Friday, June 10, 2011

PONCE DE LEON- SOUND FAMILIAR?

Another blog message from Dr. R. J. Brueck MD, Board Certified Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon, who comments here on matters of health and aging.

In his never ending quest to find the fountain of youth, his goal, his failure, his journey has caused us to continue to this day. Through modern science, however, we are now closer than ever to understanding the aging process. It probably won’t be reversed or changed by jumping in to some magical pool, but it may be as simple as taking a pill or an injection.

Recently, a group of scientist at the Dina Farber Cancer institute at Howard were studying how to slow the aging process. Their work was being conducted with mice. Much of the aging process centers around damage to our DNA molecules. They are the building blocks of our body. DNA is a long complicated molecule or substance and damage to the ends of the DNA molecules causes aging. The ends of these DNA molecules are called telomeres. When shortened they all either die or become old. Oh, there’s that word “old” or maybe we should say the cell has matured.

These scientists studied the effects of an enzyme – telomere which can affect functioning of the telomere. The mice in this experiment were genetically manipulated so they LACKED telomere and the result was they simply aged – their bodies broke down. These genetically altered mice were then injected with telomere and you guessed it they began to heal and regenerate.

In humans it is a little different because we have a “switch” in our bodies that turns this enzyme off so cells don’t grow out of control.

The results are interesting and encouraging; someday we may have telomerase in a bottle. Never aging? Over populated? It may raise more questions than answers.

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