Mankind's quest for prevention of aging did not begin or end with the alchemist's search for the magic elixir of life, or Ponce de Leon's voyage to the fountain of youth. The Edwin Smith Papyrus (c 3,000 bc) reveals that ancient Egyptians had more than a casual interest in this matter. Nor are modern scientists abandoning the search. The title of a recent lecture by Comfort1 is "Prevention of Ageing in Cells."
The theme of Comfort's lecture is the current shift of emphasis in age research, from influences which are at work in the organism as a whole or in its dividing cells to aging processes in the "fixed" cells. Gerontologists are no longer concerned predominantly with aging mechanisms which may originate in the endocrine, cardiovascular, central nervous, or physiologic-homeostatic systems. Nor are they preoccupied with mutations in dividing cells. Interest is growing in aging mechanisms to be found in