Comments From Aging Researchers

A nice set of comments on current aging research are lined up at ScienceWeek for your reading pleasure. Richard Miller's points are interesting:

Is it safe to conclude that oxygen molecules are the true culprits in causing aging? Can we now turn our attention to the secondary questions of how they cause physiological decline in the superannuated? There are still some grounds for skepticism. The search for antioxidant drugs that slow aging and extend life span in mammals has produced much frustration and an absence of authentic anti-aging pills.

...

Mice can live reasonably long and healthy lives despite unusually high levels of oxidative damage ... Mutations that extend worm longevity also typically lead to, and perhaps act through, increased resistance to multiple forms of stress. Thus, it seems plausible that many age-retarding mutations may work by inducing cellular signaling pathways, still poorly defined, that augment defenses against a multitude of insults, including the oxidative ones.

While it's true that scientists would seem to have nailed down all the major root causes of age-related damage, there is a way to go yet in understanding how genetic and biochemical changes influence aging. Yet our lack of knowledge regarding specific mechanisms doesn't have to hold us back from developing medical technologies capable of repairing the age-related damage we understand. You don't have to be a meterologist to fix the guttering after a rainstorm - or to build a better gutter that will withstand the next storm. So less conservatism and more research into real anti-aging therapies!

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