Cause of aging

James james at
Sun Aug 16 22:27:02 EST 1998

[big snip for brevity]

>    Finally, the name of the hypothesis above (DIARAMA) merely
> notes that failure of repair is ASSOCIATED with failure of cell
> division.  It doesn't say that restoration of cell division will
> be necessary for repair (though for all we know, that might turn
> out to be the case, absent new intracellular repair mechanisms
> not found in nature).  But by focusing on the fact that full
> repair and de-aging is ASSOCIATED with cell division, we are
> encouraged to see what it is about cell division that triggers
> the extremely efficient age repair systems that we have in nature
> already.  The ones that have kept life around in an oxygen
> atmosphere for 2.5 billion years, or something like that.  When
> we find out how this kind of thing works, we may be able to turn
> it on, even in differentiated cells.  But we won't look for ways
> to do this without a new paradigm to help us in our thinking.
> The "free radical theory of aging" is, I am afraid, not that
> paradigm.  We need something new that reflects what we now
> realize about the root causes of the process.  New understanding
> DEMANDS new language.  I'm quite open to suggestions that will
> help me with this.

Obviously I am making unsupported assumptions here, but my guess is that
the only reason that phenomema such as DIARAMA exist is because cell
division is serially diluting damaged membranes and accumulated waste.
I don't think DIARAMA is caused by any sort of repair system that we can
activate - it is a purely physical phenomema.  And I would much rather
concentrate my efforts on reducing free radicals (if I was a free
radical proponent) than on trying to get neurons and cardiac cells to
start dividing again, just because one seems much more feasible than the

But, I do agree with a good portion of what was said, and I acknowledge
that my statements above are pure speculation, so perhaps Steve is right
and we shouldn't narrow our thinking just yet.

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