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Slow Aging

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Specific social behaviors and lifestyle choices affect aging. For example, if you smoke, then you will likely get dry, rough skin. There are wrinkles around the lips that come with smoking too. Or if you frequently suntan, then your skin will eventually become leathery. You'll also develop much deeper wrinkles around the eyes. Stress can lead to dark circles beneath the eyes too. And that's just your physical appearance, as smoking, sun, and stress affect your unseen inside. However, scientists could only guess how large the effects might be, at least until now.

Scientists have turned to identical twins. They are closely examining the lifestyles of the siblings to determine and better measure which social behaviors affect physical and mental health. These twins start as exact copies of one another, yet differences accumulate through the years. Photos show just how obvious 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. Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables are compared to less healthy diets, for example. Scientists are also looking at the amount of exercise the twins get, the amount of stress in their lives, and if their outlook is positive or negative. Each adds or subtracts years from a person's life, as well as their overall healthfulness.

The ultimate goal is to one day discover the fountain of youth. This would allow humankind to 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 very difficult puzzle.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. It's better to enjoy life than worry about growing old.
  2. Although everyone grows old, I'd prefer to grow old gracefully.
  3. I want to look and feel young for as long as possible.
  4. Someday humans will likely live for hundreds of years.
  5. My generation will likely live for hundreds of years.

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. Stress can lead to...
  2. These twins start as exact copies of one another, yet...
  3. Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables...
  4. The ultimate goal is to...
  5. Twins may hold an important piece to...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How concerned are you with aging? Please explain.
  2. Do members of your family live long and healthy lives? Please explain.
  3. What lifestyle choices have you made that have had negative effects?
  4. What lifestyle choices have you made that have had positive effects?
  5. 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.


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