The Aging Process and the Current Financial Mess

I just could not resist posting this latest tidbit about the aging process:

Like our current financial crisis, the aging process might also be a product excessive deregulation.

Nearly a decade ago, Sinclair and colleagues in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab of Leonard Guarente found that a particular sirtuin in yeast affected the aging process in two specific ways—it helped regulate gene activity in cells and repair breaks in DNA. As DNA damage accumulated over time, however, the sirtuin became too distracted to properly regulate gene activity, and as a result, characteristics of aging set in.

“Too distracted” is clearly too anthropomorphic a phrase, but in a curious way, it fits the present crisis. But wait.

The researchers have added an “enlightening” twist to the idea of “distraction”:

The problem for the cell, however, is that the sirtuin has another important job. When DNA is damaged by UV light or free radicals, sirtuins act as volunteer emergency responders. They leave their genomic guardian posts and aid the DNA repair mechanism at the site of damage.

“Distraction” is now operationally defined.

The marvelous genetic aging metaphor is ready for completion. All we have to do is to define what is presently keeping the overseers of our economic system from paying attention to the real problem.

Once we thought of the world in mechanical terms; now the world of genetics is opening a new way of looking at the world.