Naturally, we wish to immerse ourselves in the living world for as long as possible. We fear death, and often times our actions and thoughts reflect that uneasiness. Although there is no such thing as forever, just the thought of getting an extension at life is appealing. Due to these desires, the talks of researchers have bogged down over one issue: what exactly controls aging?
Scientists have long been researching causes of human aging, as well as ways for greater longevity. Through their work, as well as many other new medical advancements along the way, the average lifespan has increased significantly over the years; however, the root of the problem was yet to be known. That is why the research conducted by cellular biologist Adam Antebi was a scientific breakthrough.
Antebi and his fellow colleagues were able to identify the direct cause behind the science of aging, the nucleolus. They found that smaller nucleoli were favorable for the purposes of extending life, which they also learned was achievable through physical exercise and careful food consumption.
According to the New York Times article “The Thing Inside Your Cells That Might Determine How Long You Live”, the main job of the nucleolus is to produce ribosomes for the cell. Ribosomes make proteins, which are used for “building walls, forming hairs, making memories, communicating and starting, and stopping and slowing down reactions that help a cell stay functioning.”
Comparing the role of the nucleolus to that of an engineer, Dr. Antebi commented, “It knows the supply chain, coordinates all the jobs of building, does quality control checks and makes sure things continue to work well.”
Scientists have found that a cell’s health and life span is determined by how well these tasks are performed by the nucleolus. Furthermore, they discovered that growth signals could also lead to more ribosomes, which in turn causes cells to grow bigger to account for the increasing volume and strangely shortens a cell’s life. In contrast, cells are more likely to live longer when nucleoli shrink and make fewer ribosomes, which they learned could occur when food is restricted.
Any living being has cells in the body and knowing what effect they have on their own lifespan can be beneficial, in one way or another. Therefore, it could be useful to know exactly what goes on inside of the cell, and it is important that more people become aware of this fact.
Hopefully in the future, further steps taken in the scientific field will help discover ways to extend human life more easily and efficiently.