Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Cure for the diseases of aging?

This article describes how "Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease... all may finally be defied by a single new class of drugs, a virtual cure for the diseases of aging."

Whoah. Who cares about politics and pirates, bailouts and bastard-CEOs when we might be facing the single most world-changing piece of news since the atom bomb!

"'It's going to revolutionize western medicine,' said Doug Wallace, a pioneer of mitochondrial medicine at the University of California at Irvine."

Here's why:

"The new drugs work by stimulating enzymes that regulate the function of mitochondria. Hundreds of these structures are found in every cell in the body, ceaselessly converting glucose into usable energy. But over time, mitochondria degenerate. They lose strength and efficiency, releasing highly reactive oxygen molecules that bind easily with other molecules and wreak cellular havoc.

"A growing number of scientists suspect that the breakdown of mitochondria is among the most important causes of cell-level changes that eventually cause the body's tissues to degenerate with age. The damage accumulates gradually until hitting some critical mass of malfunction, at which point diseases arrive rapidly. That may be why so many diseases first occur during middle age, and become steadily more common afterwards.

"Repair and prevent this damage, say proponents of the mitochondrial theory of disease, and those afflictions can be averted."

Now that's news. Here's hoping that James Gunn was wrong in his The Immortals, that we will all be able to reap the benefit of drugs that stop the diseases of aging. We'll still die of old age, but at least we won't suffer the ravages of the diseases that have plagued humans since they started living past our ripeness date.

Tags: random cool stuff, save the world

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