The Science of Senescence
Yesterday, Lisa and I had the good fortune of attending a lecture at the Buck Institute in Novato, CA.
I have attended several lectures at the Buck and the location, people in attendance and lecture topics are informative and inspiring. If you ever get a chance to attend an event, if if you are unsure of the topic- I highly recommend you go.
Yesterday was an excellent example of the kind of inspirational science the Buck is pioneering. Dr. Judy Campisi (Buck Professor and Member of the National Academy of Sciences) spoke on the topic of inflammation and aging.
During the course of the lecture, Dr. Campisi explained that senescent cells release chemicals that assist or stop normal cellular functions. In some cases, such as wound healing, senescent cells are extremely important. In most cases, senescent cells cause destructive processes to unfold within cellular interactions that trigger disease processes (such as forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis). With respect to Parkinson’s Disease, senescent cells have been studied to be responsible for disabling astrocytes (the cells that help maintain neuron cell health).
The good news is that Dr. Campisi and her colleagues are working to create systemic medications to help influence and selectively target destructive senescent cell activity. These medications will help address all of the above mentioned age related inflammatory issues.
In the mean time, Dr. Campisi was extremely clear about the one step to take right now to ensure better aging outcomes and reduce unhealthy senescent activity: exercise!
So, whether you roll out your yoga mat, head out for a hike or get to the gym make sure you are getting exercise in today. If you are living with Parkinson’s Disease, please make sure that your exercise is at a high level of intensity (while safe) and you are working with a high amplitude of movement.