How much of the natural human variation in longevity and pace of aging has its roots in genetics, and how much is determined by lifestyle and environment? Some gene variants result in beneficial metabolic alterations such as lower cholesterol or a greater resilience in the face of the molecular damage of late old age. Lifestyle…

In autoimmunity, the immune system becomes dysregulated and mistakenly attacks portions of the patient’s own biochemistry. The broad variety of autoimmune conditions are differentiated from one another on the basis of exactly which structures and cells come under attack. Some autoimmune conditions are highly disabling or lethal, while others are comparative mild, but even lesser…

The raised blood pressure of old age is known as hypertension, and it is predominantly caused by dysfunction in blood vessel walls: cross-links, calcification, and loss of elastin cause reduced elasticity, while smooth muscle cells lose their capacity to act for a variety of other reasons. When blood vessels can no longer correctly react to…

Researchers have identified a marker for a small population of smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls that show up in larger numbers in cases of vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis. These cells may be dysfunctional in the sense that they (a) appear to be involved in inflammatory signaling and (b) lose the normal behavior…

One of the approaches taken in efforts to understand a complex system such as metabolism is to break specific components, one by one, and observe the results: disable a gene, block the interactions of a protein, and so forth. This technique is widely used in investigations of calorie restriction, particularly regarding the way in which…

Today’s open access papers touch on aspects of the interaction between exercise and the pace of aging. People age at somewhat different rates, and for the vast majority of us lifestyle is a far greater determinant of that rate than our genes. Until such time as the clinical deployment of rejuvenation therapies is well underway,…

In the paper I’ll point out today, the authors provide evidence in support of the concept that it is specifically oxidized cholesterol that is the primary cause of atherosclerosis rather than the condition resulting from too much cholesterol in general. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits form in blood vessel walls, weakening them and narrowing the vessels….

It is no big secret that being overweight will harm your future prospects for health and longevity. The more visceral fat tissue, the worse off you will be. Since it is somewhat easier to be in denial on this topic than it is to lose significant amounts of weight, there are a lot of people…

Along with raised blood pressure, chronic inflammation is one of the most important downstream consequences of (a) the causes of aging, (b) harmful environmental factors such as burden of infectious disease, and (c) poor lifestyle choices, such as becoming overweight. Chronic inflammation in and of itself produces a wide range of harmful consequences, accelerating the…

Beyond the risk of cancer, does random mutational damage to nuclear DNA provide a significant contribution to degenerative aging? Mutation counts rise with age, but if it was a case of every cell becoming a little mutated over the course of its duties before it is replaced, than it would be fairly clear that nuclear…

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