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Cybernetic Principles of Aging and Rejuvenation: The Buffering- Challenging Strategy for Life Extension

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Aging is analyzed as the spontaneous loss of adaptivity and increase in fragility that characterizes dynamic systems. Cybernetics defines the general regulatory mechanisms that a system can use to prevent or repair the damage produced by disturbances. According to the law of requisite variety, disturbances can be held in check by maximizing buffering capacity, range of compensatory actions, and knowledge about which action to apply to which disturbance. This suggests a general strategy for rejuvenating the organism by increasing its capabilities of adaptation. Buffering can be optimized by providing sufficient rest together with plenty of nutrients: amino acids, antioxidants, methyl donors, vitamins, minerals, etc. Knowledge and the range of action can be extended by subjecting the organism to an as large as possible variety of challenges. These challenges are ideally brief so as not to deplete resources and produce irreversible damage. However, they should be sufficiently intense and unpredictable to induce an overshoot in the mobilization of resources for damage repair, and to stimulate the organism to build stronger capabilities for tackling future challenges. This allows them to override the trade-offs and limitations that evolution has built into the organism’s repair processes in order to conserve potentially scarce resources. Such acute, “hormetic” stressors strengthen the organism in part via the “order from noise” mechanism that destroys dysfunctional structures by subjecting them to strong, random variations. They include heat and cold, physical exertion, exposure, stretching, vibration, fasting, food toxins, micro-organisms, environmental enrichment and psychological challenges. The proposed buffering-challenging strategy may be able to extend life indefinitely, by forcing a periodic rebuilding and extension of capabilities, while using the Internet as an endless source of new knowledge about how to deal with disturbances.

Keywords: Aging; challenges; cybernetics; hormesis; life extension; order from noise; regulation; requisite variety

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Current Aging Science publishes frontier review and experimental articles in all areas of aging and age-related research that may influence longevity. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the biology and mechanism of aging, genetics, pathogenesis, intervention of normal aging process and preventive strategies of age-related disorders. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, clinical, molecular, and animal models, including lower organism models (e.g., yeast, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila). In addition to the affect of aging on integrated systems, the journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of adults stem cells, brain imaging, calorie restriction, immunosenescence, molecular diagnostics, pharmacology and clinical aspects of aging. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to developmental programming of aging and the synergistic mechanism of aging with cardiovascular diseases, obesity and neurodegenerative disorders.

    Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor and drug clinical trial studies are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in aging, age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease and longevity. Current Aging Science provides a comprehensive coverage of the current state of aging research for gerontologists, neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting agencies and pharmaceutical scientists.

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