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There may be a way to stop or delay aging. But science is divided

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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Science has left no field to alter and make it human-friendly. Medicine, architecture, teaching, cooking, cosmetics—every aspect is easy to blend into our modern high-tech lives. Nowadays, even reversing the process of aging is possible.

Every individual has his/her own ideas about life, aging, and death. Some find it a thing to cherish, an experience, a vital path that is to be traversed to reach the final destination, death. Some believe it as a sign, a time in life where you introspect your position in your life, your journey that has completed many stages of life and you’re about to go through the last one. Some believe that aging is as crucial as going through the adolescent phase, teen life, and adult stage.

An extract from the book Ikigai reads:

“At 80 I am still a child
When I come to see you at 90
Send me away to wait until I’m 100
The older, the stronger.”

The other set of population finds aging as the root cause of many diseases. People feel they should be able to live longer in a happy and healthy state along with their partner or companion and continue doing what they love. They find the notion tempting to live a life that would undo their disorders, a life that will offer a fair chance to keep exploring. According to National Geographic reporter Dan Buettner, having a purpose in life is so important in Japanese culture that the idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist there. People never really grow cold towards doing what they love and they want to continue it forever. Aging, they believe, makes people dependent on others.

But is delaying or stopping aging even possible? According to nutritionists and fitness coaches all over the world, regular exercise and keeping a balanced diet is the only key to delaying aging. But as the world is progressing, scientists have come up with ways to delay, stop, and even reverse aging with the help of biotechnology and gene therapy. Making changes up to the microscopic level is speculated to be the ultimate solution to a disease-free long life and eternal youth.

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Strategies to delay aging

Telomeres are sections of our DNA that are present at the edges. As we age the length of these telomeres drops. A laboratory experiment by the team of Maria Blasco in the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre was held on mice that increased the length of telomeres in them. This resulted in increasing longevity by up to 20 per cent. Although this theory has visible results, it also causes cancer in organisms.

Other scientists believe that removing senescent cells from our bodies may transform aging. Senescent cells are those cells that have stopped dividing in our body. This was also performed on mice in an experiment at Unity Biotechnology Centre that resulted in not only an increase in the life span but also reduced heart diseases, cataracts, arthritis, and other diseases related to aging.

However, it is not easy to cause mutations in such a complex body organization as that of a human. Nevertheless, we are not far away from what now seems magical to soon be an ordinary operation done by humans.

The author is a student at Mount Carmel school, New Delhi. Views are personal