If we aren’t living long enough already, there is new research that could extend our lives even further and change everything we know about retirement, aging and end of life.
It’s called geroprotection. Unlike modern medicine, it doesn’t focus on curing diseases or treating symptoms. Its looks at the cellular basis of aging and how to slow it – or possibly stop it altogether.
Aging is the result of an accumulation of damage in cells and tissues. Geroprotection looks at drugs that can stop and even reverse this damage.
This research is working for two approaches. One involves slowing the aging process. The other involves removing and fixing old tissue.
Removing old tissue has already been shown to extend the life of mice and reverse aspects of their aging.
There are also anti-aging drugs in testing on mice that have delayed cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
One of the most promising treatments is a drug already in use for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, metformin. It has been linked to preventing heart disease, cancer and dementia. And it has been shown to preserve muscle strength, delay arthritis, boost vaccine response and even rejuvenate stem cells.
But this research is in its infancy and, based on the reading I have done, it’s doubtful our generation will really benefit from it. At present, Metformin can be used only for its diabetic applications. There have been calls for studies to document its other benefits, but none are in progress.
I know, slowing aging, extending life and reducing the onset of conditions associated with old age sounds like a Twilight Zone episode. It is hard to believe.
But the death rate from heart disease plummeted in our lifetime by treating basic processes, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Geroprotection is doing the same thing. It looks at basic processes that cause cell damage and aging.
No matter how you feel about living even longer than we are now, this age-defying medicine will happen. We will be able to slow our aging, and our senior years could be absent of many of the typical old-age ailments.
Keep your eye on geroprotection research.