that make up our skin, and others become muscle tissue. However, in response to stress or inflammation, the epigenetic profile can change. For example, dysfunction of genes responsible for bone formation predisposes to osteoporosis.

Another problem is associated with the shortening of telomeres - the end portions of chromosomes that perform protective functions. When the cell is divided into daughter cells, they are constantly shortened. At a certain point, the telomere becomes so short that it is perceived as DNA damage, and the cell stops dividing - as a result, tissue regeneration stops.

Another factor is associated with a malfunction of the mitochondria, which supply the cell with energy. Due to the accumulation of errors in the DNA of these organelles, mitochondria, which are called "power stations" of cells, begin to do their job worse. The free radical theory claims that aging is caused by the accumulation of free radicals in cells, the source of which are mitochondria.

Changes in protein quality are an important cause of biological aging. Violation of the folding process (folding of a protein into a three-dimensional functional structure) triggers many pathological processes that eventually manifest themselves in a wide range of diseases - from dementia to Parkinson's disease.

The reduction in life expectancy is also affected by the depletion of stem cells, and the failure of biological barriers that protect the internal environment of the body: blood, lymph, tissue fluid. Now, in order to improve your appearance and slow down aging, you can contact specialized medical centers, fortunately, there are a lot of reviews on them.

Stress damage theory describes aging as a result of stress.

It is important to understand that there is no single and exhaustive cause of aging, aging is triggered not only with the “extinction” of mitochondria, telomeres or DNA malfunction.

Multimorbidity: the older, the more risks

Multimorbidity is a condition of the body in which the manifestation of several chronic but unrelated diseases aggravates their course. This term was proposed in 1970 by the American epidemiologist Alvan Feinstein.

Advances in genetics, immunology, and pharmacology at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century made it possible to increase life expectancy even in the presence of chronic diseases. Therefore, the development of age-associated diseases is now much slower than before.

Scientists suggest that the rate of aging is influenced by our intrauterine development - all those processes that occur even before birth.

As for the prevention of diseases and improving the quality of life in old age, they are standard: doctors recommend establishing a daily routine, playing sports, giving up bad habits and monitoring nutrition.

Diet and longevity

The effect of a low-calorie diet on aging has long been known: a study in 1935 proved that calorie restriction can make laboratory macaques or rats long-livers. Although these conclusions so far apply only to animals, the study of factors affecting life expectancy in different species is one of the most promising areas of gerontology.

Recent studies by American and Chinese experts have shown that rats that ate 30% fewer calories in a relatively short period of time increased health and endurance indicators. If you want to lose weight, then use clinics with positive reviews

Resilience to stress as a path to longevity

In 2002, biogerontologists from the University of New York Rochelle Buffenstein and Jennifer Jarvis announced "the new record holder among long-lived rodents." This rodent was a naked mole rat inhabiting savannas and semi-deserts.

For his species, he is really surprisingly tenacious: in captivity, his age reaches 40 years. Another superpower of an excavator is the ability to survive without oxygen for more than 20 minutes. In addition, these rodents do not develop cancer. It is believed that the naked mole rat is one of the most striking examples of negligible (insignificant) aging.

With this type of aging, the body does not show any external or internal signs of wilting. Most likely, this is due to the resistance to stress of the species. To cope with the daily stress associated with poor living conditions or a high risk of being eaten, the species creates genotypes that are prone to negligible aging.

Experts believe that studying long-lived animals could help fight cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases.