A groundbreaking theory about why we age has emerged, shedding new light on the mysteries of growing old. Published in the journal Aging on September 15, 2023, this theory has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of aging. Scientists from Newcastle University, James Wordsworth and Daryl Shanley, have introduced the Selective Destruction Theory (SDT), offering fresh insights into why our bodies age over time.

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For decades, scientists have puzzled over the reasons behind aging. One prevailing theory, proposed by Thomas Kirkwood in 1977, suggested that organisms might age to divert resources from somatic maintenance to reproduction, gaining a fitness advantage. This idea dominated aging studies. Yet, aging is much more complex. Mutations that increase damage accumulation sometimes lead to longer lifespans. Surprisingly, recent findings showed that we can regain youthfulness without great energy costs. These contradictions called for a new perspective.

The New Theory

Wordsworth and Shanley’s SDT, a theory independent of accumulating damage, proposes a mechanism for aging consistent with epigenetic rejuvenation. Their research involved agent-based modeling, a computer simulation technique. The crux of SDT lies in how slow cells induce changes in faster cells’ epigenetics, slowing their metabolism instead of killing them. This process, while currently theoretical, appears to reduce unnecessary cell death and may be the key to understanding why our bodies age.

Mechanism of Selective Destruction

Imagine your body as a bustling city of cells. In this city, some cells work slower than others, and these “slow” cells can influence their “fast” counterparts. Instead of killing fast cells, the slow cells trigger changes in their genes, making them work at a slower pace. This clever slowdown tactic not only prevents unnecessary cell deaths but also contributes to longevity and youthful vitality. It’s like a cooperative effort within our bodies to keep us healthy and young.


The Selective Destruction Theory could shake up the field of gerontology, which studies aging. If proven true, this theory may lead to groundbreaking interventions and treatments to slow down aging processes. Think of it as a potential fountain of youth. Scientists will need to conduct further research to confirm and refine SDT. Nevertheless, the prospect of living healthier and longer lives is exciting and could change the way we view aging.

Future Research

As the scientific community delves deeper into the Selective Destruction Theory, exciting prospects await. Researchers worldwide will be working to validate and expand upon this groundbreaking concept. Future studies may uncover the precise mechanisms by which slow cells influence their faster counterparts and explore potential applications for extending human health and longevity. The journey to unlocking the secrets of aging has just begun, and the Selective Destruction Theory has opened an intriguing new chapter in our quest to understand and potentially control the aging process.

In summary, the Selective Destruction Theory, developed by researchers James Wordsworth and Daryl Shanley from Newcastle University, offers a fresh perspective on why we age. Released on September 15, 2023, their theory challenges existing ideas by suggesting a unique mechanism for aging—one that doesn’t rely on accumulating damage but on cooperative cell interactions. While this theory is still in its early stages, it holds the promise of changing the way we age, potentially leading to longer, healthier lives. Stay tuned for more exciting discoveries in the world of aging research.

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