Skip to main content

Why aging is caused mostly by degredation and is only modulated differentially by physiological factors

In an article recently posted about a talk given by Michael Rose, an analysis is performed of his theory that aging may not be caused by acquired systemic damage over time.

I give him dap for standing up for his view but I'll bet my hands (my most important body parts) he's wrong. Aging must be due mostly to a cumulative degenerative process. The simple answer comes from analyzing something I am sure Michael hasn't factored into his analysis and that is the relative difference in the number of translation and transcription events (ie places where mutations can happen) that exists between a fly and a human being. When you are as short lived as a fly, with a short cycle of cell recycling it becomes easy to have physiological effects dominate the longevity of an individual if well controlled (the results Michael got by controlling diet) but over the longer term the organism still is subject to mutations that slowly build up and lead to the whole house of cards coming down. Humans churn a significantly larger number of cells over their vastly longer life time and diet modification has a smaller impact on the much broader effects of system mutations arising across the much larger set of tissues, it takes longer for those degenerative effects to lead to catastrophic failure (death) but even with controls in diet and exercise the gains that are achieved are a small fraction of the total life cycle of the average human (as we can see from many studies that have revealed the results of exercise and diet on life length) it helps but not that much, the systemic degradation from acquired mutations just dominates the process. Be those mutations ones that are resident in telomeres being shortened, or induced by reduced efficiency of mitochondrial energy production or build up of proteins in the brain and other critical organs...eventually they win system wide and kill the organism.

I think that as a modulating factor his idea does make sense, that a base line for the aging population is determined by non physiological factors...but then those give way in the super long term to the slow mutation factors...the induced mistakes, the build up of cruft, the influence of radiation...eventually it catches up and the whole system comes tumbling down. We know the chemistry of interaction is only probabilistically true...thus it is guaranteed that mistakes will happen, some of them will go on repaired and those will lead to events that effect the fitness of the it methylation of a key gene or some other effect that leads to the slow degradation of the individual.

A great analog for what is going on between these ideas can be had from recalling the relationship between classical newtonian mechanics and relativistic mechanics. In the regime of speeds << c newton is quite adequate...providing numbers accurate to several decimal points, enabling us to confidently use these (wrong) equations to send probes to the far hurtling moons of Jupiter, to land with exquisite accuracy. Yet...for higher speeds, Newton's mechanics fails the particle accelerators relativistic adjustments are requires to ensure accurate results. Just as it was a subtle transition at a very high rate of speeds that revealed the dilation effects that modulate momentum, length and time in relative, so to are the steady effects of ever present mutation factors in different organisms going to differentially present based on their relative rates of cell turn over and cell mass over their observed average life times.

Here is a hypothesis....that anemone (or the fruitfly for that matter) if scaled to our mass equivalent would start visibly showing it's aging ways over a not too long time scale...also, by being under water they are protected from a major source of mutations that are muted with an exponential law with depth into the seas...conferring a protection by eliminating a major source of slow mutations that we are subject to continuously here at the surface, the sun.

"The result illustrate the rapid attenuation
of solar UV radiation underwater
even in the clear oceanic water of the
Maldive islands. "


Popular posts from this blog

Highly targeted Cpg vaccine immunotherapy for a range of cancer


This will surely go down as a seminal advance in cancer therapy. It reads like magic:

So this new approach looks for the specific proteins that are associated with a given tumors resistance to attack by the body's T cells, it then adjusts those T cells to be hyper sensitive to the specific oncogenic proteins targeted. These cells become essentially The Terminator​ T cells in the specific tumor AND have the multiplied effect of traveling along the immune pathway of spreading that the cancer many have metastasized. This is huge squared because it means you can essentially use targeting one tumor to identify and eliminate distal tumors that you many not even realize exist.

This allows the therapy for treating cancer to, for the first time; end the "wack a mole" problem that has frustrated traditional shot gun methods of treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy ...which by their nature unfortunately damage parts of the body that are not cancer laden but …

Engineers versus Programmers

I have found as more non formally trained people enter the coding space, the quality of code that results varies in an interesting way.

The formalities of learning to code in a structured course at University involve often strong focus on "correctness" and efficiency in the form of big O representations for the algorithms created.

Much less focus tends to be placed on what I'll call practical programming, which is the type of code that engineers (note I didn't use "programmers" on purpose) must learn to write.

Programmers are what Universities create, students that can take a defined development environment and within in write an algorithm for computing some sequence or traversing a tree or encoding and decoding a string. Efficiency and invariant rules are guiding development missions. Execution time for creating the solution is often a week or more depending on the professor and their style of teaching code and giving out problems. This type of coding is devo…

First *extra Galactic* planetary scale bodies observed

This headline

So every so often I see a story that has me sitting at the keyboard for a few seconds...actually trying to make sure the story is not some kind of satire site because the headline reads immediately a nonsense.
This headline did just that.
So I proceeded to frantically click through and it appears it was a valid news item from a valid news source and my jaw hit the floor.
Many of you know that we've been finding new planets outside of our solar system for about 25 years now.
In fact the Kepler satellite and other ground observatories have been accelerating their rate of extra-solar planet discoveries in the last few years but those planets are all within our galaxy the Milky Way.
The three major methods used to detect the bulk of planets thus far are wobble detection, radial transit and this method micro lensing which relies on a gravitational effect that was predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity exactly 103 years ago.