The Real Secret of Youth Is Complexity - Issue 36: Aging - Nautilus
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The process of simplification can be a sign of aging.
Our youthful health depends on complexity. Bones get strength from detailed scaffolds and connective tissue. Even the heartbeat relies on elaborate networks and controls. As our bodies age, these structures lose complexity, making them less resilient and eventually leading to frailty and disease.
A complex process involves various components interacting across multiple scales in time and space. To lift a foot requires electrical, chemical, and mechanical parts to coordinate across molecular, cellular, organ, and systemic levels.
A large and growing body of research suggests that biological complexity breaks down with aging.
Various tissues and organs and their communication pathways gradually diminish and lead to disease or disability.
We may be able to slow, or even reverse, some of the complexity loss due to aging. Adding complexity to your daily routine can have far-reaching effects.
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