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Senescence (aging)

  1. Jan 21, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2006 #2

    Ouabache

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    It seems you have chosen human senescence in your examples. Senescence actually refers to decline of any organism leading up to either complete or partial death.

    Hmmmm what is partial death ?? :confused:
    Well deciduous perennial plants undergo leaf senescense every autumn, :smile:
     
  4. Jan 21, 2006 #3

    Astronuc

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    Actually the context is the last part of life, just before death.

    Sometimes elderly reach a point where they cannot take care of themselves independently, and they require care in a nursing home, sometimes bed-ridden. Some people linger in a debilitated state for months or years, before the health starts declining rapidly.

    The point of healthy living is to not only extend life, but maintain a healthy life, and reduce the period of senescence, just before death.

    My grandfather was pretty much idependent until the last 6 months when he began to suffer a series of pulmonary infections. He was in and out of hospital twice, and with the third infection, the hospital observed an DNR and allowed him to die as he wished. He could have been treated, but likely he would have been restricted to a hospital room. He was 103.5 years when he died.

    My mother was an RN, my siblings, and two of three sibling-in-laws are doctors. My mom cared for a variety of patients in critical cardio-pulmonary units, and my siblings had to do geriatric rounds in med school. I heard some bad stories of elderly people lingering in degenerative states for months or years. I certainly don't won't that.

    I hope to maintain enough strength in the end to end my life when I decide, not when some else thinks its time.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2006 #4

    Ouabache

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    postponing senescense

    With optimism, I believe we will very soon see a day where human senescene is very far into our future. This is as a result of our continued lengthening of the human lifespan (see figure 1). With the ongoing increase in human longevity, due to improvements in medicine and genetic research, we may be heading towards long and healthy lives on par with Methusela and Adam.

    One of the stumbling blocks is that certain organs and other specialized tissue do not easily regenerate. However modern research is on the verge of overcoming even this issue. Stem cell research is the wakeup call. (example brain tissue regeneration) Here is some related genetic research on stimulating organ regeneration in mice. It is a compelling find and could be the answer to our own tissue & organ regeneration questions.
     
  6. Jan 24, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    First of all, I am skeptical that any human lived the lengths ascribed to Methusela or Adam.

    Secondly, I think the current-life span is long enough, and any longer would lead to over-crowding and the world is already crowded - (think of the movie Soylent Green, and if one hasn't seen it, I would recommend it).

    Lastly, lifespan in the US should start decreasing soon - too many obese people and people with unhealthy lifestyles.
     
  7. Jan 24, 2006 #6

    Ouabache

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    I take poetic license in using those examples :smile:

    Thinking outside the box: Time is relative. When human longevity was 40, we humans often had children as early as 13. Today with longevity pushing 100, we have learned it's alright to have children even into our 30s & 40s. Wouldn't it be fascinating to live a healthy life say as a tetra- or hexa-centarian. For population control, we could have children at intervals spaced out proportionally. Just a hint of the benefits: If artists like Mozart or Michelangelo were to have lived this long, think how enriched our lives would be. If any one of our gifted scientists such as; Isaac Newton or Leonardo DaVinci, were to live this long, think of what wonders they could have shared.

    Look how our space exploration is expanding. In the not-too-distant future, we will be ready to colonize beyond our planet. Just like explorers of earlier centuries, when our home becomes overcrowded, we find new places to live. Even terrestrially, we are under-utilizing our potential. Over 70 percent of the earth is covered by water. We ought to take a more serious look at colonizing below our oceans and lakes, perhaps with geodesic biodomes.

    That certainly paints a gloomy picture :frown: If that is true, I believe it will be just a blip on the curve. We are smart creatures, notice unhealthy behaviors and will adapt quickly.:tongue:
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2006
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