Blue death: The frontiers of ageing research | A film by the Wellcome Trust

Blue death: The frontiers of ageing research | A film by the Wellcome Trust


Ageing: it’s really happening –
it’s going to be solved, I think, in the next it’s happening now –
it’s being solved as we speak. Trying to understand ageing
in a human being, biologists have just failed to do that
over many centuries of studying it. So the current strategy is to say, OK,
let’s take a really simple organism, just the simplest organism that
you can find, which is an animal, and does show ageing, and try to
solve ageing in that one organism and if we can do that maybe what we
learn will be applicable to humans. In the organism that I work on – C. elegans – increases in life span of up to 10-fold have been achieved. One of the important things that people
look for in the ageing field are things called biomarkers of ageing,
things that you can measure tangibly over the course of an organism’s lifespan.
So, for example, what I work on the things I work on, were originally
thought to be biomarkers of ageing, so that’s little bright patches of fluorescence
in the worm intestine. What I’ve shown is actually that’s not
a valid biomarker of age at all. What it is actually, it’s much more a marker
of death, so the more bright stuff a worm has, means it is much
more likely to die very soon. The current working model is that
organisms can actually regulate their growth and their ageing rate
according to how much food there is. What we’re studying is this sensing system for nutrition, which is controlling ageing and growth and what our finding implies is
that in principle we can manipulate with drugs this
sensing system in order to produce increases in life span
without having to reduce food intake. A-ha! We’ve got worms. When you shine a UV light on a worm it just comes up blue. So I haven’t
put that there, that’s just part of a worm. We think the death
of the worm kind of happens almost in the intestine – that this is
almost like a heart attack that we’re seeing, it’s like some kind of trigger of
death that once started, doesn’t stop. Ageing is a trait like any other, it’s
a genetically-controlled trait like any other, like eye colour
or hair colour or whatever. What we try to do is to use very simple
organisms that are very easy to work with in the laboratory and cheap to work with,
to identify genes that control ageing and then to find out what
those genes are and what they do, and there are reasons for optimism
there because remember that many of the genes that actually encode for the worm
are the same genes that encode for humans and in fact some of the genes that control
ageing in worms are present in humans and we’ve shown that those equivalent genes
control ageing in many other organisms so in fruit flies and
in mice, for example. Look, you can see the brightness. There – this is it. And you can see it still alive,
but it’s just getting much, much brighter. That spread is death. That’s showing the cells dying and you can
see that it completely consumes the worm. Can you see how bright that is
compared to before? It’s real live death, as it were. If ageing was retarded in humans, what one would expect is
a reduction in the levels of most or all ageing-related illnesses. So you’d have a reduction in levels of
cancer, reductions in levels of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, reduction in
cardiovascular disease, reductions in Type-2 diabetes,
reductions in blindness, in osteoporosis, in incontinence
– in all of it.

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  1. Hey Dr Gems, I don't think that by reducing aging ALL the illnesses mentions will be reduced… as time progresses, even though we may be able to age slower, other genes that are responsible for illnesses will still change over time? JZ

  2. I don't want to sound nihilistic or misanthropic, but we don't need MORE people on this Earth. Overpopulation is the source of nearly all the world's problems. If you prevent or slow death before we figure out efficient energy solutions and resource distributions, our numbers will not decrease. We're going to run out of water, clean air, trees, and space to move, faster than we already are. We should be curbing population growth, not prolonging our lifespans.

  3. This autofluorescence is actually a pain in the ass if you need to image neurons. One scientist's pain in the ass is another scientist's discovery.

  4. Or maybe because we stop living pathetically short and taking our lessons to the grave, leaving the inexperienced to make the same mistakes all over again, things will improve.

  5. This is someone dying while having an MRI scan. Before you die, your brain releases tons and tons of endorphins that make you feel a range of emotions. Tragically beautiful.

  6. Earth is not overpopulated. At least 75% of Earth surface that can support our way of living is not populated…

  7. You are so wrong. That's a dirty zionist's lie that there's too many of us. All of the worlds resources are controlled by like 5% of the population, that's the reason for poverty. How can you say that there's not enough room for us when one rich guy owns villas and golf courts(etc.), while 1000 others live crowded on the street? Imagine if all of resources and research would be directed to human development instead of destruction(wars, diseases), we would be close to inhabiting another planet.

  8. I have found the cure for aging. Take human and a large container fill with water and place in food freezer – TADA! perfect for a over 1000 years:)

  9. Reducing the population will not help us distribute our resources better – there will just be fewer people, but still rich and poor, and people will still starve, just like now. We produce food for at least 9 billion people at the moment, but poor people just aren't able to access their fair share. Also, space isn't an issue right now either, as all humans in the world could fit into the state of Texas. What we should curb is rampant consumerism, not humans.

  10. Hippie, of course we are with too many. And the simple natural differences between humans make one rich and the other poor. This counts for all animals, wether one is stronger, has more 'wealth' than the other etc. etc. We should all take it slow, but the most poor of the world f*ck like rabbits in the mathematical change that one out of 10 shall be succesfull.

  11. I think the anti-aging 'cure' has already been found. Though, due to the chaos the world will be in if we all get old and won't die, this project has been stopped.

  12. But we are not even close to inhabiting another planet. The sad thing is that we are not too many as we are (in a way) but if we werent all poor then we really would have no way of meeting the demand. Which is quite depressing.

  13. One of the fundamental points of life is to reproduce. Don't allow a few rich people to convince you that you shouldn't be here. It's not their decision to make. It's yours.

  14. He was very misleading when he says any therapy would reduce things like cancer etc. All it would do would be to make it occur later in life and for a broader period (due to longer lifespans)

  15. You are wrong GatsuKS, human population has reached infestation levels. We polute, consume more than the planet produces and kill other species due to our hunger.
    You don't have to be a mathematician to figure this out. You just have to inform yourself.

  16. Исследователи зафиксировали процесс смерти на примере червя, в теле которого от клетки к клетке распространялись синие флуоресцентные волны, пока весь организм не умер.

    * Механизм отмирания отдельных клеток достаточно хорошо изучен: он вызывает цепную химическую реакцию, которая приводит к разрушению частей клетки и образованию молекулярного мусора. Однако до сих пор учёные имели смутное представление о том, как «смерть» распространяется по всему организму. Разглядывая в микроскоп умирающего червя, исследователи заметили, как синий свет волнами проходит через кишечник.

    Согласно данным исследования, опубликованным в «PloS Biology», отмирание клеток (некроз) распространяется по организму благодаря химической реакции с участием кальция, содержащегося в клетках.

    «Приняв во внимание все полученные данные, мы усомнились в популярной теории, согласно которой старость приходит по мере того, как в клетках накапливаются молекулярные повреждения. Изучив биологическую составляющую процессов старения и смерти, мы сможем понять, как их приостановить», — утверждает профессор Джемс.

  17. Эврика! Выявили наконец в 21 веке, что смерть оказывается имеет волновую природу. Ну копайте дальше, оправдывайте степени и дипломы. Шаг, блин, один – вперёд, зато два сразу назад. Ниче, к 22 дочешете что к чему.

  18. My late father use to say from 30 years ago plus …. if you want to live long and be healthy, you should not eat anything, but if you dont, you will die of hunger,….. so eat very little of greens and maybe some pasta or rice …., he died at the age of 92 , he fell ….

  19. by the way today it is 2019 but no one talks about all this ..and people still eat processed food , meet, fish and chicken full of antibiotics and filled with industrial man-made food

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