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Unlocking the Secrets Of Aging: Gene Activation

By Tom Seest

Can Altering Gene Activation Slow Aging?

At GettingOlderNews, we help people who want to learn more about aging and anti-aging.

Researchers have long held the belief that mutations to DNA are one of the primary contributors to aging; however, a recent study suggests that altering how genes are turned on and off may also have an effect on our physiologic aging processes.
Scientists have successfully reversed aging in mice by altering the epigenome, or suite of molecules that control how DNA expression occurs without changing its sequence. Their research could lead to longer and healthier lives for us all.

Can Altering Gene Activation Slow Aging?

Can Altering Gene Activation Slow Aging?

Can Modifying Gene Expression Really Slow Down Aging?

Biologically speaking, aging refers to the gradual accumulation of molecular and cellular damage which leads to physical and mental decline and an increased risk of disease and death. Changes don’t follow a uniform path for all people but vary between people; moreover they don’t only occur among humans but can also occur among animals, plants, fungi, etc. Although aging is an inevitability that happens naturally within living organisms, it can also be altered by environmental and lifestyle influences.
For decades, it was believed that aging resulted from genetic mutations that reduced gene function over time. But newer research has proven this theory false: researchers found cells with high mutation counts could still function normally. Now the accepted theory holds that aging results from degradation of epigenome – which controls gene activation/inactivation- deteriorating over time to allow more and more genes to become inactive, leading to degradation in tissues and organs, leading to diseases associated with age and old age.
Harvard researchers announced in January that they had reversed aging clocks on laboratory mice by altering their epigenomes – this development indicates it may be possible to reset biological aging clocks and thus increase human lifespans.
One piece of evidence supporting this theory is the observation that identical twins tend to live similar lifespans, suggesting their genetic code plays an essential part in their lifespan – known as somatic mutation theory of aging.
For decades, the National Institutes of Health has funded scientific studies on aging. One agency overseeing these efforts is the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Here scientists work towards an all-encompassing understanding of what causes aging while prolonging healthy years.
Researchers recently established the Academy for Health and Longevity Research as a way of ensuring their work brings tangible real-life benefits, and to create a forum where future work can take place with real world implications versus speculation or hype. The academy plans on becoming a hub of future work and aiding public, corporations, and government bodies make decisions based on facts rather than speculation or hype.

Can Modifying Gene Expression Really Slow Down Aging?

Can Modifying Gene Expression Really Slow Down Aging?

Is There a Key to Unlocking the Fountain of Youth?

Aging is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. With time, our bodies become more vulnerable to illness and less capable of healing themselves – often as a result of DNA mutations or mitochondrial malfunction resulting in heart disease, cancer, dementia and neurodegeneration among other health problems.
The human body consists of various tissues with specific functions, such as skin, bones and muscles. When combined together into organs they perform more complex tasks. Cells make up these tissues; as we age their composition changes with age as organs become less functional. This continual change results from cell division due to the aging process.
While there are various theories on what causes aging, some scientists hold that DNA controls it. According to this research, they believe it’s inevitable for all of us, though exercise and diet can extend life expectancies by keeping people fit.
Some scientists speculate that aging may be caused by errors or damage to our DNA. They believe it’s inevitable for people to age; however, leading a healthier lifestyle can help slow the rate of aging while decreasing disease risks.
Others consider the aging process as part of natural selection, with these researchers believing it occurs due to tradeoffs between investing in growth, reproduction and somatic maintenance that lead to damage accumulation over time.
Recently, researchers have begun studying the impact of epigenetics on aging. Epigenetics refers to physical structures that encase DNA molecules and regulate which genes are active or inactive – specifically histones which bundle it tightly in compacted chromatin, only permitting certain parts of it to unfurl at any one time.
Harvard Medical School researchers recently demonstrated that altering histones could stop mice from aging prematurely extend human lifespans and enhance quality of life. Their research was published in Cell Journal. If successful in humans as well, anti-aging treatments might improve quality of life while lengthening lifespan.

Is There a Key to Unlocking the Fountain of Youth?

Is There a Key to Unlocking the Fountain of Youth?

Can Altering Gene Expression Really Slow Aging?

Researchers are exploring various effective means to delay aging. Their efforts include the use of drugs and genetic engineering techniques to reset our bodies’ biological clock, which could extend healthspans while delaying diseases like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Harvard Medical School scientists demonstrated in a recently published study in Cell that it is possible to manipulate cellular epigenetic processes that lead to aging and degrade telomeres by injecting an anti-disruption drug that blocks proteins that normally erase marks on DNA strands, into older mice; this treatment prevented their cells from aging at an accelerated pace compared with younger ones.
Studies are increasingly showing how addressing aging may also help treat many associated diseases, including heart disease and osteoporosis. It is thought that many of these illnesses stem from errors in cell replication; thus if we could stop these errors from happening then disease wouldn’t arise as often.
One promising method to slow aging is through calorie restriction. Studies on rodents, yeast, fruit flies and worms have demonstrated its efficacy at increasing lifespan due to energy reserves being used up more quickly by restricting calories which leads to slower cell metabolism rates and thus prolongs their lives.
Studies have demonstrated that people who eat healthily and exercise regularly live longer. Exercise helps improve cellular health and decrease disease risks while slowing the aging process by increasing cell turnover rates and decreasing toxin accumulation.
Reducing stress levels in the body is another effective way to slow aging and protect against diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Studies have demonstrated that stress increases cell mutation and oxidative damage, which increases the risk for premature aging as well as disease development risk. Studies also demonstrate how chronic stress increases mutation rates as well as the risk for diseases like Parkinson’s Disease. By decreasing stress levels, you can help slow aging and protect yourself from diseases such as these.

Can Altering Gene Expression Really Slow Aging?

Can Altering Gene Expression Really Slow Aging?

Can Gene Manipulation Really Slow Down Aging?

Since people began searching for fountains of youth decades ago, we’ve all been hoping that we would discover one. While it may not be possible to completely stop aging altogether, researchers continue their work on methods to either reverse it altogether or at least lessen some of its adverse effects.
Harvard Medical School researchers discovered through one study that epigenetics–which regulates DNA without changing its actual sequence–plays an integral role in aging. Scientists accelerated mouse aging before reprogramming their epigenetics by turning on protective genes such as “housekeeping” ones while suppressing cancer-promoting ones; the result showed healthier animals which lived longer lives than untreated mice.
Scientists hope the same technique can work on humans, and they are optimistic that it will be simpler than on mice. Reversing aging requires restoring epigenetic profiles lost with age; scientists used Yamanaka factors that can convert differentiated cells such as skin, neurons and muscle into stem cells as well as four other genes known to regulate DNA activity; all combined made an anti-aging cocktail for mice brain, eyes, muscles and kidneys that reversed some signs of aging.
Reversing human aging will likely take time and research. One of the greatest challenges lies in discovering antiaging medicines that target aging processes rather than treating diseases as they appear, like most antiaging remedies currently do.
The best way to prevent or delay aging is through living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well-balanced meals, staying physically active, getting enough restful sleep and limiting alcohol and tobacco use as well as eliminating environmental toxins that contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular issues. For more information about living long and healthy lives visit the National Institute on Aging at National Institutes of Health; this national effort to extend healthy years through health promotion efforts leads the nation.

Can Gene Manipulation Really Slow Down Aging?

Can Gene Manipulation Really Slow Down Aging?

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