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Current Research Into Telomeres III

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Sat Sep 5 08:44:25 EST 1998

William wrote:

> >I think what would be much more interesting
> >is to find out why (or how) caloric restriction reduces free radical
> >damage. ...
> I did not think that caloric restriction did anything to reduce free
> radical damage except to make cells produce fewer free radicals. In my
> opinion if we found out that CR was doing something else to actually
> PREVENT the damage then that would be very interesting. 

I may have been unclear.  What I meant was: Starting from the strong
evidence that CR extends lifespan largely by reducing free radical
damage, we must establish a LOT about how before we can hope to copy
the effect.  A fine FIRST step is to establish whether (a) it reduces
free radical damage by making cells produce fewer free radicals, or (b)
it reduces free radical damage by preventing the damage (eg by making
cells mop the free radicals up better).  The evidence leans towards (a)
at the moment, as you say.  But that's only the first step: it's not
nearly enough to tell us how to do the same medically.  For that, we
must find out how CR makes cells produce fewer free radicals.  And when
we do, it may well still be only a partial answer -- there may be more
"how" questions to answer before we have a sufficient picture.

> what would it take to REPAIR all of this damage that has accumulated? 

There's no single answer -- it depends on the type of damage.

Aubrey de Grey

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