Hey guys! Welcome back to Humor Nation. Each and every day, we are aging, we are growing older, each and every human is maturing physically. It’s a brutal truth that one day we humans die.
But why do we die and how long can we humans live for? What is the real reason why humans can’t live forever?
A new discovery into how our cells work might be able to restart our age! But you’ll have to get some cells from you as a baby… so…that might be tough. We are all getting older from the moment we’re born. Eventually we’ll all die. But How we get there and the upper LIMIT of human life is the subject of a study in Genome Research published last week.
The researchers got a hold of blood from one of the oldest known humans, Henny van Andel-Schipper. She was the oldest person in the world when she died in 2005 at the age of 115. She was born in the 19th century and lived till the 21st.
Anyway aging is a pretty complicated process, but in essence scientists believe it has to do with telomeres. Telomeres are sort of like the tips on the end of your shoelaces, but for chromosomes they maintain your genetic material and keep it from mixing with other chromosomes.
Over time the telomeres shorten which causes what’s called ‘Somatic Mutation’. It happens naturally over time it’s completely normal. Apparently Ms. Van Andel-Schipper was an organ donor because doctors were able to collect tissue from her brain, blood, kidneys, arteries, liver, lung, heart, spleen, aorta and even a breast cancer tumor she had when she was 100.
The telomeres in her brain were similar in length to those of a newborn because brain cells don’t divide that often, but telomeres in her red blood cells were 17 times shorter! The doctors figured her blood genome had gone through at least SIX HUNDRED mutations over her lifetime, and maybe more!
Basically what happens is as the blood cells are created from stem cells, new stem cells have to come up to replace them. We’re born with about 20,000 stem cells to do this job. Over time the stem cells mutate because of telomeres. But just like in X-Men, mutation can be good or bad, sometimes we get a good cell and other times we get cancer. We don’t ever get telepathy… at least not yet… anyway…
So as Ms. Van Andel-Schipper aged her stem cells divided and divided and mutated and divided. By the time she was old, most of her white blood stem cells could be traced back to TWO mother cells. This indicated most of those 20,000 she had burned out or died. She was running on fumes for a long time. Eventually they just… burned out.
Knowing all these things why can’t we give her a refill? Obviously we can’t UN-mutate the thousands of generations of Henny’s blood because… a copy of a copy of a copy is never as good as the original. But what if we had the original? What if when we’re born, the stem cells are removed from our brand new bodies and saved to start the stemcell telomere shortening over; like hitting the reset button on aging! Maybe there’s something to that “bathing in the blood of young virgins” thing.
Anyway lots more research is needed, but this is the first time every somatic mutations have been studied in such a way and it can teach us a lot about how the human body ages why and what we can do about it. What do you think? What would you do if you could live for years?