Ageing : the paradox of life by Robin Holliday

By Robin Holliday

For hundreds of years humans were questioned via the inevitability of human getting older. for many of the second one half the 20th century getting older remained a secret, or an unsolved organic challenge. on the finish of the twentieth century a awesome medical discovery emerged. It used to be no longer a unmarried discovery within the ordinary experience, since it was once according to a chain of vital interconnected insights over rather an extended time period. those insights made it attainable for the first actual time to appreciate the organic purposes for getting older in animals and guy. it could actually already be acknowledged, besides the fact that, that the numerous observations and insights that designate getting older should not authorized as verified wisdom for a very long time. the sphere continues to be filled with scientists, and non-scientists, who're simply chuffed to move on speculating in regards to the 'mystery' of getting older. the purpose of this publication is to dispel lack of awareness via explaining in non-technical language what are the explanations for getting older and the parable of over the top prolongation of existence.

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We say that germ cells are only potentially immortal, because clearly most are not immortal. In fact, only a minute fraction of male sperm and a small fraction of female eggs, or egg precursors called oocytes, will survive. Moreover, individual lineages die out if offspring do not reach adulthood and reproduce. More significantly, whole species can become extinct, either from natural causes or by human intervention, and then both their germ cells and somatic cells are lost forever. The crucial issue is the intrinsic difference between germ cells and somatic cells, which make the former potentially immortal and the latter mortal.

It can be a bacterium or fungus, an animal parasite or a virus. Many are specialised invaders; others can live and reproduce outside animals, as well as within them. Viruses are not themselves complete living organisms, because they depend on the machinery of a living cell to reproduce. Most of the viruses that infect us can only grow in particular kinds of animal cells, either in the laboratory or in the living animal. Pathogens and parasites can infect us through wounds, in the respiratory tract, or in food, but some are transmitted by other animals, such as mosquitoes or other insects.

In this case fat keeps being added to the body and obesity results. This is an unusual example of a maintenance mechanism failing in an artificial man-made environment, whereas it is effective in a natural environment. Human obesity commonly leads to late-onset diabetes with all its physiological complications, and puts additional stress on the vascular system. There is also maintenance of the outer surface of the body, by cleaning, washing and grooming. Much of this behaviour is to remove or keep at bay potential parasites, seeking entry via the skin.

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