Tags: Health Topics | aging | mathematics | physics | death

Arizona Study: Math Proves Aging Is 'Incontrovertible Truth'

Arizona Study: Math Proves Aging Is 'Incontrovertible Truth'
(Sam Householder/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 November 2017 11:03 PM

It is mathematically impossible for humans to beat the clock, researchers say.

According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Arizona researchers discovered that in multicellular organisms, things break over time and – according to the math – trying to fix them can make things worse, Phys.or reported.

"Aging is mathematically inevitable – like, seriously inevitable" explained Joanna Masel, UA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Phys.org reported. "There's logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out."

Though it appears possible to stop aging if science could figure out a way to make natural selection between organisms perfect, the solution is not that simple, the researchers argue.

Two things happen to the body on a cellular level as it ages: Cells slow down and start to lose function, and some cells crank up their growth rate, which can cause cancer cells to form, the researchers say.

"As you age, most of your cells are ratcheting down and losing function, and they stop growing, as well," Nelson, lead author of the study, asserted, Phys.org reported.

"But some of your cells are growing like crazy. What we show is that this forms a double bind – a catch-22. If you get rid of those poorly functioning, sluggish cells, then that allows cancer cells to proliferate, and if you get rid of, or slow down, those cancer cells, then that allows sluggish cells to accumulate.

"So you're stuck between allowing these sluggish cells to accumulate or allowing cancer cells to proliferate, and if you do one you can't do the other. You can't do them both at the same time."

The researchers' work presents a mathematical equation that expresses why aging is an "incontrovertible truth" and "an intrinsic property of being multicellular," Phys.org reported.

"You might be able to slow down aging but you can't stop it," Masel said, Phys.org reported. "We have a mathematical demonstration of why it's impossible to fix both problems. You can fix one problem but you're stuck with the other one. Things will get worse over time, in one of these two ways or both: Either all of your cells will continue to get more sluggish, or you'll get cancer.

"And the basic reason is that things break. It doesn't matter how much you try and stop them from breaking, you can't," she said.

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The University of Arizona researchers discovered that in multicellular organisms, things break over time and, according to the math, trying to fix them can make things worse, Phys.or reported.
aging, mathematics, physics, death
394
2017-03-01
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 11:03 PM
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