BACKGROUND: Menopause is described as the transition from the reproductive phase of a women to the non reproductive. Changes in hormone levels might lead to complaints and health consequences especially during peri- and postmenopause. Hormone therapy has a potential damaging health risk profile and is recommended for temporal limited therapy for acute vasomotor symptoms only.
In 2000, it was suggested to me that "Autophagy will be the wave of the future; it will become the new apoptosis." Few people would have agreed at the time, but this statement turned out to be prophetic, and this process of 'self-eating' rapidly exploded as a research field, as scientists discovered connections to cancer, neurodegeneration and even lifespan extension. Amazingly, the molecular breakthroughs in autophagy have taken place during only the past decade.
Autophagy is a highly regulated intracellular process involved in the turnover of most cellular constituents and in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. It is well-established that the basal autophagic activity of living cells decreases with age, thus contributing to the accumulation of damaged macromolecules during aging. Conversely, the activity of this catabolic pathway is required for lifespan extension in animal models such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster.
Life expectancy has dramatically increased in industrialized countries since the 1900s due to advances in disease prevention and treatment, and improvements in nutrition and infant mortality. Thus, as a society we are living longer and experiencing more of the changes and declines associated with aging. Although the factors that cause our bodies to age are unknown, various medical interventions have been proposed and explored to prevent the process. Published research on aging conducted during the past 10 years was retrieved through MEDLINE and critically evaluated.
Based on ideal conditions technical life span of human kind is approximately 110-120 years. Although number of studies including calorie restriction and antiparkinsonism drug (deprenyl) have indicated increased life span in animals, it is premature to expect them to increase life span in man. However, current studies like activation of immune system with DHEA in man and anticipation of antioxidant therapy contributing to increased life span are encouraging. Practice of meditation particularly TM and balanced diet might be contributory.
The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Calorie-restricted feeding retards the rate of ageing in mammalian and invertebrate species. The molecular mechanisms underlying this effect include a lower rate of accrual of tissue oxidative damage that is associated with a significantly lower rate of mitochondrial free radical generation in rodent species. To identify the important sites of control and regulation for mitochondrial free radical generation during ageing and calorie-restricted feeding, metabolic control analysis is being applied to the study of mitochondrial bioenergetics.
It is clear that aging results in alterations of endocrine physiology, which in turn appear to contribute to development of the senescent phenotype. How the underlying basic aging process or processes cause the endocrine cell dysfunctions leading to hormone imbalance is far from clear, but oxidative alteration of cell membranes is an attractive candidate mechanism that might be susceptible to some degree of global remediation.