Can Quantum Physics give explenation of why do we get old?

In summary: A molecular biologist may aim to determine the... molecular mechanisms of a particular process, while a geneticist may be more interested in the... genetic sequence of a particular gene.
  • #1
CICCI_2011
23
0
Just wondering.

Any thoughts ?
 
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  • #2
CICCI_2011 said:
Just wondering.

Any thoughts ?

Probably more of a biology question, don't you think?
 
  • #3
Well yes but since Quantum Physics have many answers to questions. Maybe human body could be interpreted through Quantum Physics an reveal some answers for us?

What do you think do you have any ideas?
 
  • #4
CICCI_2011 said:
Well yes but since Quantum Physics have many answers to questions. Maybe human body could be interpreted through Quantum Physics an reveal some answers for us?

What do you think do you have any ideas?
Please post some scientific studies from a peer reviewed journal about this. The science forums aren't for guessing, sorry.
 
  • #5
I read this -"Instability of the genetic code, among other things, caused by the finite probability of tunneling of protons in the DNA. Therefore, the tunnel effect is partly responsible for the occurrence of spontaneous mutations"-from Wikipedia. It made me think that there is maybe explanation for my question. I didn't know that something has to be already known so that we could discuss it.
 
  • #6
There are many complex reasons why we age, DNA mutation is just one of them (whilst I've not heard of quantum effects causing mutation it would not surprise me, we already know of a myriad of mutational causes). Over time gene expression changes, metabolism is consequently altered and a myriad of finely balanced dynamic systems disrupt. At the moment we have well characterised the gross physiology of ageing but have a limited understanding of the fundamental processes.

A more thorough understanding of the processes of ageing (let alone the causes) won't come in my opinion until we've done some thorough http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genome" view of something as holistic as senescence if we are going to fully understand it.
 
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  • #7
So why do we get old? How come our old cells can give life (egg+sperm) to new human body that will have new fresh cell that will live for another 70-90 years? What is the missing link?

Is the finite probability of error in copying DNA reason ?
 
  • #8
CICCI_2011 said:
So why do we get old? How come our old cells can give life (egg+sperm) to new human body that will have new fresh cell that will live for another 70-90 years? What is the missing link?

Is the finite probability of error in copying DNA reason ?

Gametes do have mutations in their DNA, this is the fundamental initiator for evolution. Ageing is a cumulative, multifactorial phenomenon. To use an analogy if I have a factory complex whose machines are slowly wearing down even if I send you several gigabytes factory blueprints with 10 or so bits mutated the fact that my machines have worn down will not affect the shiny new ones you are building.

The fundamental reasons for ageing are unclear at this time, however we do have some broad understandings. We know that gene expression alters, we know that this alters the metabolic processes of the body and we know that ultimately this results in impaired wound healing, impaired body maintenance and the gradual breakdown of bodily functions. It varies from individual to individual but eventually one of these breakdowns will result in fatality.
 
  • #9
First of all, quantum effects are 100% applicable to the human body. We are composed of molecules and atoms and QM explains the interactions of all of these. Simply talking about UV damage to DNA IS a quantum effect. The point where QM becomes Biology is probably not clear cut.

There are a myriad of reasons why we age, so it might help if some specific examples were talked about instead of just "Why do we age?"

Honestly, I don't think there is anyone specific reason why, but is instead a combination of effects that cause aging.
 
  • #10
CICCI_2011 said:
I read this -"Instability of the genetic code, among other things, caused by the finite probability of tunneling of protons in the DNA. Therefore, the tunnel effect is partly responsible for the occurrence of spontaneous mutations"-from Wikipedia. It made me think that there is maybe explanation for my question. I didn't know that something has to be already known so that we could discuss it.

This says nothing - all of chemistry is inherently quantum-mechanical in the end, and all biochemistry boils down to chemical processes and thus quantum-mechanical ones. But it doesn't make any more sense to ask if quantum mechanics can 'explain' a physiological process like aging, than it does to ask if chemistry can explain a sociological phenomenon.

These things are separated by not one but several layers of abstraction that are entire sciences in themselves.
 
  • #11
Drakkith said:
Simply talking about UV damage to DNA IS a quantum effect. The point where QM becomes Biology is probably not clear cut.

No, it's pretty clear once you recognize the fact that difference between fields is not what you're studying but what the questions are you're looking to answer.

A molecular biologist may aim to determine the role a particular gene plays in the function of a cell. A biochemist's aim may be to determine the reactions involved in that role. A physical chemist may aim to determine the details of how those reactions occur. A quantum chemist might study those reactions using explicit quantum-mechanical calculations. That doesn't make him or her a biologist! The physical chemistry of a biochemical system is still physical chemistry. It doesn't really matter much at that end that it happens to occur in a biological system. That's a highly relevant circumstance to the biochemist, though, who in turn might not care so much about what organism they're looking at, although that might matter greatly to the biologist. And so on.

Biologists don't know quantum mechanics or much physics in general, and they don't need to. Their field is not about studying the specifics of light-matter interactions and how (in the case of DNA degradation) UV light is absorbed. That's physical chemistry or chemical physics. The biologist's aim is to find out things like how that system evolved, how it works on the bigger scale, etc.

Or to make an analogy, knowledge from spectroscopy and chemistry get applied all the time by astronomers looking to determine what things in the universe are made of. But that doesn't mean you could say "the point where chemistry becomes astronomy isn't very clear-cut"!
 
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  • #12
alxm said:
No, it's pretty clear once you recognize the fact that difference between fields is not what you're studying but what the questions are you're looking to answer.

I can agree to that. It takes a general look at the field to determine what it is, not a single question about a single event.
 
  • #13
What if an 80-year old man would get cloned. What life span should be expected for the clone, the same as original or shorter. Clone received degraded DNA which should shorten his life span wright?
 
  • #14
CICCI_2011 said:
How come our old cells can give life (egg+sperm) to new human body that will have new fresh cell that will live for another 70-90 years? What is the missing link?

The missing link is the difference between a germ cell and a somatic cell:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ_cell

This is good, too-

http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/G/GermlineVsSoma.html

Our 'old' cells do not give life; germ cells are set aside early in embryonic development.
 
  • #15
CICCI_2011 said:
What if an 80-year old man would get cloned. What life span should be expected for the clone, the same as original or shorter. Clone received degraded DNA which should shorten his life span wright?

Degraded? Not that I know of. The lifespan of the clone would be impossible to accurately estimate as environmental factors and behavior can greatly affect lifespan.
 
  • #16
CICCI_2011 said:
What if an 80-year old man would get cloned. What life span should be expected for the clone, the same as original or shorter. Clone received degraded DNA which should shorten his life span wright?

Clones made by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_cell_nuclear_transfer" do have reduced lifespans. As the nucleus and thus DNA that gives rise to the clone organism is already in a 'used state' as such, cells being produced during development of the organism reach senescence prematurely (for a "new" organism).

At current making complex cells, like eukaryotic ones not senescent (ie; immortal) normally involves "breaking" them, or better breaking bits and pieces of their cell cycle regulatory mechanisms. While this would "reset" the clock for an organism derived from them, it also unfortunately makes cells not play by colony living rules. In effect, this is what happens when you get a cancer.
 
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  • #18
It isn't quantum physics or really anything related that could explain how or why we get old. It is the second law of thermodynamics that determines the outcome. However the loop hole is a byproduct(intelligence) could step in and control the process, this would be solved only when we find a way to mass produce something at a molecular level to step in where we would be clumsy and miss problems.
 
  • #19
Quantum Mechanics? Second law of Thermodynamics?? I think that's getting a little too abstract. Mechanically speaking, cars get old; their pipes get clogged, their parts get worn until it's easier to replace the car with a new one than fix the accumulated damage. I'm sure that what happens in our bodies is analogous to this. Of course, I'm not expert on this subject.
 
  • #20
I think people are kinda going all over the map here. First, what do we mean by "Why do we get old?" Quantum physics explains HOW everything in our body works at the molecular level, but as a theory it does not explain why we age. So, what is the question really asking? Why can't our bodies repair themselves well enough? Why we aren't designed to do that? Etc.
 
  • #21
Drakkith said:
I think people are kinda going all over the map here. First, what do we mean by "Why do we get old?" Quantum physics explains HOW everything in our body works at the molecular level, but as a theory it does not explain why we age. So, what is the question really asking? Why can't our bodies repair themselves well enough? Why we aren't designed to do that? Etc.

Exactly Drakkith, we don't yet have a comprehensive understanding of the processes causing senescence. Living organisms are in a constant state of internal regulation with thousands and thousands of metabolic pathways interacting with each other, over time this complex system begins to become less and less stable until eventually it call comes crashing down. Whilst QP and TD are important in explaining molecular interactions they are only necessary when discussing senescence in the context of specific chemical reactions. If we want to bring in a complex and abstract field of physics to look at senescence as a whole I would be of the opinion that chaos theory is more applicable. Life is after all a hugely complex and dynamic system that becomes unravelled by small errors.

It's worth mentioning that not all species undergo senescence in the same fashion and some seem to be immortal. Turritopsis nutricula is a jellyfish that ages to a certain extent before shedding most of its mass and reverting to a polyp stage to grow again.
 

Related to Can Quantum Physics give explenation of why do we get old?

1. What is the relationship between Quantum Physics and aging?

The relationship between Quantum Physics and aging is still being studied and is not fully understood. However, some scientists believe that Quantum Physics can provide insights into the aging process.

2. Can Quantum Physics explain why our bodies age?

Quantum Physics may offer explanations for some aspects of aging, such as changes in DNA and cellular function. However, the full mechanism of aging is complex and involves many factors.

3. How does the concept of time in Quantum Physics relate to aging?

In Quantum Physics, time is considered to be relative and can behave differently at the quantum level. Some scientists theorize that this may have an impact on the aging process, but more research is needed to fully understand this connection.

4. Are there any practical applications of Quantum Physics in understanding aging?

Some research suggests that Quantum Physics may have practical applications in developing anti-aging treatments or technologies. However, these are still in the early stages and require more research before being implemented.

5. Can Quantum Physics provide a solution to reverse aging?

While Quantum Physics may offer insights into the aging process, there is currently no evidence to suggest that it can reverse the aging process. The concept of reversing aging is complex and involves many factors that are still being studied.

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