Theories Of Aging
The DNA and Genetic Theories
Some scientists regard this as
a Planned Obsolescence Theory because it focuses
upon the encoded programming within our DNA. Our DNA is the blue-print
of individual life obtained from our parents. It means we are
born with a unique code and a predetermined tendency to certain
types of physical and mental functioning that regulate the rate
at which we age.
But this type of genetic clock
can be greatly influenced with regard to its rate of timing. For
example, DNA is easily oxidized and this damage can be accumulated
from diet, lifestyle, toxins, pollution, radiation and other outside
Thus, we each have the ability
to accelerate DNA damage or slow it down.
One of the most recent theories
regarding gene damage has been the Telomerase
Theory of Aging. First discovered by scientists at the
Geron Corporation, it is now understood that telomeres
(the sequences of nucleic acids extending from the ends
of chromosomes), shorten every time a cell divides. This
shortening of telomeres is believed to lead to cellular damage
due to the inability of the cell to duplicate itself correctly.
Each time a cell divides it duplicates itself a little worse than
the time before, thus this eventually leads to cellular dysfunction,
aging and indeed death.
Further recent research by Don
Kleinsek Ph.D., of GeriGene Inc. (one of the few genealogists
looking for the genes involved with aging), indicates that telomeres
can be repaired by the introduction of the relevant hormone. In
other words telomeres and their subsequent processes affect each
other. It may be possible, (once we know what each telomere is
responsible for), to precisely introduce the necessary hormone
and aid genetic repair, as well as the hormonal balance etc.
Another key element in rebuilding
the disappearing telomeres is the enzyme telomerase, (an
enzyme so-far only found in germ and cancer cells). Telomerase
appears to repair and replace telomeres helping to re-regulate
the clock that controls the life-span of dividing cells (see the
Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging
for further details).
In future protocols it may be possible
to introduce telomerase. But right now we know that free radicals
damage DNA (see the Free Radical Theory of Aging) and
so does glycosylation (see the Cross-Linking Theory of Aging).
Thus protocols for those two, as well as hormone replacement therapy
may help prevent DNA damage.