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Science Forum

  1. 06 Mar '09 23:50 / 1 edit
    Hi, this is the first time that i have entered the science forum and do so with some intrepidation , for I am not a scientist, anyhow, i will try to be as lucid and succinct as possible. My question concerns the ageing process, we know that cells are able to regenerate and replenish themselves, thus when we accidentally cut our finger, the body functions in such as way as to reproduce the necessary components and we heal, my question is this, under the correct circumstances, is there any reason why this process could not go on perpetually - thanks in advance Robbie.
  2. 07 Mar '09 00:20
    When DNA is replicated, it is slightly shortened. In order to not lose vital information coded in our DNA, there's a section of DNA in each chromosome known as a telomere. This is nothing but a repeated sequence of nucleotides which acts as a buffer to the coding region of our DNA. If the process of mitotic cell division were to continue indefinitely we would eventually run out of this region in our DNA, and lose important information coded in our DNA necessary for survival.

    This is just one reason that the process can not continue indefinitely.
  3. 07 Mar '09 00:41 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by amolv06
    When DNA is replicated, it is slightly shortened. In order to not lose vital information coded in our DNA, there's a section of DNA in each chromosome known as a telomere. This is nothing but a repeated sequence of nucleotides which acts as a buffer to the coding region of our DNA. If the process of mitotic cell division were to continue indefinitely we w ...[text shortened]... ssary for survival.

    This is just one reason that the process can not continue indefinitely.
    thanks, if this process was manipulated, so that shortening didn't take place, could it self perpetuate? Actually my motive here is to try to establish if it is indeed possible given the 'perfect', circumstances that perpetuation could take place, also is there an ageing gene - regards Robbie?
  4. 07 Mar '09 00:55 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    thanks, if this process was manipulated, so that shortening didn't take place, could it self perpetuate?
    This is what cancer is.

    The biological basis for aging is not at all well understood. Certainly there is a biological basis that takes us from prepubescence to adolescence to adulthood, however there is no consensus as to what causes old-age. Knowing this, I think it is safe to say that with out current understanding of the process we would be unable to combat the effects of aging.
  5. 07 Mar '09 08:49
    Originally posted by amolv06
    This is what cancer is.

    The biological basis for aging is not at all well understood. Certainly there is a biological basis that takes us from prepubescence to adolescence to adulthood, however there is no consensus as to what causes old-age. Knowing this, I think it is safe to say that with out current understanding of the process we would be unable to combat the effects of aging.
    ok, please be patient for i am not a scientist nor very brainy! If i understand you correctly, what a 'cancer', does, is to completely replicate (no shortening) the DNA sequence code, manipulate it and then self replicate, producing cancerous cells! how insidious is that!

    As there is no consensus of thought yet, in your opinion, is the aging process linked to genetics or something else, or do we simply not know? and do you think that it will be resolved in the near future or are we still very far away? i really thank you for your reply for this has plagued me for ages - regards Robbie.
  6. 08 Mar '09 18:45 / 1 edit
    Sorry for the slow reply.

    You are more or less correct about cancer. While a cancer does not completely copy DNA in the sense that regions of the telomere are clipped during dna replication, the cancer replaces the lost telomere region..

    And I'm certainly unqualified to give you a meaningful opinion on what causes aging. There's certainly a genetic component when maturing into adulthood. Beyond that your guess is as good as mine. There are many theories. Some say that aging could be due to an accumulation of random DNA copying errors throughout life. Still others say telomere shortening (which activates a mechanism preventing further cell multiplication) could be a cause of aging. Some postulate evolutionary theories to explain aging. There are many others. It may just as well be a combination of two or more.
  7. 08 Mar '09 22:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by amolv06
    Sorry for the slow reply.

    You are more or less correct about cancer. While a cancer does not completely copy DNA in the sense that regions of the telomere are clipped during dna replication, the cancer replaces the lost telomere region..

    And I'm certainly unqualified to give you a meaningful opinion on what causes aging. There's certainly a genetic ...[text shortened]... to explain aging. There are many others. It may just as well be a combination of two or more.
    thanks Amalov, even this small sojourn to the science forum has been enlightening - regards Robbie.

    P.S, i was reading an article on BBC which sated that scientists have identified an enzyme responsible for detailing where a cancer may spread, in which they hope to interrupt the process whereby the body prepares a new area

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7813072.stm
  8. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    11 Mar '09 06:16 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Hi, this is the first time that i have entered the science forum and do so with some intrepidation , for I am not a scientist, anyhow, i will try to be as lucid and succinct as possible. My question concerns the ageing process, we know that cells are able to regenerate and replenish themselves, thus when we accidentally cut our finger, the body func ...[text shortened]... es, is there any reason why this process could not go on perpetually - thanks in advance Robbie.
    One theory has it we would not survive more than a few thousand years even if immortality was given to all humans. The idea there is life is too arduous and you may dodge bullets like plane crashes, space suit punctures, hunting accidents, falls into a canyon, etc., only for so long and one of those non-life kind of accidents will get you sooner or later, probably a lot sooner.

    There is also the problem of keeping on to your memories, what is the capacity of an immortal to remember her whole life? Would you then have to have some kind of digital central where you offload your memories every thousand years or so and go on from there?

    Or maybe extend your brain into your bones like have them extend into the marrow or something? It would look like even that would have its limits. The human brain uses up something like a quarter of the entire bodies energy supply already so you can see if you did something like extend the brain internally into the body, there would be a limit on how much you could extend things that way due to the limited recources of even an immortal body.


    BTW, there is a doctor in Florida who is already offering some kind of telemere rebuilding proceedure, it costs 22,000 bucks. Personally I would not want to be the first one to do such a thing, since telemere extension is also implicated in cancer and what good would it do you if indeed telemere rebuilding actually worked and you ended up 20 years younger but die of cancer 5 years later?

    I can shoot you the doc's website if you want, he is out to make money that is pretty obvious, he has these long posts where he just made a trip to Nicaragua or Peru or some such and is always coming up with the next best anti-aging formula which he will supply to you for the incredibly great price of only $196 US for a 6 month supply of whatever he is shilling at the moment. Some of his advice is actually good, you just have to remember he is clearly in it for the dough, and I don't mean the kind you kneed, the kind he NEEDS
  9. 11 Mar '09 21:27
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    One theory has it we would not survive more than a few thousand years even if immortality was given to all humans. The idea there is life is too arduous and you may dodge bullets like plane crashes, space suit punctures, hunting accidents, falls into a canyon, etc., only for so long and one of those non-life kind of accidents will get you sooner or later, p ...[text shortened]... er he is clearly in it for the dough, and I don't mean the kind you kneed, the kind he NEEDS
    Actually Sonhouse my friend, i am just interested, because from what i can understand, we use an incredibly small percentage of our minds potential during a lifetime, way too small!
  10. 12 Mar '09 00:16 / 1 edit
    A small contribution to this thread.
    One of the most important factors of aging biochemical process, is oxidation.
    “”Our most significant finding was that anti-oxidant intervention slows down basal skeletal muscle oxidation, which causes the body to age,”" said Dr. Leeuwenburgh, who did the study with Jay Heinecke, John Holloszy and Polly Hansen of the Washington University School of Medicine. “”This is the first evidence of this.”"
    However, as above noted, genetics play an important role on cell replication…

    Although, do not discount that we live on a 3-D space dimension in which time is added as an exchangeable coordinate.
    --> The closer you are to a gravitational source, the faster you age… Or in space you’d age slower.
    --> Speed, in which time is also a factor, also decelerates aging.

    Aging is a multifactor process.

    The mind? Well, what a complicated subject.
    Although theories on the subject are surprisingly fantastic, we are short to understand.
  11. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    12 Mar '09 07:55
    Originally posted by leov
    --> The closer you are to a gravitational source, the faster you age… Or in space you’d age slower.
    --> Speed, in which time is also a factor, also decelerates aging.
    It´s a little difficult to get across how small these effects are. In any case it doesn´t do you any good. What counts for any observer is the flow of proper time. You can sit near the event horizon of a black hole and a trillion years will go by for everyone else, while you will still be alive. The problem is that for you only the seventy odd years that the human body lasts for will have gone by.

    The only help it would be is if you put a penny in an investment account and used it to get super high interest rates for your retirement.
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Do ya think?
    13 Mar '09 05:44
    A friend of mine dedicated his life to curing aging. He finds the US laws annoyingly restrictive. They won't let him progress fast enough to make himself immortal because they demand extensive tests. Last I heard he went into cryogenics so that later they might be able to make him immortal...
  13. Standard member PBE6
    Bananarama
    13 Mar '09 13:38
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    The only help it would be is if you put a penny in an investment account and used it to get super high interest rates for your retirement.
    Or a meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!
  14. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    16 Mar '09 05:26
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    A friend of mine dedicated his life to curing aging. He finds the US laws annoyingly restrictive. They won't let him progress fast enough to make himself immortal because they demand extensive tests. Last I heard he went into cryogenics so that later they might be able to make him immortal...
    He has a cold personality.
  15. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    16 Mar '09 06:12
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Actually Sonhouse my friend, i am just interested, because from what i can understand, we use an incredibly small percentage of our minds potential during a lifetime, way too small!
    Well then, it would seem you should be interested in research that actualizes a larger portion of our brains during our limited lifetimes rather than wait around for immortality or extreme long life.