Could Anti-Aging Treatments Be Harming Your Health? New Research Raises Concerns

Senescent Zombie Cells

Recent research highlights the beneficial physiological roles of senescent cells, suggesting that targeting them in anti-aging therapies could be counterproductive and risky. Credit:

‘Senescence’ encompasses a variety of processes and cells with both beneficial and detrimental functions—thus, it is not accurate to solely attribute aging to them.

The quest for rejuvenation treatments often targets senescent cells, despite them having a positive physiological role in health in many recent cases, a leading researcher has warned.

In a paper published on June 20 in Science, Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes from the University of Birmingham identifies that senescent cells which have been variously referred to as responsible for aging actually have various positive health impacts, and targeting them therapeutically could be detrimental.

The Dual Role of Senescence in Health

Professor de Magalhaes highlights the important role that cellular senescence plays in the development of several tissues and organs as well as:

  • inflammation and wound healing,
  • tumor suppression,
  • insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells,
  • and has structural roles in the vascular system and placenta.

Senescence has also been observed in tissue regeneration in some animals including in mice, where hepatic stellate cells which are crucial to normal liver functioning become senescent following injury.

Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Professor of Molecular Biogerontology at the University of Birmingham and author of the paper said: “The role of cellular senescence in aging and age-related diseases is a major area of research, which has led to the ongoing development of therapies targeting senescent cells. Recent findings, however, have revealed a surprising and growing number of normal physiological roles of senescent cells.

“Strikingly, these results show that senescent cells play important physiological roles and raise major questions about the rationale, efficacy, and safety of targeting senescent cells therapeutically. While it’s clear that there are some instances in which cellular senescence is implicated in aging diseases, targeting senescent cells therapeutically entails risks and may not be the way to go in order to tackle aging.”

Reference: “Cellular senescence in normal physiology” by João Pedro de Magalhães, 20 June 2024, Science.
DOI: 10.1126/science.adj7050

3 Comments on "Could Anti-Aging Treatments Be Harming Your Health? New Research Raises Concerns"

  1. As someone with just a bachelor’s in biology, may I just say – Duh

  2. So, Peter Thiel is gonna kick the bucket soon? Good.

  3. Pluses and minuses to everything. I went heavy duty on senolytics, while fasting-mimicking. It did wonders for my brain. My bullet chess improved dramatically, undoing more than a decade of decline. Actually, more than three times that decline. But, indeed, I got problems too. I did not realize it at first, but my healing was greatly diminished. As soon as I injured my arm…perhaps tennis elbow, it just would not heal for more than a year and a half. I jammed my thumb, too. Again, more than a year to heal. But after I took up exercise…starting at a very low level and intentionally progressing very slowly, after a few months everything went back to normal, actually better than normal, now (exercising for about a year). Some supplements may have had a role as well. I have no pains…none. Nothing at all upon waking. I can easily touch my toes. I can work on the floor for hours on DIY stuff, stand up, and no pain, like I was 20. I don’t know what things to credit. I have done a lot of anti-aging stuff. Nothing pricey like stem cells, genetic modification, hyperbaric, hormones, drugs, sauna, peptides, etc., just supplements, major dietary changes, and exercise…and still pretty wimpy at that. I hike for an hour to an hour and a half around a lake, 3 to 5 days a week. I intend to add resistance training and some rowing (HIIT and distance) and stair climbing. My HS-CRP (a measure of inflammation) is below measurable. I fixed my kidneys with a diet I invented. It is essentially a reduced Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) diet, but also omitting foods that typically have more lead, going heavy on colorful vegetables, and having diversity in the diet: raw nuts, seeds, sprouts, algae, legumes, leafy greens, various meats cooked in low AGEs methods and fish, lots of spices, low AGEs dairy, reduced grains, and no eating other than zero calorie drinks past 5:30PM. I am 55. I feel great. My sleep could be better. My working memory could be better, and memory in general, but thinking speed and skills are good. Reaction time is still very quick. Oddly, balance has dramatically improved. I think the hiking did that. Grip strength is 188 lb, which is off the chart for my age. I lost 64 lb (all fat) to fix my liver, it did. Still, working on losing more. Did not get one of those new weight loss drugs, just enduring a bit of hunger, for those larger goals, and not rushing it. I am losing it slowly, because I am going to keep it off. I am down 6 pant sizes. Holding off buying new clothes. Just using suspenders to keep my pants up. Though, I think I am going to rummage through the attic, to find old clothes that fit, because even the clothes with elastic are gaping a bit.
    Never drank, smoked, or used.
    What worked for me, worked for me. This is not advice.

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