The Fountain of Youth & Living Forever (Part 1 of 2)
Everyone has grown up hearing fantasy stories about the "fountain of youth." We are still far from finding the fabled Fountain, but today the real question is quickly becoming “Would you really want to live forever?” With tremendous advances in the world of medicine, we will one day be able to drastically slow down the aging process in a human being. Scientists have already discovered over 70 individual genes that are directly involved with the human aging process. In worms, for example, we have already identified many of the genes that influence the aging process. You can actually change the life span of a worm like a light switch by changing their genome. Many people would immediately wonder why we would even want to slow down the aging process when we are overpopulated as it is. Well, the population in Europe for example is some sense imploding right now, with the average family having 1.5 children. Countries like Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland have populations that are essentially collapsing. So increasing prosperity and life spans has actually caused slowed down population growth.
Kings and queens of old have always wanted to live longer and discover the fountain of youth. This is actually how the state of Florida was discovered. Ponce de Leon heard Native Americans speak of a legendary, magical spring whose water was believed to make older people young again. While seeking the great, mythical and fabled fountain, his ships landed on Florida’s east coast near present-day St. Augustine. People have always been fascinated by the thought of being able to extend their days. Now, it may in fact be within our grasp within 20 to 30 years as we identify more and more genes involved in the aging process. If you take the genome of an older person and the genome of a younger person—in a computer you can compare the genomes and see where significant genetic changes are localized. We can further identify certain key genes that for example control the oxidation process and the biological clock.
(Below: Ponce De Leon on his quest for longevity)
Scientists are already experimenting with longevity processes in the laboratory. We can now put human skin cells in a petri dish and hit them with [telomerase, an enzume which prevents the telemeres of the chromosome from getting shorter, allowing the cell to divide indefinitely. (Telomeres are a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration). It was originally discovered in 1977 that the teleomere-shortening mechanism normally limits cells to a fixed number of divisions suggesting that this process is responsible for aging on the cellular level and sets a limit on life spans.
Of course, being able to expand this process out of the petri dish to something like the human body is beyond our capability at least for now. But in the future we may be able to:
Below is an animated 3-dimensional molecular structure of a telomere
To be continued...
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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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