The Possibility of Reverse Aging

Ken Lam, Writer

Many people don’t want their beauty to be taken away by aging, but there were no real treatments that could help to reverse that process entirely. However, as in November, researchers from Tel Aviv University have made a significant breakthrough of the finding for reverse aging in elderly adults. 

The researchers were investigating the effects of being in a chamber that is full of pure oxygen for 90 minutes, five days a week for three months on the senescent cells – cells that are associated with the deterioration of tissues and organs – of the elder participants.

In addition, they measured the length of the telomere – a molecule linked to premature cellular aging – of each person to determine whether or not the pure oxygen has a direct effect on the length of the telomere as well as the senescent cells.

While participating in the experiment, participants did not change their usual lifestyles and diets to ensure there are no confounding factors that otherwise would most likely have an effect on the experimental group, which will create confusion to researchers since they will not be able to identify whether the reverse aging process is resulted from the pure oxygen or from other outside confounding factors. This decision was made to ensure the validity as well as the statistical significance of the results. 

Surprisingly, the results supported the researchers’ hypothesis that being in a chamber with pure oxygen does in fact reverse the aging process, and that involves mostly with the enlargement of the telomeres.

Telomeres are non-coding sequences at the end of DNA that act as a protective cap to prevent DNA from losing valuable information that otherwise provides instructions for the cell to properly function. Moreover, as cells divide more, DNA is also being replicated during the cell division process – mitosis – which could cause the shortening of the telomeres, therefore, prevents the cells from dividing more as humans age.

With the success of the experiment, scientists were able to reverse the shortening of telomeres and enlarge them instead. They found that the participants’ telomeres had enlarged by an average of 20 percent, while the number of senescent cells decreased by 37 percent, which is the equivalent of growing 25 years or younger.

Based on the result of the experiment, scientists are certainly able to determine that the process of reverse aging is truly possible and is not a myth anymore.

“The significant improvement of telomere length shown…provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that aging can, indeed, be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level,” said the study’s co-author Shai Efrati.

In fact, the shortening of the telomere’s length is considered as the “Holy Grail” of biological aging and by increasing its length, scientists can extend the time that it takes for the body to age so that it could remain younger.

“What is remarkable to note in our study, is that in just three months of therapy, we were able to achieve such significant telomere elongation – at rates far beyond any of the current available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” said Dr. Amir Hadanny, who co-authored the study. 

The successful results from the experiment had proven and unraveled the myth of reverse aging that was once thought to be an impossibility to many scientists. However, with the help of brilliant and passionate researchers as well as advanced technologies, scientists were able to uncover mysteries like this and can contribute to the advancement of science in the future.