The end of aging is becoming a legitimate pursuit. After thousands of years of seeking the "Fountain of Youth", scientists and researchers are now investigating if aging is something that we have to endure.
It is a field that was accelerated by the tech billionaires who have plenty of money yet do not want to die. Thus, they have incentive to put their resources to work.
In spite of the new interest, not much has changed over the past decade. While there are a lot of promising theories, not much concrete has appeared.
Researchers in Tel Aviv University might have found a major breakthrough .
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) given to healthy middle-aged adults showed that, after 90 days of treatments, aging on the blood cells was reversed.
The researchers found that a unique protocol of treatments with high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber can reverse two major processes associated with aging and its illnesses: the shortening of telomeres (protective regions located at both ends of every chromosome) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body. Focusing on immune cells containing DNA obtained from the participants' blood, the study discovered a lengthening of up to 38% of the telomeres, as well as a decrease of up to 37% in the presence of senescent cells.
This is a major step forward since telomeres are long thought to be the "holy grail" of the longevity industry. While most projects seek to slow the shortening, the research here found a lengthening.
It opens the door for further research using HBOT. If it pans out, it is a rather simple solution (therapy) to help in the life extension process-
Of course, periodically we see major "breakthroughs" like this only to find out things do not result as expected upon further inquiry. Nevertheless, the idea of being able to lengthen telomeres will align with many theories in the longevity community.
Some believe we are getting close to the point where life spans can explode. The average life expectancy has gone up the last few decades, much of this due to the fact that infant and child mortality rates have plummeted. Our "top-end" number has not moved.
Most experts believe that the human body cannot surpass 120 years of age. This is of no consequence to many who are involved in this field. To them, the idea of helping people live to 100 is of greater interest. The key will be whether we can do this while enabling people to age in a healthy manner.
After all, who wants to live to 100 yet spend the last 20 years under nursing care and being bed-ridden?
The next couple decades will be very interesting. There are some very knowledgeable people who believe that human longevity is possible. However, for now, it looks more like a hope and dream.
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Posted with STEMGeeks