It is nothing short of amazing: the rapid progress of technology, science and medicine in today’s world. It seems that every day there are significant new discoveries. Just imagine, for centuries the world had believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It was not until Copernicus in 1543 proposed that the sun was the center. He was severely criticized and mocked for merely suggesting this. The world needed great minds like Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and finally Sir Isaac Newton (in 1687) to settle the argument that the center of our universe is the sun. That is almost 150 years later! The world was not able to measure the physical world back then as we can do today. Today the science and engineering world can measure very accurately the enormity of the universe down to the characteristics of subatomic quarks!
Every so often, we hear news that an asteroid is headed towards Earth and will miss us by a close 60 million miles (that is close in terms of space terms), is the size of Texas and is made of iron and carbon. Ever wonder how they know this? They certainly do not visit the asteroid to sample it. They use a technology called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. Every atom and compound in existence has a certain wavelength or color to it. All that is needed is to develop equipment to be able to measure what and how much color something has. Astronomers have been doing this for decades. With today’s computers and the ability to amass and analyze large amounts of data, we have a better understanding of our universe.
Now we are able to utilize this type of technology and point it towards the human body. Science has accumulated so much data on human structure and function down to the molecular nature. With the triumph of the Human Genome Project, one of the greatest human achievements in history, we have the blue print of what makes us human. We can now follow the development of humans from fertilization to birth, on a molecular basis. As we develop, genes are turned on and off, then back on again. It is amazingly and beautifully complex. Our genetic information is locked in something we call DNA which is divided into 23 separate chromosomes. Think of each chromosome as a string of pearls. Chromosome number 1 has about 186 million pearls to it! The functional part of the DNA, called genes, is located in the center of the string. The tips of the DNA have protective caps called telomeres. Aging is nothing more than the progressive shortening of these caps. If the shortening of the telomeres is stopped, there would be no physical aging. We can actually determine what an individual’s age really is by measuring telomere length of that individual; and science can help slow the shortening process. This is not Star Wars fantasy, but real. We at Womens Health Care of Warren suggest each person consider an assessment.