Countering COVID – A 5-part Review by Colin Rose October 2020 Part 2 Age Risk
Colin Rose, the author of this series of articles, is a Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM). He draws on recent updates from multiple sources including both the US and European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control. He researches and writes for Uni-Vite Healthcare Ltd.
In this new five-part series, the emphasis is both on how to improve your chances of a mild outcome and evidence-based ideas for prevention.
Countering COVID Part 2 – Age is not the top risk factor
Accumulated damage is the risk, not simply age in years
Age has been cited as the top risk factor for COVID-19. On paper that is true – people over 60 are many times more likely to have a bad outcome.
But that’s not because of the passing of the years. It’s because, as we get older, we accumulate damage. Damage to DNA, damage to the immune system, damage to mitochondria (the tiny ‘power plants’ in almost every cell). This damage increases vulnerability to both illness and the severity of that illness.
Repair mechanisms need to be boosted
Fortunately, the body has repair mechanisms to counteract that damage and they normally work well when you are younger. But those repair mechanisms generally begin to weaken as we get older – inflammation increases and what we call ‘age related illnesses’ begin to surface.
But they are not age related, they are damage related.
What if we could boost those repair mechanisms back up to a younger state? Then inflammation would be damped down, the onset of illness would be postponed, or even halted, and we would – literally – age slower.
Recent research shows we can delay ageing
We now know how to do that – thanks to researchers into ageing at leading universities and medical centres, including Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and Harvard.
They have recently made important breakthroughs in understanding the link between inflammation, ageing and disease – and how to interrupt those links. I believe this research has very important implications for avoiding a bad coronavirus outcome.
So, I hope you will forgive me mentioning my new book Delay Ageing which describes these discoveries. It follows a 2019 article in the leading science journal Nature stating:
“We are now entering an exciting era for research on ageing. This era holds unprecedented promise for increasing human health-span: preventing, delaying or—in some cases—reversing many of the causes of ageing based on new scientific discoveries.”