Copenhagen, Denmark – Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is set to abdicate her throne, attributing her decision to recent health changes. As individuals age, even minor deterioration can lead to decline in executive brain functioning. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of President Joe Biden’s re-election bid at the age of 81, as he exhibits noticeable changes that are increasingly difficult to dismiss as harmless slip-ups. According to an Associated Press-NORC poll, about three-quarters of respondents believed that Biden is too old to effectively serve as president. Former president Donald Trump, at the age of 77, faced similar skepticism from about half of the respondents.
Epigenetics, the study of how genes are expressed, reveals that our DNA remains constant, but changes in gene expression occur over time. One notable aspect of epigenetics is the accumulation of methyl molecules (CH3) in DNA. These extra molecules act like threads in a zipper, obstructing smooth operation. They are referred to as markers of “biological age” because they indicate the fitness level of cells, tissues, and DNA.
A notable development in the field of measuring biological age is the biological age calculator developed by UCLA’s Steve Horvath. The accumulation of methyl molecules is a key factor in this calculator. More recently, an Israeli study validated the accuracy of these calculations, even when using a small blood sample.
Harvard researcher David Sinclair has conducted experiments on mice, documenting successful age reversal through strategies that target methyl accumulation. This process, called an aging reset, reportedly resulted in improved memory and eyesight in the mice. However, these claims have not been tested on human subjects, and it remains uncertain whether a similar approach would be safe for people. Additionally, it is unclear if the treated mice actually lived longer.
Researchers have been exploring safer alternatives to improve gene expression by focusing on persistent inflammation associated with aging. In a recent clinical trial, patients who used a drug that blocks inflammation had an average biological age 4.6 years younger after six months. Further studies are needed to determine if age reversal will be observed on a larger scale and if it will result in health improvements similar to those seen in Sinclair’s mice.
While resetting biological age may be a possibility in the future, it is important to acknowledge the signs of aging in ourselves and others for now. Queen Margrethe II made a wise decision to hand over her throne to the next generation, recognizing the inevitable decline in executive function. Both President Biden and his potential successors should consider the limitations of aging and its potential impact on their ability to effectively serve in their roles.
In conclusion, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is abdicating her throne due to changes in her health. Age-related deterioration can lead to diminished executive brain functioning, raising concerns about the effectiveness of President Joe Biden and other world leaders in their roles. Epigenetics and the accumulation of methyl molecules in DNA play a role in determining biological age. Scientists have made progress in measuring and potentially reversing biological age, but further research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of these methods. It is crucial for individuals and leaders to recognize the signs of aging and the potential impact on their abilities to perform effectively.