Cell & Developmental Biology

Cell & Developmental Biology
Open Access

ISSN: 2168-9296



[No] Need for Speed: Late-onset Diseases as Evolution's Power Brakes

Rumena Petkova and Stoyan Chakarov

Degenerative disease and cancer are the top causes of death in middle and advanced age and it seems that this trend will continue, at least in the near future. Modern medicine has an impressive arsenal of methods and tools to detect monitor and control a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including diseases with onset in middle and advanced age. Nevertheless, they are very rarely completely cured. Why, despite all the efforts of research and healthcare, we still keep failing in our efforts to cure late-onset diseases? It might be that we are trying to fight against laws of Nature that were purposely put in place so that evolution may go on but could not advance before its time. Relatively recently, we proposed the hypothesis that 'death of old age' and cancer may be viewed as Nature-made mechanisms or larger-scale checkpoints that keep the rate of evolution in check and preserve the population and the species at the expense of individuals. At this point in our development, we cannot change the rules of Nature. It is within our power, however, to anticipate, prevent and modify the outcomes of late-onset disease. Thus, we ought to keep on with research and development aimed at management of late-onset disease and improving the quality of life for the patients.