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A Unified Theory


We believe the telomere theory unifies many of the other theories of aging.

Wear and Tear Theories

For example, it is true that when somatic cells receive an inordinate amount of free radical damage or stress, and thereby senesce or commit aptopsis (suicide), other cells will proliferate more rapidly to try to repair the damage. The result of that, however, is more rapid telomeric aging, which gives both a short and long term truth to the statement that free radical damage causes aging, while at the same time not being its ultimate true cause.

It is for this reason the telomere theory predicts that high blood pressure for example, is associated with a high risk of heart disease: The endolethial cells lining the arteries are subject to more stress, replicate more quickly to repair damage caused by that stress, but in so doing, march that much faster down the gene expression road to becoming 'old' and less effective cells. Later they are unable to maintain the smooth functioning surface and plaque develops10. And in fact heart disease resulting from athersclerosis is the number one cause of death in Progeric (HGPS) children.   So in general, the more damage our bodies sustain, or unhealthy lifestyle we lead, the more this will promote both short term (immediate damage to cells) and long term (telomeric shortening due to division-based repair) aging.

Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction is the only proven technique to date to radically extend the life of mammals. Whatever the cause and evolutionary purpose of this reaction, at least one study has concluded that they divide more slowly when under CR. To the degree to which this is true, this would slow telomere erosion.

Cell Growth - Not Necessarily Good

However, in the light of the telomere theory, some anti-aging techniques should be called into question. In our opinion you should be wary of any therapy or supplement which enhances cell proliferation or growth (both terms for cell division) to somatic cell lines that do not extend the telomeres at the same time. These therapies would be likely to have a short term rejuvenation effect as the enhanced cell proliferation would enhance repair, but a long term pro-aging effect as the telomeres on these cells depleted more rapidly due to the more rapid division. Chief among these in our opinion is Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which quite simply stimulates ‘growth’ (i.e., cell division) in somatic cells throughout the body and thereby does, in the short term, produce a rejuvenating effect as it mimics the faster rate of cell division of younger cells. However, there is no evidence that they elongate telomeres so if the telomere theory is correct, and HGH does not elongate telomeres, this ‘growth’ is a form of hyperproliferation of somatic cells not unlike those accompanying Progeric patients, which could only lead to more accelerated aging in the long term. The fact that the current winner of the Methuselah Mouse Longevity Prize for the longest-lived mouse earned that feat by having had its growth hormone gene knocked out so that it could not produce any growth hormone, and therefore had compromised cell growth (division) rates seems to us to be confirmation of this fact.

Whatever it Takes

While we see other causes of aging, and techniques that have been shown to extend life as less central to what we consider to be its one true mechanism, to the degree to which they play ultimately favorably into slowing telomere erosion, or to the degree to which they are telomere-neutral, but still provide other health benefits that would increase one’s chance of living longer, we are all for them. Our mission statement is to help our clients make it to the ‘other side’ – a day when aging can be stopped. Any therapy that helps them get there is something we consider ourselves potentially in the business of providing.



See you on the other side,

    - The Terraternal Team