Eternal Life 1
August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Scientists believe that they are closer to discovering the secrets of eternal youth. But are we prepared to pay the price?
We‘ will have millions of intelligent robots the size of blood cells keeping us healthy inside
Eternal youth. We spend millions of pounds every year chasing this ever-elusive dream. But could the answer lie in eating a new brand of dog food? If the idea seems too undignified, how about swallowing an extract of graveyard bacteria, undergoing bone-marrow swaps or giving your brain a silicon implant? Deranged as they may seem, these ideas are at the forefront of serious scientific efforts to achieve humankind’s oldest and greatest ambition – to keep our minds and bodies young.
American researchers are claiming to have produced the world’s first food supplement clinically proven to hold back the years. It is called TA-65. Its makers say it is a naturally occurring molecule refined from an ancient Chinese medicinal herb, astragalus, harvested from farms in a small region in China.
Tests indicate that TA-65 can reverse the shortening of telomeres. These bits of DNA act as protective sheaths for your chromosomes and may be crucial to longevity. Like the tips on shoelaces, they keep the ends from unravelling. Emerging research shows that when your telomeres grow shorter, your body ages. Cells die. Your skin wrinkles, hair greys and muscles sag. Telomeres are now seen as so important that UK insurance companies are planning to measure your telomere length. Test kits costing £400 may become available next year from a company called Life Length. Insurers say that they can legally use them when a rule change comes into effect in 2017.
It is too early to use TA-65 on humans but the researchers suggest that it could be safely added to pet food. Bill Andrews of Sierra Sciences, the Nevada company behind the research, will present his findings to a conference in Cambridge next month, although he says that he is years away from getting medical approval for human use. But would anyone be so desperate to hold back the years that they would eat the stuff themselves?