The ‘new’ science is called epigenetics. It’s been around for about 20 years, but it’s just now being introduced to the general public. For example, The American Cancer Society is an organization that has been looking for cancer genes for the last 50 years or so. But they’ve found that only about 5 percent of cancer has genetic linkage, leaving 95% that is not genetically linked. Recently the American Cancer Society released a statistic that said 60 percent of cancer is avoidable by changing lifestyle and diet. So now they are telling us, “It’s the way you live, it’s not your genes.”
Within every one of our bodies at this very moment, there are billions of stem cells, embryonic cells designed to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs. However, the activity and fate of these regenerative cells are epigenetically controlled. That means they are profoundly influenced by our thoughts and perceptions about the environment. Hence our beliefs about aging can either interfere with or enhance stem cell function, causing our physiological regeneration or decline. Then must a period of degeneration, “aging,” precede death? Can we get old without aging?
A character of all multicellular organisms in the biosphere is that their life progresses through a defined series of sequential stages that collectively define a life cycle. In the animal kingdom, the life cycle stages are: conception, development, maturation, decline, and death. Though death may be inevitable, the duration of an individual’s life span is an unknown variable.
As a linear time line, the whole life cycle represents a process of aging. The conventional usage of “aging,” however, is generally associated with the phase of the life cycle defined as decline. The period of decline is characterized by a loss of physical and mental function, decrepitude, and infirmity, all traits of “growing old.”
The human aging period is of variable duration. Some individuals experience a long, protracted period of decline, while others are fortunate enough to have a vibrantly healthy life and then pass peacefully in their sleep, essentially without experiencing any infirmity. Now how does that sound?!
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