Suggestions have been made that the complete replacement of all body parts with more youthful components could increase longevity. Though possible in theory, it is highly improbable that this would ever become a practical strategy to extend length of life. Advances in cloning and embryonic stem cell technology may make the replacement of tissues and organs possible94,95,96,97,98,99 and will likely have an important positive impact on public health in the future through the treatment of age-related diseases and disorders. But replacing and reprogramming the brain that defines who we are as individuals is, in our view, more the subject of science fiction than science fact.
94 Stem Cells: Scientific Progress and Future Research Directions. Department of Health and Human Services. June 2001.
95Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine. Committee on the Biological and Biomedical Applications of Stem Cell Research, Board on Life Sciences National Research Council, Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health, Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press, 2002.
96Cardiomyocytes Induce Endothelial Cells to Trans-Differentiate into Cardiac Muscle: Implications for Myocardium Regeneration. G. Condorelli et al. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 98, No. 19, pages 10733-10738; September 11, 2001.
97Heart Regeneration in Adult MRL Mice. J. M. Leferovich et al. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 98, No. 17, pages 9830-9835; August 14, 2001.
98Segregation of Human Neural Stem Cells in the Developing Primate Forebrain. V. Ourednik et al. in Science, Vol. 293, pages 1820-1824; September 7, 2001.
99A Genome-Wide Scan for Linkage to Human Exceptional Longevity Identifies a Locus on Chromosome 4. A. A. Puca in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 98, No. 18, pages 10505-10508; August 28, 2001.
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