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  • What if you can live forever?

  • Okay, maybe not forever, but would you take 150 years?

  • A new study is shedding light on how we age and may even show us a way to push the limits on human lifespan.

  • So, not to get all metaphysical, but what is age, anyway?

  • Let's start by talking about the age we're most familiar with: chronological age.

  • You know, the one that's marked on the calendar as your birthday.

  • But this isn't the best way to gauge your health.

  • If you wanna find out what toll all that mileage has taken on your body, you need to know your biological age.

  • Biological age describes the accumulated damage to your cells caused by genetics and factors like pollution, disease, and chronic lack of sleep, as well as the natural decline of cells over time.

  • As age increases, DNA accumulates damage, mitochondria break down, and the telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes shorten.

  • This functional decline causes our organs to deteriorate, increasing our biological age as a result.

  • Until recently, scientists thought the process was irreversible.

  • But within the last couple (of) decades, scientists are learning that cells can revive through a process known as "Anastasis".

  • Greek for "rising to life."

  • In a breakthrough study in 2008, a group of biologists conducted an experiment where they put human cancer cells in ethanol to initiate cell death.

  • When the cells were removed from the toxin and put in a fresh petri dish, they came back to life!

  • Which is huge!

  • Then, in 2019, a group of scientists from Yale gained worldwide attention when they briefly revived the cellular function in brains of pigs just four hours after they passed.

  • But why do this?

  • Well, experiments like these could help us better understand how cells regenerate, and maybe one day, even extend human lifespan.

  • But before we do that, we first need to know what those lifespan limits are.

  • To explore that question, a team of researchers in 2021 used a standard blood test to measure "wear and tear" on the body.

  • They collected data from more than 500,000 people of all ages.

  • But instead of looking at individual data points associated with aging, they combined them into a single number called the dynamic organism state indicator, or DOSI for short.

  • A person's DOSI value changes over time depending (on) how their body responds to stress.

  • When a person gets sick or injured, their DOSI value goes up.

  • The length of time that it takes for them to recoverand their DOSI to return to normalis what's known as resilience.

  • Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that resilience decreased steadily with age.

  • This explains why taking a tumble at age 20 is no big deal, but that same fall at 90 would be a lot harder to get up from.

  • People's physical activity over time was also analyzed, and the data showed a decrease in recovery rates as people aged.

  • This matched the decline in resilience measured by the DOSI data, which confirmed the results were telling us something important about how people age.

  • What the team found was a trend of declining resilience over time.

  • Let's say, you're perfectly healthy and do everything "right".

  • If you were to hit somewhere between 120 and 150 years old, your resiliency would putter out and get to a point where your recovery time is so long you don't recover at all.

  • The TLDR: Even if you're living your best life, according to this study, you won't make it past 150.

  • But here's the upside.

  • If we treat the underlying causes of resilience loss, we could develop life-extending treatments that can one day help us live beyond the known limits.

  • And while increasing our lifespan sounds nice, if we're able to boost resilience, we have the potential to increase our healthspan, too.

  • Which helps us gain more healthy years alive, and that sounds like a life better lived to me.

  • Do you know any 100-year-olds?

  • Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe by 2050.

  • If you wanna know about one way to live longer with your telomeres, check out this video from Maren!

  • Don't forget to subscribe and keep coming back to Seeker.

  • Thanks for watching.

What if you can live forever?

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B1 US resilience age lifespan biological decline data

How Long Can We Live? We May Finally Know the Answer

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/25
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