Mild Stress and Healthy Aging: Perspectives for Human Beings
This book is devoted to the advantageous use of mild stress by animal species and humans. This is known as ‘hormesis’. Various studies have shown that mild stress can be a means in animals to increase longevity, to delay aging, and to improve resistance to stress, even at older ages. These results are not confined to ill or depressed animals, as it was thought by Sacher (1977), but can be seen in animals living in optimal conditions.
Moreover, if one is concerned with the application of hormesis in human therapy, it would be of no interest if hormetic effects of mild stress were confined to invertebrates, rather than extending to mammals as well. All authors of this book realize, however, that to date more data have been collected for invertebrates and that a priority is to find new mild stresses besides, for example, exercise, that could be used in mammals. Finding such new stresses is a key to the use or otherwise of mild stress in therapy. Some years ago, one of us (Suresh Rattan) prompted a debate among experts on the use of mild stress in aging research and therapy (see Human and Experimental Toxicology, 20(6), 2001). In commenting on the articles of other experts, Rattan (2001) noted the practical limitations of the use of mild stress in human beings and advocated a cautious approach towards the use of hormesis in the field of aging. While this debate is not outdated, an extended corpus of new results that have now emerged in animal species make it necessary to have a fresh look on the possibility of using hormesis in human beings.
The aim of this final collective chapter of the book is to address the question of whether mild stress could be used practically as a means to modulate aging and to extend health-span in human beings. The goal is not to merely smooth things over, but to confront various points of view so as to help the readers reach their own conclusion.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.