A post on the applications of melatonin from Ouroboros is a good illustration of just how crude are the tools available to us today. It's like having a complex machine and trying to keep it running for longer by hitting it with a hammer at various points to jog the components. Entire branches of the scientific community are devoted to figuring out where best and how hard to hit the machine; it used to be a matter of trial and error, but now is moving towards better understanding how the components fit together. "Animal and cell culture models of several [neurodegenerative] disorders have benefited from the application of melatonin. The mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective properties of melatonin are likely to involve activation of specific melatonin receptors. This can lead to modulation of transcription factors and consequent altered gene expression, resulting in enhancement of antioxidant enzymes and downregulation of basal levels of inflammation. Melatonin has potential utility both in slowing normal brain aging and in treatment of neurodegenerative conditions." The greatest advance that stems from modern biotechnology will be the ability to move beyond the hammer approach - and melatonin is very much a hammer approach - to precisely interact with the components of the machinery rather than reaching into the rack of blunt implements.