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WHY DOES BIOLOGICAL AGEING OCCUR?

Maria Rutkowska

Why do we age? Biological ageing is when your cells start to decline with their abilities to provide the best for your body – your body becomes weaker. In my opinion there are 3 main factors that link to why biological ageing occurs. For instance, the UV light produced through sun rays, has an impact on our skin. It can be one of the reasons for premature, biological ageing. As well as, how many hours of sleep or physical exercise you get depend on your ageing process. All of these cause changes in your DNA, linking to biological ageing. In this essay, I will be discussing why biological ageing occurs and what are its factors behind it.

Sunscreen; something we apply to prevent getting burned. The white cast left on our skin can help prevent precipitous ageing. One of the first reasons why the Homo Sapien specie gains age, is because they do not protect themselves from the UV light rays. Research from the University of Exter explains that “sunburn is a major cause of premature aging in skin, and a primary risk factor for skin cancer, and other skin problems associated with aging.” A recent study, done by specialists from the organization of Yale Medicine, stated that “Dermatologists refer to it as (...) photodamage (...) or sun damage. It happens when ultraviolet (UV) light hits skin unprotected by sunscreen, causing DNA changes at a cellular level.” The melanin-assisted process creates lesions known as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in DNA, which can lead to mutations that cause melanoma, a type of skin cancer (Davenport, 2015). A lesion is an uncommon change in the skin tissue; in this case due to sun exposure. The sun rays (UV light) stimulate enzymes that make superoxide and nitric oxide. These later react with a variation of molecules and compounds, such as peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts to form unstable compounds. Those compounds, are later able to use their energy into demolishing and damaging DNA. Kathleen Suozzi, MD from Yale Medicine Dermatology evaluated, that her patients “... feel like their skin aged them, that they appear older than some of their peers, and they’re regretful of not being better with sun protection in their youth.”Therefore, to summarise, in my opinion sun exposure can link to impulsive, rapid biological ageing, linked to changes in the DNA due to the ultraviolent light.

Meanwhile, another reason for biological ageing is sleep deprivation in older adults. According to research done by the American Academy of Sleep medicine, the lead author Judith Carroll, PhD, states that “Our data support the hypothesis that one night of not getting enough sleep in older adults activates important biological pathways that promote biological aging.” Earlier the study evaluated on the conclusions, “Results show that one night of partial sleep deprivation activates gene expression patterns in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) consistent with increasing accumulation of damage that initiates cell cycle arrest and increases susceptibility to senescence.” This links to biological ageing because sleep deprivation can increase the probability of diseases risk, since it “promotes molecular processes involved in biological aging,” as stated in the research done by American Academy of Sleep medicine in 2018. A research done by UCLA researchers “ ...discovered that just a single night of insufficient sleep can make an older adults’ cells age quicker...it has the potential to bring on a lot of other diseases. Multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancerare just a few of them.” This links back to the point that sleep deprivation impacts older adults, since it changes the DNA and causes cells to age quicker. This means that, the amount of sleep impacts how quickly you age.

The last factor that is valid into identifying what actually impacts biological ageing is physical exercise. According to an article titled “What Really Happens to Your Body When You Don't Exercise”, it states that “As you age(...)fatty deposits build up against artery walls...the heart has to work harder...This can lead to high blood pressure...and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)...Taking care of your body with the right types of fuel will help you keep your heart healthy and strong. You can take care of your heart by exercising and eating heart-healthy foods.” This evidence shows that physical exercise has an impact on how well your heart works, which helps circulate blood around the body. This is one of the important factors that impacts biological ageing.

Biological ageing has three main factors, to why it occurs. The changes in the DNA can cause premature ageing. Factors such as how many hours of physical exercise you get make a change on the likelihood of developing obesity; that can encourage heart disease risks. When unprotected skin is hit by UV light rays, it causes changes to the DNA, that relate to biological ageing. It is important to take care of your body, exercise on a regular basis, apply sun protection and have a reasonable sleep schedule, to avoid sleep depravation.

References:
photo: https://theiss.care/how-old-are-you-really/
University, E. (2021, August 5). New drug molecules could prevent skin aging caused by sun exposure. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210805141141.htm. Yale, M. (2020, October 30). Photoaging (Sun Damage). Yale Medicine.

https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/sun-damage.
Davenport, M. (2015, February 24). Sun damages DNA in skin Cells long after exposure. Scientific American.

American Academy of Sleep medicine (2018, March 9). Partial sleep deprivation linked to biological aging in older adults. American Academy of Sleep Medicine -Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. https://aasm.org/partial-sleep-deprivation-linked-to-biological-aging-in-older- adults/.
AASM - American Academy of Sleep medicine (2021, April 29). How sleep deprivation ages you quicker. Sleep Education. https://sleepeducation.org/how-sleep-deprivation-ages-you-quicker/.
Ingraham, C. (2019, October 30). Analysis | actually, you do have enough time to exercise, and here's the data to prove it. The Washington Post.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sun-damages-dna-in-skin-cells-long-after-exposure/.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/30/actually-you-do-have-enough-time-exercise-heres-data-prove-it/.
(Ingraham, 2019)
CDC (2019, September 25). Lack of physical activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ghezelbash , P. (2020, March 24). What happens to your body when you don't exercise? LIVESTRONG.COM.
https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/physical-activity.htm#:~:text=Not%20getting%20enough%20physical%20activity%20can%20lead%20to%20heart%20disease,cholesterol%2C%20and%20type%202%20diabetes.
https://www.livestrong.com/article/377725-what-happens-to-your-body-