Welcome to the Spannr glossary, where we have collected and defined the most common words and terms in the world of longevity.
The origin of the word andropause is the combination of “andras,” human male, and “pause,” meaning cessation. Sometimes referred to as “male menopause,” andropause is the onset of emotional and physical symptoms in middle-aged males, often associated with low testosterone levels.
Antagonistic Pleiotropy Hypothesis
Antagonistic Pleiotropy Hypothesis is a theory first proposed by George Williams to help explain the existence of aging and its place in the evolutionary process.
APOE4, a form of the apolipoprotein E gene, is a genetic risk factor for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), roughly 25% of the human population carries one copy of APOE4. And ~2-3% of people carry two copies of the APOE4 gene.
Apoptosis, also known as Programmed Cell Death (PCD), is a naturally occuring form of cell death in which the body eliminates unwanted cells.
Researchers hope that new artificial womb technology will give hope to premature babies and their families, but they are also opening up pandora’s box. After all, if doctors could grow a baby outside of a natural womb, how would that change pregnancy, birth, and parenthood as we know it?
Biogerontology is a sub field of gerontology and refers to the study of the biological basis of aging and age-related diseases.
Biological age refers to a person’s age based not on the amount of time they have lived, but rather the amount of cellular and tissue damage they have accumulated in their life. Biological age is also known as physiological or functional age.
A biomarker (biological marker) refers to a set of medical indicators derived from usually blood, bodily fluids, or tissue. Biomarkers are used to track everything from a person’s general health, to how they respond to longevity interventions over time.
Caloric Restriction is the act of purposefully limiting food intake without causing malnutrition.
CAR-T cells are T cells, which are white blood cells that help protect the body from infection and cancer, that have been re-engineered to produce proteins on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).
Cell Death refers to any event that leads to a cell becoming unable to fulfill its biological processes. Cell Death can occur due to natural processes (see Apoptosis & Autophagy), or unnatural ones such as disease (see Necrosis).
Cellular Reprogramming refers to the act of reverting damaged and/or mature cells into a more youthful state. Cellular Reprogramming is done by introducing specific genes (see Yamanaka Factors) into older cells.
Cellular senescence is the process by which an organism’s cells cease to divide. In the case of cellular senescence, as opposed to apoptosis, the cells are damaged but are not eliminated by the body.
Chronological Age refers to the number of years that an animal has lived since birth.
Disposable Soma Theory
Formulated by Thomas Kirkwood, the Disposable Soma Theory (DST) explains that aging is caused due to an organism’s cellular tradeoff between allocating energy to reproduction and maintenence of non-reproductive cells (soma).
Entosis (also known as cell-in-cell invasion) is a process in which a cell absorbs another living cell and destroys it.
Epigenetics is the study of how bahavior and environment can change cell behavior and gene activity without changing DNA sequencing.
Follistatin is a glycoprotein present in nearly all animals. Animals treated with follistatin have been shown to increase muscle mass and in some cases improve longevity.
Growth Differentiation Factor 11 (GDF-11) is a naturally occurring, blood-born peptide. It was first identified in a 2004 study, which discovered its rejuvenating effects on the function of multiple organs in older mice.
A gene, found on a chromosome, is a basic unit of heredity that consists of nucleotides arranged in unique way. This arrangement can determine certain characteristics or functions.
Gene expression is process used by all known life to generate the assembly of a protein molecule. This process is where an observable trait is passed from a genotype to a phenotype.
Genomics is a field of biology focused on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.
Geriatrics, also known as geriatric medicine, is the study and treatment of human aging in the elderly.
Germ cells are the only types of cells in sexually reproducing organisms that are capable of passing on genetic information from one generation to the next.
The Hayflick Limit refers to the number of times a human cell can divide before entering senescence.
Immunosenescence is the progressive dysfunction of the immune system brought on by age.
Intermittent Fasting refers to a process of eating in which feeding windows are limited, leading to weight loss and perhaps life extension. Recent studies have been unable to show clear benefits from time restricted eating.
Internet of Body (IoB)
The Internet of Body (IoB) refers to the connection of the human body to the web in order to monitor and collect physiological, behavioral, and biometric data.
Kaplan-Meier estimator is a system used to measure the survival time after treatment.
Life extension is a general term used to refer to increasing the expected living age of an organism.
Longevity is a general term that refers to a person’s typical lifespan. While lifespan refers to the number of years you live, healthspan is a measure of the number of those years you spend in good health.
Longevity Escape Velocity (LEV)
Longevity Escape Velocity (LEV) is a hypothetical moment in time in which life expectancy is improving quicker than the rate at which people are aging.
Mendelian Diseases are disorders caused by a single mutated gene which are sometimes inherited from a parent. Common Mendelian Disease’s include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Metformin is a prescription drug used as a first-line treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. The drug works by improving how the body responds to insulin, a hormone that signals glucose in the blood to be converted to energy. This is important in people with type 2 diabetes, who have impaired insulin sensitivity.
Mitochondria in our cells are responsible for producing energy (called ATP). High-energy demand organs (including the heart, muscles, and brain) require more mitochondria to produce sufficient energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when mitochondria don’t produce the necessary energy for the body to function properly. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been described as a hallmark of aging because, over time, mitochondria become less able to provide cellular energy.
NAD+ (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide)
NAD+ is a necessary coenzyme that is found in all cells, and is involved in many fundamental processes.
Nanoparticles are undetectable by the human eye and range in size from 1 to 100 nanometers in diameter.
Natural killer (NK) cells
NK cells are immune cells with the ability to kill tumor cells and other cells infected with a virus. They are equipped with receptors to effectively identify stressed cells for elimination, while simultaneously avoiding the targeting of healthy cells.
Neurodegeneration, which is best displayed in diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, is the progressive loss of neoronal cells in certain areas of the brain.
Non Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR)
Non-Sleep Deep Rest, also known as NSDR, is an umbrella term for practices that people use to direct their minds into a state of calm and focus. NSDR protocols use specific forms of breathing to slow the heart rate down, moving the mind and body into a state of deep relaxation.
Parabiosis is the physical joining of two living organisms together via surgical procedure such that they share one physiological system.
Persufflation (PSF) is an emerging technique in cryonics that uses frozen gas to improve organ preservation.
Rapamycin is quite possible the drug that has attracted the most attention in the longevity world. Not only has the drug shown large effects across genders, but it has also been shown to be impact aging in multiple animal models, including yeast, worms, flies, and mice.
Semelparity is a reproductive strategy in which a species only reproduces a single time before dying.
Sirtuins are a family of proteins that help regulate our cells’ health. Mammals contain seven sirtuins (SIRT 1-7) that have been shown to be highly involved in aging and metabolic processes.
Stem cells, found in all organisms, are a type of cell that can replicate and replace damaged or lost cells.
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS)
Strategies for engineered negligible senescence (SENS), first defined by Aubrey de Grey, is a range of therapies aimed at treating various forms of human aging.
Stress-induced Premature Senescence (SIPS)
Stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS) causes irreversable damage to a cell’s cycle, preventing further cell replication.