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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.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 25th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
That's great! I'd forgotten about that.
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:32 am (UTC)
I know! It's so cool!
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
Wired is the National Enquirer of science news. Sometimes they get a story right (like the Enquirer's John Edwards scoop), but they don't have very strong filters against stories that are scientific dead ends.
Nov. 25th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
Life Extension Foundation may publish some hyped up articles, but if your curiosity ever outstrips current medical practice, it's a fun place to frequent to acquire things like resveratrol.
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
Cool - thanks for the info.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
DIdn't L'Engle predict this way back in A Wind Through the Door?
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised. We've known that mitochondria (as opposed to mitochloridians...) is at least partially responsible for cellular life, but it's great to see scientists pursuing answers.
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
That's so cool.
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC)
Ain't it though? So aging could, theoretically, not mean the same thing as it did for previous generations!
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
I think it's better than theoretically, I mean, look at the folks who eat yogurt and live for bloody decades where they don't have our crap food.
If we can do anything to fight the effects of our own environment on our bodies...yay!

thumbs up!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )