By Robin Holliday
For hundreds of years humans were wondered by way of the inevitability of human getting older. for many of the second one half the 20 th century getting older remained a secret, or an unsolved organic challenge. on the finish of the 20 th century a striking clinical discovery emerged. It used to be no longer a unmarried discovery within the ordinary feel, since it was once in line with a chain of significant 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, even if, that the numerous observations and insights that specify getting older are usually not authorised as tested wisdom for a very long time. the sector remains to be packed with scientists, and non-scientists, who're simply satisfied to move on speculating in regards to the 'mystery' of getting older. the purpose of this booklet is to dispel lack of understanding through explaining in non-technical language what are the explanations for getting older and the parable of over the top prolongation of lifestyles.
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Additional resources for Aging: The Paradox of Life
In the previous chapter, we saw that the energy resources available to an animal such as a mammal, are broadly partitioned into three areas. First, the general metabolism which is common to all mammalian species. Second, all functions associated with development to adulthood and reproduction, and third, efficient maintenance of the adult body for a considerable proportion of the total lifespan. We know that patterns of reproduction vary greatly amongst mammals, but more specifically than that, we can see that the rates of reproduction, and the potential number of offspring that can be produced also vary enormously.
Heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease are good examples of this. The heart is an efficient pump, but it consists of cells which never divide. As in the case of any mechanical device, with time deterioration sets in. Heart muscle cells may be lost, the valves, through constant use, can become calcified or otherwise defective. The major blood vessels are not easily repaired, especially their inner surface. Cumulative damage gives rise to the condition known as atherosclerosis. Cholesterol-rich lesions known as atheromatous plaques appear and gradually increase in size.
Other animals, obviously related to primitive forms, are known as flat-worms. Many are free living, and others have become parasites of contemporary animal species. They have no body cavity, unlike all more advanced animal species, and they retain remarkable powers of regeneration. The Ancient Origins of Ageing 39 Some will produce buds that develop into whole animals, and it has been shown experimentally that pieces of an adult animal can regenerate the whole organism again. This regeneration is due to special cells in the body which are totipotent, that is, they can form all the other types of cells found in an adult animal (much like stem cells in the embryos of complex animals) These animals are in some way more like plants than more advanced types of animals.