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Biological Aging Theory

Biological Aging Theory
SKU bag/ebook/000/000
Author Theodore C. Goldsmith
Binding pdf 37 pages
ISBN-13 978-0-9788709-1-1
ISBN-10 0-9788709-1-3
Publisher Azinet Press
Published date 2012
Our price: £0.00
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This overview summarizes the current situation, history, major controversies, and medical implications of scientific biological aging theories. See Further Reading for a much more comprehensive treatment of this subject. Scientific theories of biological aging (senescence) attempt to answer two questions: How do we age? What are the specific biological mechanisms that cause aging? Aging is a very difficult subject for experimental investigation for two reasons:

First, aging is very diffuse and affects many different systems and tissues. If, for example, aging only affected the liver, we would have probably long since definitively determined the mechanisms behind aging. Second, aging is a long-term process. An experiment to determine if a pharmaceutical agent suppresses a particular pathogen could be performed in a matter of days. An experiment to determine if an agent or protocol increases life span in mammals could take years or decades to perform.

Understanding the aging process is critical to our ability to understand and treat highly age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease that currently kill the majority of people in developed countries, some at very young ages. Why do we age? It is apparent that aging and life span characteristics are very specific to individual species and vary greatly between even very similar species. Mammal life spans vary over a range of about 100 to 1 between humans and the shortest-lived mouse (~0.8 years) and fish life spans vary over a range of at least 600 to 1. Some aspect of the design of each particular species therefore must determine life span. We look to evolution theory to explain why different species have different designs and evolution theory is consequently critical to attempts to explain why we age. Unfortunately, as will be described, aging and life span observations are among the very few observations that appear to conflict with Darwin’s ideas and no scientific agreement has been reached regarding evolutionary explanations for aging despite 150 years of effort.

Because of the experimental difficulties, theories as to why we age are very important in providing guidance to experimental approaches. Many experimental proposals are suggested by a specific evolution-based aging theory.

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