Myths and legends about eternal youth have given rise to a number of movies and novels but is it possible to actually achieve it real life? A pair of researchers from the University of Arizona is responsible for breaking millions of heart all across the globe with their findings. It is very much impossible to stay young indefinitely.
Being multicellular organisms, there is a constant battle being fought by our cells against decomposition. In the end, there can only be one winner and our cells are not the favorable ones in this situation. The cells eventually become unfit and this leads to greying of hair and wrinkles on our skin. The scientists tested out a hypothesis by weeding out unfit cells and giving way to healthy cells but the results were scarier than simply growing old.
“Ageing is mathematically inevitable – like, seriously inevitable,” says evolutionary biologist Joanna Masel. “There’s logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out.” The researchers tried knocking off the old cells to allow the more active cells to keep on performing their functions for a longer time. They repaired DNA and extended chromosomes but it led to a sudden multiplication of those cells in an uncontrolled fashion which looks a lot like cancer.
“If you get rid of those poorly functioning, sluggish cells, then that allows cancer cells to proliferate,” says lead researcher Paul Nelson. “And if you get rid of, or slow down, those cancer cells, then that allows sluggish cells to accumulate. So you’re stuck between allowing these sluggish cells to accumulate or allowing cancer cells to proliferate, and if you do one you can’t do the other,”
They have the mathematical numbers to prove their claim “We have a mathematical demonstration of why it’s impossible to fix both problems,” says Masel. The bottom line is, no matter how much we crave eternal youth, none of us would be willing to achieve it at the risk of cancer.