Life is mortal.
But still, the very thought of becoming “Old” is enough to give us nightmares, isn’t it?Well, however perturbing it is, the process of aging is as universal as the very existence of humans on Earth.
Aging is a natural phenomenon of accumulation of various transformations, occurring gradually over time in an individual, and progresses toward senescence. It is a word, not only applicable to human beings, but also to many other species of animals, plants and fungi. Being “Aged” can be used synonymously with being “Old”, but as the saying goes,
Aging is inevitable, Growing Old is optional
Counting the number of years we exist, is obligatory rather than being an option. However, Growing old is basically a behavior that creeps in as the body becomes physically, physiologically, and psychologically torpid and debilitated.
We choose to believe in senescence earlier than itself if occurring, making it a programmed mindset. And becoming “Old” is quite a terror for us, as since time immemorial, from demons to humans, all are seeking and running for being Immortal!
The process of Aging accounts for three fundamental aspects-
CHRONOLOGICAL AGING :- It solely accounts for the number of years, a person is existent, irrespective of how and why.
BIOLOGICAL AGING :- It depicts the changes in the body of an individual that is perhaps, common for all, as one grows old. It is the capability of body’s normal functioning. A person at 60 years of age can be biologically healthier than someone who is 45 and leads an unhealthy lifestyle.
PSYCHOLOGICAL AGING :- It depends on to what extent, a person is mentally active and stable, irrespective of the number of years, he or she is leading. (probably that’s the reason a wealthy person who is always in a state of anxiety about his/her massive property, is more ‘aged’ than a hawker, who is satiated with his way of earning and living!)
Humans have always tried to conquer nature, deviating natural phenomena and devising methodologies that aid their own existence. In the context of possessing aberrated longevity, modern science and technology are engaged for envisaging drugs that maintain efficacious functioning of the body. With ‘Anti-aging’ creams and supplements around the corner, it has been possible to defer the process of Aging by targeting cellular and molecular modifications that restrain the gradual diminishing of muscles, strengthening the body’s immune system and increasing libido. The use of hGh (Human Growth Hormone) supplements and antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E are quite prevalent to abstain from getting ‘Old’.
However, all these mechanisms can only retard senectitude.
But, with the amelioration of Science, researchers are now on a quest to ‘reverse’ the Biological Aging process, defying the laws of nature.
What will be the outcomes of such an unascertained creation?
A drug that arrests aging can be only devised if the genetic prospect of Aging is taken into account, particularly the Telomere. It is a repeating segment of DNA occupying the ends of a cell’s chromosome. Each time a cell divides, a part of it is lost, and so, gradually with multiple rounds of cell division, the cell reaches a critical point beyond which further divisions are not viable. It leads to the ‘death’ of a cell, thus involved in senility. Also, the factors that influence the Telomerase enzyme, like TERC (Telomere RNA Component) are also associated with growing old.
The process of aging is predominantly related to EPIGENETICS– a part of the body’s control mechanism regulated by switching “on” or “off” certain genes.
If the Epigenetic regulation of Aging is unwinded to the extent such that it can be manipulated and modified artificially, then the day will not very far when we can actually CEASE our Age!
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The occlusion of Age is certainly anomalous. The consequence can become either a Boon or a Bane.
Considering the Benefits, the AGE-RIDDEN world would have become more and more prosperous and advanced. Humans, being able to control the expression of their own genetic machinery, can make a huge leap for mankind. Certainly the death rate goes down and people can spend more of their life in the field they chose to work. The younger ones can definitely seek consultation as well as admonition from years of experiences gained by the Adults. The socio-economic progression will go hand in hand with technology development.
Moreover, imagine what if the Greatest Scientists Of All Time, like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and others have survived? The world would have beheld more numerous miracles by their tremendous accomplishments.
The leverage for being ‘Age-less’ seems so pleasurable, right?
The ‘Live-happily-ever-after’ World may not be so Happy.
The prominent inconvenience that the humans would face at first will be that of resource depletion. As the death rates go down, there will not be a countering mechanism for maintaining the “balance of life”.
The Survival of Any species on earth is guided by some laws of nature, applicable for Homo sapiens as well. Life and Death are the two sides of a coin, both being dependent on each other. With one being dominant, a natural imbalance will prevail. Likewise, one species dominating over others would create havoc. Overpopulation will be the prime suspect for the overutilization of natural resources. The trophic levels would be dislodged. Humans, by nature tend to be insatiable. The more people will gain power, the more potent destructor they will become. The ‘Age-less beings’ will be prevalent to the extent where they themselves will be at constant chaos. Gradually, the existence of all organisms would be at stake, including the Humans.
So, prior to designing a ‘Drug’ which will have the ability to stop Aging in Humans, we should question ourselves.
Will we be able to survive by defying the laws of nature?
Author : Srijita Maity
The Source :- Thinkmap