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Blood, Quickening, Resurrection And The Genesis 6:3 Age Limit


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Death is the one certainty in life – a pioneering analysis of blood from one of the world's oldest and healthiest women has given clues to why it happens.

Born in 1890, Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper was at one point the oldest woman in the world. She was also remarkable for her health, with crystal-clear cognition until she was close to death, and a blood circulatory system free of disease. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her body to science, with the full support of her living relatives that any outcomes of scientific analysis – as well as her name – be made public.

Researchers have now examined her blood and other tissues to see how they were affected by age.

What they found suggests, as we could perhaps expect, that our lifespan might ultimately be limited by the capacity for stem cells to keep replenishing tissues day in day out. Once the stem cells reach a state of exhaustion that imposes a limit on their own lifespan, they themselves gradually die out and steadily diminish the body's capacity to keep regenerating vital tissues and cells, such as blood.

In van Andel-Schipper's case, it seemed that in the twilight of her life, about two-thirds of the white blood cells remaining in her body at death originated from just two stem cells, implying that most or all of the blood stem cells she started life with had already burned out and died.

"Is there a limit to the number of stem cell divisions, and does that imply that there's a limit to human life?" asks Henne Holstege of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who headed the research team. "Or can you get round that by replenishment with cells saved from earlier in your life?" she says.

The other evidence for the stem cell fatigue came from observations that van Andel-Schipper's white blood cells had drastically worn-down telomeres – the protective tips on chromosomes that burn down like wicks each time a cell divides. On average, the telomeres on the white blood cells were 17 times shorter than those on brain cells, which hardly replicate at all throughout life.

The team could establish the number of white blood cell-generating stem cells by studying the pattern of mutations found within the blood cells. The pattern was so similar in all cells that the researchers could conclude that they all came from one of two closely related "mother" stem cells.

"It's estimated that we're born with around 20,000 blood stem cells, and at any one time, around 1000 are simultaneously active to replenish blood," says Holstege. During life, the number of active stem cells shrinks, she says, and their telomeres shorten to the point at which they die – a point called stem-cell exhaustion.


Tantalizingly, Holstege says the results raise the possibility of rejuvenating ageing bodies with injections of stem cells saved from birth or early life. These stem cells would be substantially free of mutations and have full-length telomeres. "If I took a sample now and gave it back to myself when I'm older, I would have long telomeres again – although it might only be possible with blood, not other tissues," she says.

Next, Holstege hopes to hunt for clues to genes that protect against Alzheimer's disease by comparing van Andel-Schipper's genome to that of people who succumb abnormally early to the disease.





And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Genesis 6:3


Is the imposition of the 120 year age limit real, metaphorical, or mythological?  The ages listed for Noah's descendents do decline and the oldest people in the world do seem to make it to near 120 (over/under).


Is stem cell exhaustion the cause of it? Will we be able to get around it and then maybe the Lord comes down on us Tower of Babel style?.  Some people do believe (I am not one of them) that some limits are imposed that we cannot get around such as age or travel to the stars, etc.  I believe some limits may be imposed that make certain things difficult but that God will likely allow us to exceed those limits and that we should strive to do so.


Ramifications for the resurrection or the Garden state of no death?  Being quickened by blood and/or spirit? Perhaps in the resurrection, our 'spiritual blood' is just regular blood except the stem cells never die or exhaust (the telomeres never wear down).


And anything else you can think of relating to this topic.


Should have titled it "The Science Of Blood, Quickening, Resurrection And The Genesis 6:3 Age Limit"


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And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Genesis 6:3


Is the imposition of the 120 year age limit real, metaphorical, or mythological?  The ages listed for Noah's descendents do decline and the oldest people in the world do seem to make it to near 120 (over/under).


Is stem cell exhaustion the cause of it? Will we be able to get around it and then maybe the Lord comes down on us Tower of Babel style?.  Some people do believe (I am not one of them) that some limits are imposed that we cannot get around such as age or travel to the stars, etc.  I believe some limits may be imposed that make certain things difficult but that God will likely allow us to exceed those limits and that we should strive to do so.


Ramifications for the resurrection or the Garden state of no death?  Being quickened by blood and/or spirit? Perhaps in the resurrection, our 'spiritual blood' is just regular blood except the stem cells never die or exhaust.


And anything else you can think of relating to this topic.


Currently the max age limit for humanity is considered to be ~120 years, yes.


There are a number of hypotheses concerning aging and death. Here are the most popular three:


1. Pleiotropic gene hypothesis - Pleiotropy is the phenomenon where one gene controls for more than one phenotypic trait (physical expression) in an organism. Genes which confer an advantage for sexual fitness early on in life may be detrimental in later years. Example: Increased testosterone confers an advantage in younger years for males with regards to sexual reproduction, but increases the chances of prostate cancer in later years.


2. Free radicals - Basically the accumulation of oxidation damage caused by biological processes in the body over time. Damage to cells which can't be reversed.


3. Telomere shortening - Telomeres are segments at the end of a DNA which determine the number of times a cell can divide. Aging occurs as cells cease to divide.


Those are very simplistic and basic explanations of the main hypotheses concerning senescence. There are others, but those are not as well supported. 

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Well, of course AFTER I create the thread, I find LDS doctrine to be that Genesis 6:3 is NOT an age limit:



(4-9) Genesis 6:3. What Is the Significance of the Promise of 120 Years?

Many scholars, who have only Genesis to study, believe that this statement prophesied the shortened life expectancy that would take place after the Flood. In the book of Moses, however, it is clear that the 120 years referred to the time when Noah would preach repentance and try to save the world before the Flood was sent (see Moses 8:17). This period would be the time referred to by Peter as the time when “the longsuffering of God waited” (1 Peter 3:20). Because the people rejected the principles and ordinances of the gospel, preached to them by Noah, they were destroyed in the Flood. The Lord gave them more than adequate time to repent.




And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.
Moses 8:17




But I think there is some relevance still to some of the things brought up.

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Is the imposition of the 120 year age limit real, metaphorical, or mythological?


Most likely the statement in Genesis (the original, not Joseph Smith's modern midrash/revision) comes from observation, is not an actual divine decree, and is trying to explain the reasons for what is observed. Best form of Science they had then to explain such things they observed often led to the conclusion, "The Gods Did It."


 "Grandpa, why do people only live, at the most, to about 120, and then just die?" "Well, a long time ago, people lived for centuries, and that caused problems, and then the gods got mad.."


Other ANE myths are similar, mankind was created immortal, which lead to overpopulation and noisyness, and led to the gods wanting to wipe them out for peace and quiet. After the flood incident and the survival of Utnapishtim/Atrahasis, negotiations led to allowing humans to continue, but with severe biological restrictions.

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