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Longevity Can Fat Cells Dictate How Long a Human Survives

Longevity - Can Fat Cells Dictate How Long a Human Survives?   by C Bailey-Lloyd/Lady Camelot

According to the September Issue of Popular Mechanics, a report written by Jim Wilson explains how human beings may some day have the capability to survive to be 180 (one hundred eighty) years old!

Based on research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology( and Professor Leonard P. Guarante; genetic makeup that rules our individual "time-clocks" can be virtually erased.

* How is this possible?
Every person has DNA fragments dubbed telomeres Our telomeres are specifically designed to extend our lives. These telomeres are copied from genetic material in our chromosomes. As mitosis occurs, these telomeres pass to our newly formed cells. As we age, however, our cell information becomes illegible - similar to "...a document that is photocopied too many times..." [1] Once this happens, our cells are depleted of telomeres before our chromosomes are completely corrupted. Without telomeres, our cells no longer have the vital information to reproduce themselves. Based on this research, our maximum human lifespan - theoretically - could typically range from 120 to 180 years of age IF we can instruct our genes how to tell our body to lose fat as opposed to storing it.

* So what does fat content have to do with longevity?
According to studies which began halfway in the 20th century; yeast, worms and lab rats who sustained themselves on the brink of starvation lived substantially longer than their well-nourished counterparts. Genetically tied to our personal genepools are WAT (White Adipose Tissue) cells; otherwise known as fat cells, our bodies automatically preserve fat for future unsurities. Aside from starvation ditets, Professor Guarente is optimistic that research will lead to a drug that may bind the single protein (Sirt1) (which directs the body's ability to store fat in WAT cells) and trick it into thinking that it needs to release fat as opposed to saving it. In this sense, we could - hypothetically speaking - have our cake and eat it too. And perhaps, live to be nearly two centuries old!

The moral dilemmas of super-long, life expectancies could inevitably trigger social and economic controversies. In closing, I leave you with my own thoughts on this topic, based on a satirical analogy from

The Dragonfly

"Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!"

~Author Unknown~

Longer lives - longer civilizations? Some thoughts to ponder... C. Bailey-Lloyd/LadyCamelot


© Longevity - Can Fat Cells Dictate How Long a Human Survives?
2004 - All Rights Reserved
By, C. Bailey-Lloyd/Lady Camelot

[1] PM Magazine, "Live to Be 180"
[2] Massachusetts Institute of Technology


About Author C Bailey-Lloyd/Lady Camelot :

© Longevity - Can Fat Cells Dictate How Long a Human Survives? 2004 - All Rights Reserved By, C. Bailey-Lloyd/Lady Camelot Public Relations' Director - Staff Writer for

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