Aging is damage, and the body fails in the same way that any complex, damaged machine fails. If one slows the pace of damage accumulation, as technological progress over the past century has achieved to a modest degree, albeit by accident rather than intent, both overall life span and the time spent in a period of damage and dysfunction at the end of life should extend. This is what we see happening, as is noted by the authors of today’s open access paper. In order to extend healthy life and put off that period of damage and dysfunction, periodic repair of the underlying damage of aging is required. You make a machine last longer in a useful way by maintaining it.
This approach of repair, targeting the cell and tissue damage that causes aging, was not attempted by the scientific and medical communities until quite recently. The first repair based rejuvenation therapies worthy of the name are the various senolytic treatments that selectively remove senescent cells from aged tissues. Lingering senescent cells actively disrupt tissue maintenance and function, and eliminating them has been shown to reverse aspects of aging in mice. Senolytics emerged in the past decade,
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