full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Monica Menesini: Why do our bodies age?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

In 1997, a French woman nemad Jeanne Calment passed away after 122 years and 164 days on this Earth, making her the oldest known person in history. Her age was so astounding that a millionaire pledged $1 million to anyone who could break her roercd. But in reality, living to this age or beyond is a feat that very few, maybe even no humans, are likely to accomplish. Human bodies just aren't bulit for extreme aging. Our capacity is set at about 90 years. But what does aging really mean and how does it counteract the body's etforfs to stay alive? We know intuitively what it means to age. For some, it means growing up, while for others, it's gnoirwg old. Yet finding a strict scientific dniioefitn of aging is a clegnhlae. What we can say is that aging occurs when intrinsic poeescsrs and interactions with the environment, like sunlight, and toxins in the air, water, and our diets, cause changes in the structure and function of the body's molecules and cells. Those changes in turn drive their decline, and subsequently, the failure of the whole osgarnim. The exact mechanisms of aging are poorly understood. But recently, scientists have identified nine physiological traits, ranging from genetic changes to artiltenaos in a cell's regenerative ability that play a central role. Firstly, as the years pass, our boeids accumulate genetic damage in the form of DNA lesions. These ocucr naturally when the body's DNA replicates, but also in non-dividing cells. Organelles called mitochondria are especially prone to this dgaame. Mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the main energy source for all cellular processes, plus mitochondria regulate many different cell activities and play an important role in programmed cell death. If mortdcihional function declines, then cells and, later on, whole organs, dtrieetraoe, too. Other changes are known to occur in the expression patterns of genes, also known as epigenetic alterations, that affect the body's tssieus and cells. Genes silenced or expressed only at low levels in neowrnbs become peoinrmnt in odelr people, leading to the development of degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, which accelerate aging. Even if we could avoid all these harmful genetic alterations, not even our own cells could save us. The fact remains that cellular renatregoein, the very stuff of life, declines as we age. The DNA in our cells is packaged within cohrseommos, each of which has two protective regions at the extremities called torlmeees. Those shorten every time clels replicate. When telomeres become too short, cells stop rpiiacntleg and die, sinlowg the body's abltiiy to renew itself. With age, cells increasingly grow senescent, too, a process that hatls the cell cycle in times of risk, like when cancer cells are proliferating. But the response also kicks in more as we age, halting cell growth and cutting shrot their ability to replicate. aingg also involves stem cells that reside in many tissues and have the property of dniivdig without ltiims to replenish other cells. As we get older, stem cells decrease in number and tend to lose their regenerative potential, affecting tissue rneawel and maintenance of our organs original functions. Other changes revolve around cells' ability to function properly. As they age, they stop being able to do qiatluy control on proteins, causing the accumulation of dgmaaed and potentially toxic nutrients, leading to excessive metabolic activity that could be fatal for them. Intercellular communication also swols, ultimately undermining the body's functional ability. There's a lot we don't yet understand about aging. Ultimately, does longer life as we know it come down to diet, eisecrxe, miendcie, or something else? Will future technologies, like cell-repairing nanobots, or gene tahprey, artificially extend our years? And do we want to live longer than we already do? Starting with 122 yaers as itpanoisrin, there's no telling where our coituirsy might take us.

Open Cloze

In 1997, a French woman _____ Jeanne Calment passed away after 122 years and 164 days on this Earth, making her the oldest known person in history. Her age was so astounding that a millionaire pledged $1 million to anyone who could break her ______. But in reality, living to this age or beyond is a feat that very few, maybe even no humans, are likely to accomplish. Human bodies just aren't _____ for extreme aging. Our capacity is set at about 90 years. But what does aging really mean and how does it counteract the body's _______ to stay alive? We know intuitively what it means to age. For some, it means growing up, while for others, it's _______ old. Yet finding a strict scientific __________ of aging is a _________. What we can say is that aging occurs when intrinsic _________ and interactions with the environment, like sunlight, and toxins in the air, water, and our diets, cause changes in the structure and function of the body's molecules and cells. Those changes in turn drive their decline, and subsequently, the failure of the whole ________. The exact mechanisms of aging are poorly understood. But recently, scientists have identified nine physiological traits, ranging from genetic changes to ___________ in a cell's regenerative ability that play a central role. Firstly, as the years pass, our ______ accumulate genetic damage in the form of DNA lesions. These _____ naturally when the body's DNA replicates, but also in non-dividing cells. Organelles called mitochondria are especially prone to this ______. Mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the main energy source for all cellular processes, plus mitochondria regulate many different cell activities and play an important role in programmed cell death. If _____________ function declines, then cells and, later on, whole organs, ___________, too. Other changes are known to occur in the expression patterns of genes, also known as epigenetic alterations, that affect the body's _______ and cells. Genes silenced or expressed only at low levels in ________ become _________ in _____ people, leading to the development of degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, which accelerate aging. Even if we could avoid all these harmful genetic alterations, not even our own cells could save us. The fact remains that cellular ____________, the very stuff of life, declines as we age. The DNA in our cells is packaged within ___________, each of which has two protective regions at the extremities called _________. Those shorten every time _____ replicate. When telomeres become too short, cells stop ___________ and die, _______ the body's _______ to renew itself. With age, cells increasingly grow senescent, too, a process that _____ the cell cycle in times of risk, like when cancer cells are proliferating. But the response also kicks in more as we age, halting cell growth and cutting _____ their ability to replicate. _____ also involves stem cells that reside in many tissues and have the property of ________ without ______ to replenish other cells. As we get older, stem cells decrease in number and tend to lose their regenerative potential, affecting tissue _______ and maintenance of our organs original functions. Other changes revolve around cells' ability to function properly. As they age, they stop being able to do _______ control on proteins, causing the accumulation of _______ and potentially toxic nutrients, leading to excessive metabolic activity that could be fatal for them. Intercellular communication also _____, ultimately undermining the body's functional ability. There's a lot we don't yet understand about aging. Ultimately, does longer life as we know it come down to diet, ________, ________, or something else? Will future technologies, like cell-repairing nanobots, or gene _______, artificially extend our years? And do we want to live longer than we already do? Starting with 122 _____ as ___________, there's no telling where our _________ might take us.

Solution

  1. therapy
  2. efforts
  3. inspiration
  4. alterations
  5. newborns
  6. prominent
  7. chromosomes
  8. ability
  9. deteriorate
  10. slows
  11. definition
  12. cells
  13. growing
  14. regeneration
  15. tissues
  16. replicating
  17. occur
  18. years
  19. bodies
  20. dividing
  21. damaged
  22. telomeres
  23. built
  24. record
  25. short
  26. damage
  27. halts
  28. quality
  29. slowing
  30. medicine
  31. renewal
  32. organism
  33. named
  34. curiosity
  35. challenge
  36. older
  37. exercise
  38. processes
  39. mitochondrial
  40. aging
  41. limits

Original Text

In 1997, a French woman named Jeanne Calment passed away after 122 years and 164 days on this Earth, making her the oldest known person in history. Her age was so astounding that a millionaire pledged $1 million to anyone who could break her record. But in reality, living to this age or beyond is a feat that very few, maybe even no humans, are likely to accomplish. Human bodies just aren't built for extreme aging. Our capacity is set at about 90 years. But what does aging really mean and how does it counteract the body's efforts to stay alive? We know intuitively what it means to age. For some, it means growing up, while for others, it's growing old. Yet finding a strict scientific definition of aging is a challenge. What we can say is that aging occurs when intrinsic processes and interactions with the environment, like sunlight, and toxins in the air, water, and our diets, cause changes in the structure and function of the body's molecules and cells. Those changes in turn drive their decline, and subsequently, the failure of the whole organism. The exact mechanisms of aging are poorly understood. But recently, scientists have identified nine physiological traits, ranging from genetic changes to alterations in a cell's regenerative ability that play a central role. Firstly, as the years pass, our bodies accumulate genetic damage in the form of DNA lesions. These occur naturally when the body's DNA replicates, but also in non-dividing cells. Organelles called mitochondria are especially prone to this damage. Mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the main energy source for all cellular processes, plus mitochondria regulate many different cell activities and play an important role in programmed cell death. If mitochondrial function declines, then cells and, later on, whole organs, deteriorate, too. Other changes are known to occur in the expression patterns of genes, also known as epigenetic alterations, that affect the body's tissues and cells. Genes silenced or expressed only at low levels in newborns become prominent in older people, leading to the development of degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, which accelerate aging. Even if we could avoid all these harmful genetic alterations, not even our own cells could save us. The fact remains that cellular regeneration, the very stuff of life, declines as we age. The DNA in our cells is packaged within chromosomes, each of which has two protective regions at the extremities called telomeres. Those shorten every time cells replicate. When telomeres become too short, cells stop replicating and die, slowing the body's ability to renew itself. With age, cells increasingly grow senescent, too, a process that halts the cell cycle in times of risk, like when cancer cells are proliferating. But the response also kicks in more as we age, halting cell growth and cutting short their ability to replicate. Aging also involves stem cells that reside in many tissues and have the property of dividing without limits to replenish other cells. As we get older, stem cells decrease in number and tend to lose their regenerative potential, affecting tissue renewal and maintenance of our organs original functions. Other changes revolve around cells' ability to function properly. As they age, they stop being able to do quality control on proteins, causing the accumulation of damaged and potentially toxic nutrients, leading to excessive metabolic activity that could be fatal for them. Intercellular communication also slows, ultimately undermining the body's functional ability. There's a lot we don't yet understand about aging. Ultimately, does longer life as we know it come down to diet, exercise, medicine, or something else? Will future technologies, like cell-repairing nanobots, or gene therapy, artificially extend our years? And do we want to live longer than we already do? Starting with 122 years as inspiration, there's no telling where our curiosity might take us.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
stem cells 2

Important Words

  1. ability
  2. accelerate
  3. accomplish
  4. accumulate
  5. accumulation
  6. activities
  7. activity
  8. adenosine
  9. affect
  10. affecting
  11. age
  12. aging
  13. air
  14. alive
  15. alterations
  16. artificially
  17. astounding
  18. atp
  19. avoid
  20. bodies
  21. break
  22. built
  23. called
  24. calment
  25. cancer
  26. capacity
  27. causing
  28. cell
  29. cells
  30. cellular
  31. central
  32. challenge
  33. chromosomes
  34. communication
  35. control
  36. counteract
  37. curiosity
  38. cutting
  39. cycle
  40. damage
  41. damaged
  42. days
  43. death
  44. decline
  45. declines
  46. decrease
  47. definition
  48. degenerative
  49. deteriorate
  50. development
  51. die
  52. diet
  53. diets
  54. diseases
  55. dividing
  56. dna
  57. drive
  58. earth
  59. efforts
  60. energy
  61. environment
  62. epigenetic
  63. exact
  64. excessive
  65. exercise
  66. expressed
  67. expression
  68. extend
  69. extreme
  70. extremities
  71. fact
  72. failure
  73. fatal
  74. feat
  75. finding
  76. firstly
  77. form
  78. french
  79. function
  80. functional
  81. functions
  82. future
  83. gene
  84. genes
  85. genetic
  86. grow
  87. growing
  88. growth
  89. halting
  90. halts
  91. harmful
  92. history
  93. human
  94. humans
  95. identified
  96. important
  97. increasingly
  98. inspiration
  99. interactions
  100. intercellular
  101. intrinsic
  102. intuitively
  103. involves
  104. jeanne
  105. kicks
  106. leading
  107. lesions
  108. levels
  109. life
  110. limits
  111. live
  112. living
  113. longer
  114. lose
  115. lot
  116. main
  117. maintenance
  118. making
  119. means
  120. mechanisms
  121. medicine
  122. metabolic
  123. million
  124. millionaire
  125. mitochondria
  126. mitochondrial
  127. molecules
  128. named
  129. nanobots
  130. naturally
  131. newborns
  132. number
  133. nutrients
  134. occur
  135. occurs
  136. older
  137. oldest
  138. organelles
  139. organism
  140. organs
  141. original
  142. packaged
  143. pass
  144. passed
  145. patterns
  146. people
  147. person
  148. physiological
  149. play
  150. pledged
  151. poorly
  152. potential
  153. potentially
  154. process
  155. processes
  156. produce
  157. programmed
  158. proliferating
  159. prominent
  160. prone
  161. properly
  162. property
  163. protective
  164. proteins
  165. quality
  166. ranging
  167. reality
  168. record
  169. regeneration
  170. regenerative
  171. regions
  172. regulate
  173. remains
  174. renew
  175. renewal
  176. replenish
  177. replicate
  178. replicates
  179. replicating
  180. reside
  181. response
  182. revolve
  183. risk
  184. role
  185. save
  186. scientific
  187. scientists
  188. senescent
  189. set
  190. short
  191. shorten
  192. silenced
  193. slowing
  194. slows
  195. source
  196. starting
  197. stay
  198. stem
  199. stop
  200. strict
  201. structure
  202. stuff
  203. subsequently
  204. sunlight
  205. technologies
  206. telling
  207. telomeres
  208. tend
  209. therapy
  210. time
  211. times
  212. tissue
  213. tissues
  214. toxic
  215. toxins
  216. traits
  217. triphosphate
  218. turn
  219. ultimately
  220. undermining
  221. understand
  222. understood
  223. water
  224. woman
  225. years