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Immortality is no more fictional for humanity.

Living longer and healthier is not as far ahead in the future as we think.

By Amresh Kumar Singh Published 2 months ago 5 min read
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Immortality is no more fictional for humanity.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Aging is an issue that should be among the top priorities for humankind. Although it is my personal opinion, most of you reading this article would somewhat share the same slant for aging as a subject. We have all been made to believe somehow that we are supposed to age and eventually die, and there is nothing much that can be done about it. However, in the coming decade or two, this is about to change, if not eliminated. You know what they say; if you believe it, it will eventually happen. But are the challenges preventing us from having a longer and healthier life span that big, and if yes, why are they so massive after all?

As we have seen in movies for years, autonomous technologies are among the solutions scientists have worked on for quite some time. Their quest to create a perfect symbiosis between machine and human may have some of the answers to our immortality, for starters. The Neuralink technology being developed by Elon Musk helps build a fully integrated Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), which enables the automation of devices with the intervention of brain power and vice versa.

Methuselah Foundation is an organization working on reverse aging technologies and their practical implementation for human lifespan extension. They are also working on a strategic goal of increasing the Human Lifespan and making the 90s the new 50s by 2023. Yes, that is too early, and my fingers are crossed on that one.

Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos has also invested in a similar startup names Altos Lab. With the backing of $3 billion, Jeff Bezos is the largest investor in this biotech company. Altos Lab is working on a mission to restore cell health, and to do so; they are working on increasing cell resilience through their cell rejuvenation program. Further, this program also helps in reversing disabilities, diseases, and injuries that one may come across in their lifetime.

Google’s calico program is yet another pursuit with similar ambitions. It aims at understanding the biology of aging and how that affects our lifespan. Further, using this knowledge, the company would develop the required interventions, enabling a healthier and longer lifespan.

What are the problems associated with aging?

Access to better health care has been both boon and a bane for human civilization. On the one hand, it has successfully increased the life expectancy of the elderly population. But on the other hand, a spike has been observed in the elderly population, which will soon surpass the younger population. Due to such an uneven population parity, working on increasing life expectancy and quality of life is imperative.

Professor David Sinclair, A.O., Ph.D. in the Department of Genetics and a co-Director at Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Hvarad Medical School, is best known for his research in understanding aging and ways to reduce its effects. His ideology for aging is based upon his understanding of the diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, etc., which we often associate with aging. As per him, it is not these diseases; aging is a disease in itself that should be treated.

What causes aging?

Professor Sinclare and his team have allocated multiple hallmarks for aging. These hallmarks are directly associated with aging or the diseases that come with it. They are:

  • Genomic instability as a result of DNA damage.
  • Contributions made by Telomeres, which are found at the end of chromosomes, protect them from getting tangled. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides and eventually become so short that the cell cannot divide any longer.
  • Epigenome contributions determine the activity of the genes and the changes that further determine which gene to turn on and which to turn off. The production of proteins in the cells is also influenced by epigenome.
  • Healthy protein maintenance loss.
  • Mitochondrial disfunctions
  • Metabolic changes
  • Healthy cells inflation by the accumulation of senescent zombielike cells.
  • Stem Cells exhaustion.

So, just by somehow addressing these hallmarks. We can successfully slow down the aging process and, to a large extent, address the life-threatening diseases that we usually associate with aging.

The good news is that we know the reasons commonly associated with biological aging and death. We need the process to forestall these challenges, and we are good to go. Scientists are already working on it, as we have seen from the various projects I mentioned above. Stem cells, for example, have the potential to develop into various other cells present in our body. If only we could prevent it from tiring out, it could develop all the tissues needed for healing and addressing the various diseases.

The acceptance rate of bone marrow transplants is already improving due to the medical procedures presently being used. What does that implicate? The bone marrow transplant is the most common form of stem cell therapy we see today. Further, we can use stem cells to address type 1 diabetes, vision loss, and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Similarly, many ways are being worked upon to eliminate senescent cells and prevent them from accumulating in the first place. Studies suggest that regular exercise can also reduce senescent cells in a healthy human. However, studies are yet to be done for further confirmation.

With further studies of each of the other hallmarks and addressing ways to eliminate their ramifications, we can eventually get closer to eliminating death for as long as possible, providing humanity with the gift of healthier and longer life. As soon as 15 to 20 years, therapies on humans will most probably be run. But this would be accompanied by transitions in our present-day society's political, economic, and social spheres. Living forever means changing the core concept of being alive and all the activities we perform throughout our existence based upon the mindset that one day we will all die.

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About the Creator

Amresh Kumar Singh

I love reading, and I do it a lot. Whenever I encounter something compelling, I share it with others. But I can not do it without doing the due diligence on my end. All the content I share is, therefore, well-researched.

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