[From Mike Acree (2001.08.07.1120 PDT)]
This message is partly by way of calling attention to my new e-dress, in case anyone wants to contact me directly. (I remarked to a friend that one of the things I would miss about moving from the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies to the Osher Center for Integrative ["alternative and complementary"] Medicine was the excuse to spend all my time talking about sex and drugs. He replied: "You mean you don't think of sex and drugs as alternative and complementary medicine?")
It would seem natural to expect, on the basis of PCT, that aging might result from the breakdown of various control systems. The neuroendocrine theory of aging, propounded by Vladimir Dilman and Ward Dean and presented in an ongoing series in "Vitamin Research News" (vrp.com), proposes just such a mechanism. The current (August) issue has the following summary: The theory proposes that "the aging process and diseases of aging are due to a loss of hypothalamic and peripheral receptor sensitivity to negative feedback over time, resulting in a shifting of homeostasis and loss of metabolic control. This results in the development of the metabolic pattern of aging, characterized, in part, by the development of insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia, and an overactive and prolonged stress response causing chronically elevated levels of cortisol. . . . One consequence of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia is the formation of advanced glycosylation end products!
(AGEs)--due to reactions of glucose and oxygen with proteins in the body. These AGEs cause inter- and intra-molecular cross-linking, believed to be a major cause of several diseases of aging, including cataracts, diabetes and atherosclerosis."
N.B.1: I hope it goes without saying that I am not accusing these authors of understanding PCT; but there is a fair amount of research in support of the theory, which may approach the problem of aging somewhat as PCT might. The various articles reference the standard medical literature.
N.B.2: "Vitamin Research News" sells products to try to slow or reverse this process (e.g., by restoring insulin sensitivity or inhibiting the formation of AGEs). But I'm sure you can resist their blandishments if you want to.
P.S.: Thanks to Bill for posting that splendid demo, and to Bruce Nevin for the debugging for NT.