Introduction to the Biology of Aging with Matt Kaeberlein | AGE Presents
This article is a summary of a YouTube video "AGE Presents: Matt Kaeberlein - An Introduction to the Biology of Aging." by American Aging Association
TLDR The study of aging and the identification of genetic pathways and interventions that target the hallmarks of aging have the potential to extend lifespan and improve overall health and well-being.
Genetic Influences on Aging
Some animals, like whales and clams, have significantly longer lifespans than humans, indicating that nature has found ways to modify the rate of aging through genetics.
Nutrient sensing pathways, such as mTOR and insulin/IGF-1 signaling, play a crucial role in regulating the rate of aging, suggesting that manipulating these pathways could potentially extend lifespan.
"Turning down nutrient sensing pathways is associated with increased lifespan and slower aging in many organisms, suggesting a balance between growth/reproduction and stress resistance/longevity."
Studying individuals with rare diseases like werner syndrome, who experience accelerated aging, can provide valuable insights into the biology of aging.
Accelerated aging disorders like Werner syndrome and Hutchinson-Guilford progeria syndrome provide valuable insights into the mechanisms of aging and potential interventions.
The idea that exceptional agers may have a genetic background that makes them resistant to diseases and death challenges the notion that a healthy lifestyle is the sole determinant of longevity.
Experimental Approaches to Studying Aging
Damage to mitochondria caused by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species is considered a foundational root cause of aging.
The problem with senescent cells is not just that they stop functioning, but that they also release pro-inflammatory signals that can be detrimental to the body.
Clearing senescent cells through synolysis can reverse age-related inflammation, improve function, and extend lifespan.
Heterochronic parabiosis, where the circulatory systems of young and old animals are connected, has been observed to restore stem cell function in the old animal, suggesting the presence of circulating factors that drive stem cell senescence.
The rapid aging of model organisms allows scientists to study the aging process in a time frame that enables mechanistic understanding, rather than just correlation.
The identification of genetic pathways and interventions that target the hallmarks of aging have shown to have an effect on lifespan and health span in different organisms.
Paradigm Shift in Medicine
"Targeting biological aging is a new paradigm for 21st-century medicine."
The root cause of many diseases lies in a single greatest risk factor, which goes beyond lifestyle choices such as smoking, diet, alcohol consumption, or exercise.
The concept of "21st century medicine" involves not only slowing down the aging process but also reversing functional declines associated with aging, ultimately improving overall health and well-being.
"Aging is just biology. We've made a lot of progress at figuring out that biology."