The end of aging?
By Valerie Minard
The end of aging? Is it possible? Professor David Sinclair, a geneticist at the University of New South Wales, believes it might be. Sinclair and US researchers have developed a compound that actually reverses – not just slows down – the aging process in mice.
In their experiments, mice had more energy, muscle tone, less inflammation, and increased insulin resistance with the compound. This might be analogous to a 60-year-old human feeling like a 20-year-old. In fact, human trials could start as early as this year. “We think that should be able to keep people healthier for longer and keep them from getting diseases of aging,” Sinclair said.
While it may sound like they’ve discovered the fountain of youth, we don’t need to wait until the elixir becomes commercial. Research shows how our attitudes, lifestyle, and views on aging can determine whether we age gracefully or not. And doesn’t this all boil down to what we think about aging? If we are fearful and accept decline as inevitable, we’ll start to accept limitations that foster more fear and play out in actual decrepitude.
Long before our current highly technical research into the process of aging, people caught glimpses of the mental and spiritual nature of long life. Take 19th century, health researcher and Christian theologian, Mary Baker Eddy, for instance. In her book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” she says, “Never record ages. Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.”
Eddy herself embraced these ideas living twice the life expectancy of her day and accomplished her greatest life’s works in the last 20 years.
One-hundred-and-one year-old, Fauja Singh is a prime modern day example of this. Nicknamed the “Turban Tornado,” the Indian-born British national, officially completed his last race as the world’s oldest marathoner before retiring in 2013. Sprinting across the finish line he said, “Today is one of my happiest days…I felt so fresh and so good. I felt I’m full of power today.”
Singh took up running in his 80’s after the death of both his wife and son. Running helped him overcome depression. “When I took up running it was like meeting God himself,” he said. “I have been running ever since.”
In fact, medical tests, taken at age 99, showed that Singh’s health was comparable to a 40 year-old man. Asked if he found it difficult to run a marathon, he said, “’The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to God.”
If aging is the result of a misguided concept of ourselves, then using wrinkle-free cream, botox, a compound injection (tested on mice), or getting a facelift won’t help us live longer because they don’t reshape our views on aging. Instead we can refuse to see ourselves as helpless victims of decline and limitation and focus on our God-given qualities of vigor, beauty, freshness, and promise in ourselves and others. Then we won’t have to wait for the “fountain of youth” but can experience full, disease free, vital and long lives right now.
Valerie blogs on health and spirituality. She is also the media spokesperson for Christian Science in New Jersey and a Christian Science practitioner.