It's not been much of a secret that specific social behaviors affect aging. For example, if you smoke, the chances of dry, rough skin increase. There are the telltale, vertical wrinkles around the lips too. Or if you worship the sun, then your skin will eventually turn leathery, as well as develop much deeper wrinkles around the eyes. Stress can lead to dark circles beneath the eyes too. And that's all just your physical appearance. However, scientists could only surmise how great the effects might be, at least until now.
Scientists have turned to identical twins, examining in minutia their lifestyles to determine and better measure which social behaviors affect our physical and mental body clocks. Identical twins start as carbon copies of one another, yet striking differences accumulate through the years. Photos show just how glaring divergent lifestyle choices affect the outward appearance of the body. There are internal differences too. The study is currently examining 186 pairs of twins.
It should be noted that positive lifestyle choices are also being recorded. Diet restrictions that also load up on fruits and vegetables are compared to a less healthy diet, for example. The same holds true for the amount of exercise the twins get, the amount of stress in their lives, and overall optimism or pessimism in their daily affairs. Each adds or subtracts years from a person's life, as well as their overall healthfulness.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to unlock the fountain of youth, and thereby allow humankind to someday double or triple their lifespan. In all likelihood, the near-future breakthroughs will add a decade or two. Twins may hold an important piece to an immense and exceedingly difficult puzzle.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- It's better to enjoy life than worry about growing old.
- Although everyone grows old, I'd prefer to grow old gracefully.
- I want to look and feel young for as long as possible.
- Someday humans will likely live for hundreds of years.
- My generation will likely live for hundreds of years.
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- There are the telltale...
- Stress can lead to dark...
- Identical twins start as carbon copies of one another, yet...
- It should be noted that positive lifestyle...
- The ultimate goal, of course, is to unlock the fountain of youth, and thereby...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- How concerned are you with aging? Please explain.
- Do members of your family live long and healthy lives? Please explain.
- What lifestyle choices have you made that have had negative effects?
- What lifestyle choices have you made that have had positive effects?
- If humans could double their lifespan, would it be a good idea? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "aging" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.