According to this new study by Yousef et al, we can now rejuvenate brains and muscles by blocking the senescence signal TGF-Beta, (transforming growth factor – Beta).
But I believe that embracing new anti-apoptosis tech is like putting the cart before the horse. The horse is what moves the vehicle, not the cart.
Or maybe even worse, adding new tech is essentially abrogating the functional deaths of cells in crisis. But doing something because you can and it appears to get you results may still not be the best approach:
Hopeful science fetishists may believe that blocking cell death signaling beats the alternative because they only consider one alternative- that of aging. But what if you could could prevent the stem cells from mutating and letting off the appropriate “I’m damaged so please kill-me” signals?
——But first, a review: why do we need TGF-Beta??——-
The reason growth factors like TGF-Beta exist is to promote apoptosis in damaged cells. Why would we want that? Well there’s an expression that “if three people at a party tell you to sit down, you are probably drunk.” As stem cells age by telomere shortening and genetic mutation, they become dysfunctional and that is the horse that is driving the much needed signal to tell those bad cells to ‘sit down’.
If we block the normal signalling caused by the senescent cellular phenotype, then we produce a cellular zombie apocalypse. We have damaged, should-be dead, cells that live on…and with what consequences?
As I explain in my book, “Telomere Timebombs: Defusing the terror of aging”, the use of adaptogens appears to have a pro-apoptotic (or cell death) function. Death is not to be feared as I explain in this blog about the lessons learned from anti-aging and anti-cancer genes.
Death and decay are a normal part of cellular life from the single cell, to the stem cell niche, to the organ, to the organism, to the family, to the civilization. Don’t believe me? What happens when you don’t have the chaos that is needed for reorganization like in the post-radioactive Chernobyl? Leaves and trees don’t decay. There aren’t any bugs.
It is like the pro-human superbot JARVIS remarked to the misanthropic, homocidal ULTRON bot in the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel Studios, 2015):
They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and try to control what won’t be.”
So the senescence, inflammation, and degeneration at the heart of aging only appears chaotic to us because it represents rapid change amidst cellular crisis. But it is morally-neutral. To we mere humans, it only appears dissonant because we have limited ideas of what scales and intervals constitute music. As Kennedy, Nixon, and Gore mentioned, the Chinese character for crisis is comprised of “danger+ oppotunity”
So to recap, if you had the choice of three options, which would you choose?
A) Preventing stem cell injury and crisis but allowing normal cell death to occur with replenishment from less damaged stem cells (NATURAL and SUSTAINABLE)
B) Allowing stem cell injury and crisis but allowing normal cell death without adequate replacement (the DEGENERATIVE DISEASE status quo)
C) Allowing stem cell injury but preventing crisis and abnormal cell death with cell signaling blockers (ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE)
While this research is critically-important and helpful, it doesn’t, in my opinion, represent a wise choice for a candidate “cure for aging”. Unfortunately, as I discuss in this blog about a human genetic engineering experiment billed as a “cure for aging”, people don’t always understand the moral and foundational aspects of what is being presented and if you made it this far in the blog, you can count yourself decidedly NOT one of those people.
In honor of your superheroic attention span, I will treat you to an original Dr. Ed Park aphorism (hopefully to be plagiarized in a Facebook posting soon. #theonlythingthatmakessnseischange
“The only thing that makes sense is change” – Dr. Ed Park