free radicals do not cause ageing.

Chris Driver drierac at deakin.edu.au
Mon Jan 23 13:02:54 EST 1995

The comments I have seen so far in response to this relate to or may relate to 
free radicals and pathology. There is fairly good evidence that free radicals 
are involved in reperfusion damage. I would also accept the suggestion that 
free radicals may have a role in atherosclerosis and inflammation processes. 
None of these are ageing.

The free radical theory has been around for nearly five decades now. Time 
enough for workers to tie it down and develop commercial anti-oxidants which 
will substantially extend human lifespan. This has not happened.

To qualify as an ageing process, you need to meet Strehler's criteria: the 
processes should be universal (effect every member of the species), 
progressive, irreversible and deleterious.

We can now add that free radical scavengers should reduce the rate of 
physiological declines and onset of age assocaited pathologies. There may be 
some data relating to atherosclerosis by now. To my knowledge there is no 
other data set that answers this criteria. In fact in the case of Alzheimers, 
it is clear that free radical trappers are worthless.

Back to your court.

Chris Driver


Chris Driver, Ph D
School of Biology and Chemistry, Rusden Campus
Deakin University
662 Blackburn Rd
Clayton, VIC, 3168

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