Your Miracle Cell

Life begins when a single cell divides to form more than one cell. In nothing short of a miracle, these cells then sub-divide and end up becoming you. During this process, your feet start webbed shape, substantially fused together. For your feet to acquire the shape they eventually do, the cells in between say your toes die. It is their death that gives you the space between your toes. Think of it as Michelangelo chipping away at the marble stone between the toes to create David (no offence to my substantial women readers).

Once we are born, begins the process of ageing. A biologist may cringe at my over simplification, but the process of ageing is nothing but the process of your cells dying. The cycle of cell death is a complicated process as you are also simultaneously creating cells. So in some sense cells have to die to keep your liver the same shape, for example. The net rate of cells dying to new ones being formed deteriorates over time leading to ageing.

In a study conducted at the John Hopkins University, researchers looked at the possibility of extending human life by eliminating dead cells. Also known as senescent cells or (SnCs), these cells contribute to age-related pathologies. Senescent cells play a role in healing your body but can also promote cancer. In your knees, arthritis is caused by the cartilage tissue dying and not being removed. The researchers experimented by injecting a drug to remove the SnCs selectively. The study showed that removal of these cells improved the probability of healing.

In an astonishing statistic, in the time you have read this article till here, over 600 million cells have died and been replaced in your body. Some due to wear and tear, others because their time had come and others in the act of deliberate self-destruction. Let no one ever claim that you are not beautiful. A million-billion cells had to die to make you – well you.