Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 29 June 2005
Vol. 2005, Issue 26, p. nf49
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2005.26.nf49]


How Can We Use Moderate Stresses to Fortify Humans and Slow Aging?

Science's 125th anniversary special issue

Mitch Leslie

Abstract: Toss out the Prozac. Shelve that DVD of relaxation techniques. Give the yoga mat to the dog. The secret to a long, healthy life lies not in cultivating inner peace but in embracing stress. That's the lesson some researchers draw from more than a century of work on the counterintuitive phenomenon called hormesis, in which moderate doses of radiation, noxious compounds, and other hazards prove beneficial rather than harmful. Hormesis intrigues gerontologists because lab organisms often survive longer after exposure to stress, and researchers are eager to learn whether they can harness this response to strengthen our bodies as we age. But before patients start lining up for a salubrious blast of radiation or an invigorating injection of poison, scientists need to address a slew of issues, from what stresses are most effective to how to make treatments palatable to a discomfort-averse population. Most important, researchers need to tackle the biggest question of all: Will hormesis work in humans?

Citation: M. Leslie, How Can We Use Moderate Stresses to Fortify Humans and Slow Aging? Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2005 (26), nf49 (2005).

Read the Full Text

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150