Aging cells that refuse to die are being referred to was zombie cells and according to studies may be what’s causing our aging as well as contributing to some diseases like osteoporosis and Alzheimers!
Scientists and researchers actually call zombie cells by their scientific name, senescent cells.Senescent cells actually are normal cells that have had damage done to their DNA or have had a viral infection because of some sort of stress which harms the normal cell.
The cell can either die or or become zombie like entering into a suspended animation but the problem is that it produces chemicals that can then in turn harm normal cells around it.
Studies done on mice have shown that zombie cells affect diabetes, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, enlargement of the heart, osteoporosis, clogged arteries, kidney problems and even age-related loss of muscle. Most of all, the studies are showing a direct correlation of zombie cells to aging in the mice.
Some drug companies have done research producing drugs that were given to aging mice and they improved in their grip strength, walking speed and endurance and when the drug was given to very old mice equivalent in age to humans 75 to 90 years old they improved by 36 percent.
Dr. James Kirkland, who is a geriatrics specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and his colleagues published the very first study of zombie cell treatment in humans. The treatment was on 14 patients who had a fatal disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs which scars the lungs and the risk increases with age with a lot of evidence of zombie cells.
In early experiments, after three weeks with the drugs, there was some improvement particularly in walking speed but not necessarily in other areas.
But researchers are encouraged from the overall results.
Even though zombie cell studies is relatively young, there are currently over a dozen companies which are looking into or have launched efforts to do treatments or produce drugs to alienate them.
Some drugs are sold as supplements but Kirkland and his colleagues in the field warn agains self-prescribing them nor should even physicians prescribe them because more research has to be done.
One of Kirkland’s colleagues, Laura Niedernhofer, who is with the University of Minnesota, says, “the best drugs may be yet to come. The goal is not to prevent stressed cells from turning into zombies, because they may become cancerous.” But, Niedernhofersays, “Instead the aim is to trigger death of cells which have already transformed, or to limit the harm they do.”