Advancements in Science and Healthy Behaviors to Slow Down Ageing
In the past century, human lifespan has significantly increased due to advancements in medicine, public health, and technology. However, ageing comes with its own set of challenges, including chronic diseases, cognitive decline, and frailty. Scientists have been studying ageing for decades, trying to understand the mechanisms behind it and find ways to slow it down or even reverse it.
Senescent Cells and Epigenetics
One of the leading theories is that ageing is caused by senescent cells. These cells increase as we age, causing inflammation and impairing the body’s ability to repair itself, leading to age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In 2016, researchers conducted a study on mice called “senolytics treatment” and found that by targeting senescent cells with drugs, they could improve the healthspan of the mice and even extend their lifespan. Another protein, called p16, has also been linked to ageing. It accumulates in senescent cells and is thought to be a marker of ageing.
Another area of research is epigenetics, which is the study of how genes are turned on and off. Scientists have found that certain lifestyle factors can affect the epigenetic markers on our genes, which can impact our health and ageing. For example, a study found that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve the epigenetic markers on genes related to ageing.
Healthy Behaviors to Slow Down Ageing
In addition to these scientific breakthroughs, there are also healthy behaviors that can help slow down ageing. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and not smoking or drinking excessively are all important for maintaining good health as we age.
Work Opportunities for Older Adults
Finally, one way to keep older adults healthy and active is to offer them work opportunities. This not only provides them with a sense of purpose but also keeps them physically and mentally engaged. Companies like AARP have been advocating for age-friendly workplaces that allow older adults to continue working and contributing to society. Studies have shown that older adults who work or volunteer have better physical and cognitive function than those who don’t.
In conclusion, while ageing is a natural process, there are ways to slow it down and even reverse it. By targeting senescent cells, understanding epigenetics, adopting healthy behaviors, and offering work opportunities for older adults, we can improve our healthspan and enjoy a longer, healthier life.
1. Arias E, Xu J. United States Life Tables, 2019. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 70 no 13. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr70/nvsr70-13-508.pdf)
2. Human Mortality Database. University of California, Berkeley (USA), and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany). Available at www.mortality.org or www.humanmortality.de (data downloaded on August 10, 2021). (https://www.mortality.org/)
3. van Deursen JM. The role of senescent cells in ageing. Nature. 2014;509(7501):439-446. [Link](https://www.nature.com/articles/nature13193)
4. Zhu Y, Tchkonia T, Pirtskhalava T, et al. The Achilles’ heel of senescent cells: from transcriptome to senolytic drugs. Aging Cell. 2015;14(4):644-658. [Link](https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.12344)
5. Baker DJ, Wijshake T, Tchkonia T, et al. Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive senescent cells delays ageing-associated disorders. Nature. 2011;479(7372):232-236. [Link](https://www.nature.com/articles/nature10600)
6. Horvath S. DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types. Genome Biol. 2013;14(10):R115. [Link](https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/gb-2013-14-10-r115)
7. Levine ME, Lu AT, Bennett DA, et al. Epigenetic age of the blood predicts future onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Nat Aging. 2021;1(4):357-365. [Link](https://www.nature.com/articles/s43587-021-00063-8)
8. Gopinath B, Flood VM, Burlutsky G, et al. Influence of diet and lifestyle on retinal vascular caliber in adults through aging. Ophthalmology. 2011;118(3):524-530. [Link](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016164201001071X)
9. Loprinzi PD, Frith E, Edwards MK, Sng E, Ashpole N. The effects of exercise and physical activity on epigenetic modifications in humans. Clin Epigenetics. 2020;12(1):155. [Link](https://clinicalepigeneticsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13148-020-00928-6)
10. Kim S, Kwon S. Effects of social participation on physical and cognitive health among aging adults: evidence from longitudinal data in South Korea. BMC Geriatr. 2020;20(1):429. [Link](https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-020-01853-w)