A new study shows it is 'theoretically' and 'logically' impossible to stop the natural process of aging. Researchers say they have demonstrated this mathematically.
The Inevitablity Of Aging
Despite the fact that people are certainly bound to get older, as part of the natural process of life, scientists have still been trying to figure out how to slow down the effects of aging and hopefully stop it in its tracks.
However, a new study has put forward a mathematical evidence that proves the inevitablity of aging and the impossibility of halting its process in "multicellular organisms", such as animals and human beings.
For some time now, scientists have understood that it may be possible to stop the process of aging in humans only if they are able to find out how to make "natural selection between organisms perfect." Scientists said this could be done by using "cellular competition," where bad cells in the human body are eliminated.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona (UA), shows that there is no easy solution to this problem and that even if selection between organisms were made perfect, the process of aging would still take place naturally.
What Takes Place In The Human Body?
Paul Nelson, a postdoctoral researcher at UA and lead author of the study, said that there are two processes that take place in the human body. One process involves cells slowing down and losing their ability to function, and the other involves cells growing faster, which causes cancer cells to develop and multiply. When people get older, most of the cells in their bodies lose their functions and then they don't grow anymore.
"But some of your cells are growing like crazy. What we show is that this forms a double bind - a catch-22. If you get rid of those poorly functioning, sluggish cells, then that allows cancer cells to proliferate, and if you get rid of, or slow down, those cancer cells, then that allows sluggish cells to accumulate." said Nelson.
The researchers at the university concluded that, mathematically, fixing the problems would actually make things worse.
"Either all of your cells will continue to get more sluggish, or you'll get cancer. And the basic reason is that things break. It doesn't matter how much you try and stop them from breaking, you can't." said Joanna Masel, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UA.
The research, called Intercellular Competition and Inevitability of Multicellular Aging, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Science Of Aging: Caloric Restriction
Back in 1934, a research led by nutritionist Clive McCay had discovered that calorie restriction could extend the lifespan of rats by 50 percent. The discovery has inspired research into delaying and preventing the effects of aging.
This year, another research conducted by scientists from the US National Institute on Aging and the University of Wisconsin has shown how caloric restriction can be very effective in delaying the effects of aging in rhesus monkeys.
Cell Process Behind Premature Aging Uncovered
According to results of a study conducted by the Scripps Research Institute, there are two genes that balance each other in order for cells to function normally. The study could bring scientists closer to understanding the process that leads to aging in humans and other animals. However, the researchers from the institute still plan to continue their research in order to find more practical results.