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What is Aging?


It’s funny that people often talk about aging without a real understanding of what aging is. They talk about the aches and pains that come with getting older and yet remain oblivious to the actual processes that are driving aging.

Aging is a series of processes that include direct damage, accumulation of cellular waste, errors, and imperfect repairs as well as the responses to them. These processes result in the familiar signs of aging and ultimately to the development of age-related diseases that eventually kill us.

There are multiple aging theories, but one of the most popular and well supported is the Hallmarks of Aging, a 2013 paper that defined aging as nine distinct categories (hallmarks) and explained how these processes interact with each other. This diagram shows the primary processes along with the cascading secondary and tertiary processes that result in aging or click on the hallmarks below.

Understanding these processes gives us insights into how we might directly intervene against them in order to prevent age-related diseases. Researchers are working on solutions to each of these hallmarks right now, and you can see how progress is going by checking out the Rejuvenation Roadmap. Also, if you wish to learn more about each of the hallmarks, you can find more information in the educational section of our blog.


DNA and mtDNA damage.

Loss of protective caps on our chromosomes.

Age-related changes to gene expression.

Protein misfolding, amyloids, and aggregates.

Disruption to metabolism.

Dysfunctional mitochondria.

Harmful non-dividing apoptosis resistant cells.

Loss of replacement stem cells.

Changes to cell-to-cell signaling.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.
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