Abstract

Aging, which impacts living organisms from yeast to humans, is characterized by the progressive decline in physiological integrity and function over time. This decline results in increased susceptibility to age-related diseases, and ultimately death. Researchers have identified nine molecular and cellular hallmarks of aging that contribute to the aging phenotype: Genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. In addition to characterizing the aging process, researchers have also discovered manipulations of these hallmarks that introduce the possibility of living not just living longer, but living healthier for longer. The purpose of this literature review is to explore some of these possibilities, such as dietary restriction and several pharmaceutical interventions, in addition to examining the genetic aspects of aging.

Research in aging and longevity is an exciting new field. Humans are currently living longer than ever before. This increased lifespan, however, does not necessarily correspond to an increased healthspan. An aging population is one of the most significant challenges facing our healthcare system. Although there are ethical considerations, by increasing healthspan, illness in old age could be reduced, thereby improving individual quality of life while simultaneously alleviating strain on both the economy and healthcare system.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Don Nelson

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Turning Back the Clock: Dying Young at an Old Age

Aging, which impacts living organisms from yeast to humans, is characterized by the progressive decline in physiological integrity and function over time. This decline results in increased susceptibility to age-related diseases, and ultimately death. Researchers have identified nine molecular and cellular hallmarks of aging that contribute to the aging phenotype: Genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. In addition to characterizing the aging process, researchers have also discovered manipulations of these hallmarks that introduce the possibility of living not just living longer, but living healthier for longer. The purpose of this literature review is to explore some of these possibilities, such as dietary restriction and several pharmaceutical interventions, in addition to examining the genetic aspects of aging.

Research in aging and longevity is an exciting new field. Humans are currently living longer than ever before. This increased lifespan, however, does not necessarily correspond to an increased healthspan. An aging population is one of the most significant challenges facing our healthcare system. Although there are ethical considerations, by increasing healthspan, illness in old age could be reduced, thereby improving individual quality of life while simultaneously alleviating strain on both the economy and healthcare system.

 

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