Monthly Archives: March 2011

Welcome to Michael Rose’s 55 Theses – A New Context for Health

Introduction Welcome to Michael Rose’s 55, an overarching context that will enable you to use nature’s rules to make sense of your health and take action to make your life much better. You will do this by changing how you … Continue reading

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The Scientific Challenge

Biology is in a state of transformation.  Much like the re-foundings of biology that took place after 1800, 1859, 1900 and 1952, the first decade of the 21st Century has seen a major upheaval in biology.  The four previous revolutionary episodes … Continue reading

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Thesis #1

Thesis #1 The biological fitness of a population is the average net reproduction of its members, which in turn is determined by their capacity to survive and reproduce; biological fitness is at the core of health. The starting point of … Continue reading

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Thesis # 2

Thesis #2 – Natural selection reliably produces high levels of biological fitness, and thus good health, only under the environmental conditions in which it has been acting for many generations. A common caricature of evolution by natural selection is that … Continue reading

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Thesis # 3

Thesis #3. Health and adaptation thus reflect the action of natural selection on a population in its previous environments, not its present environment, when these differ. For the purpose of re-founding medicine scientifically, theses 2 and 3 direct us to … Continue reading

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Thesis #4

Thesis #4 Natural selection results in the evolution of good health only when there is sufficient heritable variation affecting survival and reproduction. Natural selection accomplishes nothing without an adequate and appropriate supply of genetic variation on which to act.  That … Continue reading

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Thesis #5

Thesis #5  Natural selection produces good health only when population size is large enough to overcome genetic drift; inbreeding reliably impairs health in outbreeding species. Many members of the human species have a great propensity to mate with other humans.  … Continue reading

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Thesis #6

Thesis #6 Natural selection produces good health only when new deleterious mutations are rare or small in magnitude; very few novel mutations will have large and generally beneficial effects, in an environment to which a population is well-adapted. Mutation is … Continue reading

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Thesis #7

Thesis #7 Natural selection will sustain nucleotide sequences that foster biological fitness however numerous and however indirect their benefits, making the genetic foundations for the evolution of health genome-wide and complex. The kinds of experiments that most biologists favor involve … Continue reading

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Thesis #8

Thesis #8 This complex genomic foundation for adaptation in turn produces a still more complex network of interacting molecules that sustain survival, health, fertility, and function. Arising from the genetic complexity of healthy function is a still more complex set … Continue reading

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Thesis #9

Thesis #9 The forces of natural selection weaken with adult age in species that have distinguishable adults and no fissile reproduction. We now face the prospect of developing a 21st Century biology based on formal, mathematical, and computational tools.  It … Continue reading

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Thesis #10

Thesis #10 When the forces of natural selection weaken with adult age, declining survival and fertility evolve in adulthood, and thus produce the decline in health which is commonly called ‘aging.’ In animals like mammals and insects, the Force of … Continue reading

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Thesis 11

Thesis #11 – If the forces of natural selection are strengthened during later adulthood, improved later health will evolve if natural selection is not impeded by very small population sizes, environmental change, or an absence of heritable variation. There are … Continue reading

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Thesis 12

Thesis #12 – Aging is a pattern of declining or de-tuned adaptation that is correlated with adult age only because adult age is at first strongly correlated with declining forces of natural selection. We have all seen sunrise and sunset.  … Continue reading

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Thesis 13

Thesis #13 – The declining forces of natural selection lead to an evolutionary failure to establish the genomic information required for tuning the complex networks of life well enough to provide a high level of health indefinitely; there is no … Continue reading

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Thesis 14

Thesis # 14 - Aging hypotheses based solely on supposed universal imperfections of molecular, cell, or organismal physiology are wholly falsified by the existence of biological species that do not exhibit falling average rates of survival and reproduction among large cohorts … Continue reading

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Thesis 15

Thesis # 15 - Aging evolves because of the previously adduced evolutionary genetic limitations to the forces of natural selection, which are affected by physiology, but aging is nonetheless not a merely physiological process.  Do the last five theses imply that … Continue reading

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Thesis 16

Thesis #16 - Among the most important physiological constraints on the action of natural selection are trade-offs between the biological functions underlying age-specific rates of survival and reproduction. One of the most important features of physiology that affects the evolution of … Continue reading

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Thesis 17

Thesis #17 - When such trade-offs arise from antagonistic pleiotropic effects of genetic variants, they sometimes maintain genetic variation for functional characters, and thus selectable genetic variation for patterns of aging. There are two kinds of trade-off which are important to … Continue reading

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Thesis 18

Thesis #18 - When such trade-offs can be physiologically tuned within the lives of individual organisms, natural selection may act to produce physiological machinery that provides plasticity which enhances average fitness. One of the basic features of natural selection is its … Continue reading

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Thesis 19

Thesis #19 - Such adaptive life-history plasticity will sometimes produce detectable trade-offs between survival and reproduction in the range of environmental conditions that prevailed when natural selection established such life-history plasticity. It is a general, though not universal, rule that, if … Continue reading

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Thesis 20

Thesis #20 – A single pharmaceutical or nutritional substance will never cure aging, for aging is not a simple physiological disease or dysfunction, but the de-tuning of adaptation with adult age. The quest for a substance that might arrest aging, … Continue reading

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Thesis 21

Thesis #21 – Multiple pharmaceutical substances or nutritional supplements will only ameliorate aging to the extent that they achieve genome-wide tuning similar to that which natural selection achieves when its forces are strengthened at later ages. So how best to … Continue reading

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Thesis 22

Thesis #22 – Repairing molecular or cellular damage will provide at most partial amelioration for the problem of de-tuned adaptation with adult age, because cumulative damage will also occur at organ and systemic levels at every physiological level as a … Continue reading

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Thesis 23

Thesis #23 – Repairing all types of cumulative damage during the aging phase will provide at most partial amelioration for the problem of declining adaptation with age, because some of this decline will be due to failures of signaling and other features … Continue reading

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Thesis 24

Thesis #24 – Altering all cell-molecular regulatory signaling during the aging phase will provide at most partial amelioration for the problem of declining adaptation, because dysfunctional signaling will also arise at organ and systemic levels as a result of the … Continue reading

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Thesis 25

Thesis #25 – Repairing all forms of cumulative damage and altering all types of regulatory signaling during the aging phase will also fail to fully alleviate aging, because some features of aging will arise from the absence of structural gene-products … Continue reading

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Thesis 26

Thesis #26 – The forces of natural selection can be strengthened during adulthood by postponing the first age at which they begin to decline, which can be achieved for the force of natural selection acting on age-specific mortality by postponing … Continue reading

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Thesis 27

Thesis #27 – Among populations which have had their forces of natural selection strengthened experimentally, detectable improvements in adult survival and reproduction have been observably achieved within dozens of generations. So there I am, in 1977, realizing that all evolution … Continue reading

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Thesis 28

Thesis #28 – Among such experimental populations evolving greater levels of adaptation at later adult ages, evolutionary changes in (a) structural gene frequency, (b) gene regulation, (c) patterns of cumulative damage, and (d) still other features of physiological function will … Continue reading

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