5.10.2007

The Mechanics of Aging
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Jacob Israel Avedon, photo by Richard Avedon

Why does aging occur? This question was recently asked in a descriptive piece in the New Yorker.

Aging really can be defined as molecular change (see article) mitigated by time. Others, for example, longevity researcher Aubrey DeGrey, posit a free-radical theory of human decline.

In something of a counterpoint, according to Dr. Ashford, a Stanford/VA scientist, "The problem is a species adaptation to an ecological niche with evolution occurring at all system levels of the organism including the social interactions between members of the species during the adaptation."

"Evolution and adaptation is ever continuing and may lead to a longer life for the organisms of the species, but it takes a long time. I think free-radicals are just part of life, carefully adapted into the living process, and you can’t just treat this molecular mechanism or any other one and expect to live forever. Look what happened to Roy Walford, the starvation for aging man, who ended up dying of leukemia at a younger age than his normal life-expectancy."

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