Have scientists finally unlocked the secret of eternal youth?

Monkey glands. Goat testicles. Fermented donkey’s milk. All have been studied over the centuries by those seeking the elusive elixir of eternal youth.

Today, however, the dream has evolved. Forget face serums to look 24-94, anti-aging now has a serious reason to be. Some of the best scientific minds in the world are dedicated to exploring every gene and cell in our body to determine how to ward off the aging process and keep us healthier for longer.

Funded by billionaires such as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the so-called “science of rejuvenation” is now big business, taking place in the heart of Silicon Valley.

New anti-aging ideas range from drug treatments to crazy-sounding procedures such as injections with the blood of a young

Funded by billionaires such as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the so-called “science of rejuvenation” is now big business, taking place in the heart of Silicon Valley

Funded by billionaires such as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the so-called “science of rejuvenation” is now big business, taking place in the heart of Silicon Valley

New anti-aging ideas range from drug treatments to crazy-sounding procedures like injections with a youngster’s blood.

And, surprisingly, there’s some solid science behind it.

Several studies in the 1990s and early 2000s showed that older mice injected with the blood of younger mice saw an increase in proteins responsible for repairing damaged tissue, as well as better brain, muscle, and hepatic. The US government’s National Institute for Health funds independent research into treatment.

The quest for immortality is no longer the focus. More recently, it is also about extending what is called healthy life expectancy, or “lifespan”.

The term – which refers to the number of years it takes before you develop age-related chronic conditions – has been discussed frequently by ministers in recent weeks as part of the government’s race to the top agenda.

One of the main aims is to reduce the gap in average healthy life expectancy between the poorest and wealthiest parts of the UK. In Blackpool, healthy life expectancy stands at just 55, compared to 71 in Richmond upon Thames, south London.

Ministers have pledged to increase the national average healthy life expectancy from 63 to 68 by 2035. But the average Briton can expect to live to be 80, and no one wants to live longer. a decade in poor health.

Now the experts have taken up the challenge to extend our “lifespan” even further.

Professor Dame Linda Partridge, a geneticist at University College London, says: “There is an ethical imperative to try to find ways to keep people healthier for longer, to try to reduce this period of loss of function at the end of their life.”

One method being explored is to give healthy people drugs that treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes years before the diseases develop.

In 2014, American researchers made a remarkable discovery about an antibiotic usually given to transplant patients.

Several studies in the 1990s and early 2000s showed that older mice injected with the blood of younger mice saw an increase in proteins responsible for repairing damaged tissue, as well as better brain, muscle, and hepatic.

Several studies in the 1990s and early 2000s showed that older mice injected with the blood of younger mice saw an increase in proteins responsible for repairing damaged tissue, as well as better brain, muscle, and hepatic.

In experiments, dogs given the drug, called rapamycin, in midlife had above-average heart function for their age. They were also less likely to suffer from age-related heart problems later in life, compared to a group of dogs that didn’t receive the drug.

Other animal studies have shown that it can increase overall lifespan by up to 38% and lead to more energy later in the creature’s life.

Early human studies show it has a rejuvenating effect on the immune system. Stanford University researchers found that older people who received a six-week course of rapamycin had an unusually strong response to the flu vaccine and developed fewer infections, compared to a group who did not. received the medicine.

There are currently over 2,000 trials investigating the anti-aging effect of rapamycin worldwide, including 1,000 in the United States.

Another drug under investigation is metformin for the treatment of diabetes, which has been used since the 1950s to lower blood sugar. But studies have shown that people who take it live longer than people who take different diabetes medications, and slightly longer than people who don’t have diabetes.

So how do these drugs work? Scientists believe the effect on the body is similar to that of fasting diets, long known for their anti-aging benefits.

Calorie restriction has been shown in studies to have a rejuvenating effect on damaged cells.

In experiments, dogs given the drug, called rapamycin, in midlife had above-average heart function for their age.  They were also less likely to suffer from age-related heart problems later in life, compared to a group of dogs that didn't receive the drug.

In experiments, dogs given the drug, called rapamycin, in midlife had above-average heart function for their age. They were also less likely to suffer from age-related heart problems later in life, compared to a group of dogs that didn’t receive the drug.

Lack of nutrients causes the body to break down its own cells for energy, and the first to get used to it are those that are damaged or malfunctioning. This results in the shedding of old, half-dead cells, which could have caused disease later in life, while a greater proportion of healthy cells remain.

Studies have shown that a person’s number of dead cells is directly linked to the risk of age-related diseases such as dementia, cancer, and diabetes, among other age-related problems.

Fasting also causes the body to start using fat stores for fuel, which stimulates the release of a chemical that some studies have shown promotes new connections in the brain, thereby boosting cognition.

Drugs such as rapamycin and metformin trick the body into thinking nutrients are scarce, triggering the same effect.

Silicon Valley companies investing in research into these drugs have come up with a new term for them: senolytics. And some are modified to specifically reverse the effects of aging.

American studies have shown that animals given the senolytic drug dasatinib – which is already used to treat leukemia – were less likely to develop age-related spinal crumbling.

It has also been found to increase animal lifespan by 25% and improve heart and kidney function later in life.

A California-based start-up, Unity Biotechnology, is developing drugs that are believed to purge the body of aging and dying cells.

He unveiled the first results of his first human study – aimed at determining whether a newly developed senolytic could improve age-related vision loss – and reported improved vision and reduced damage to the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye that sends images to the brain. In addition, larger studies are already underway.

Other Silicon Valley-backed scientists believe the secret to turning back time is in our genes.

In 2006, Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka discovered the tiny changes in our DNA that could transform cells into younger versions of themselves. Now a number of Silicon Valley start-ups, including Jeff Bezos’ company Altos Labs, are studying the technology to see if it can prevent age-related diseases.

Previous studies have shown that using these genetic modifications reduced signs of aging in mice and extended overall lifespan by six weeks. Another 2020 study found that the technique could fully restore sight to aging mice.

Do these innovations hold the key to eternal youth, or even better health in old age? I just hope I’m here long enough to find out.

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