newprotest.org: LIFE AND DEATH

LIFE AND DEATH

May 03, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
I do what I can to be healthy. Specifically, I try to pay attention to what I eat, on account of longevity being associated with low-calorie and high nutrition diets, because being alive is a bit healthier than being dead.

From the article:

The life-lengthening properties of reducing calorie intake were first discovered in the 1930s, when laboratory rodents fed a severely reduced diet were found to outlive their well-fed peers.

Since then, this effect has been observed on organisms as diverse as yeast, flies, worms and dogs.

The consequences for humans of cutting calorie intake by about 60% while maintaining levels of vital nutrients are still unclear, although this extreme diet has a number of followers.


Additionally, I try to avoid too many sweets, too much meat, and I try to stick with organic versions of whatever I buy for food.

It turns out that adding sunshine to my daily intake of nutrition is also a good idea. Getting sunshine isn't always easy to do in western Washington, but the levels of vitamin D produced by even 15 minutes of daily exposure to the sun apparently has a tremendous impact on the risk of many ailments:

What's more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.

Sounds like a good enough reason to me.

Of course, if I am about to die, science may have found a way to keep me alive just a bit longer. Contrary to the long-held belief that death is officially caused by lack of oxygen, it looks like the rapid re-introduction of oxygen is what causes the body to shut down.

Biologists are still grappling with the implications of this new view of cell death—not passive extinguishment, like a candle flickering out when you cover it with a glass, but an active biochemical event triggered by "reperfusion," the resumption of oxygen supply. The research takes them deep into the machinery of the cell, to the tiny membrane-enclosed structures known as mitochondria where cellular fuel is oxidized to provide energy. Mitochondria control the process known as apoptosis, the programmed death of abnormal cells that is the body's primary defense against cancer. "It looks to us," says Becker, "as if the cellular surveillance mechanism cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a cell being reperfused with oxygen. Something throws the switch that makes the cell die."

If doctors can slow the body's reaction time down and slowly bring oxygen back into the body, they'll have a greater chance of success at bringing people back from the other side.
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