Harvard Researchers Reverse Aging in Mice

7 Harvard scientists have taken prematurely aged mice and reversed the toll of time – increasing the size of their shrunken brains, restoring their diminished sense of smell, and returning their graying fur to a healthy sheen. The work is among a growing spate of efforts to understand the basic biology that underlies aging. Ultimately, scientists hope to find ways to tap into the body’s natural regenerative capacities to make people healthier and more productive in later life.

Complementing biological investigations into aging, Arakawa and Gins have approached the subject through architecture, “the greatest tool available to our species, both for figuring itself out and for constructing itself differently.”

Present architecture, as it stands--quite literally as definitive and lasting—is insufficient for offering the human species an environment for exploring the nature of its own agency. Too often the human species has been lulled into passivity by uniform architecture, which, in essence, should be the species’ closest ally for inciting action.

By replacing definitive form with tentative form, and lasting structures with adaptive ones, Arakawa and Gins offer an architecture that naturally augments one’s being-in-the-world and aligns with the moving body. The effect may be just as striking as the toggling on and off of telomerase: “We believe that people closely and complexly allied with their architectural surrounds can succeed in outliving their (seemingly inevitable) death sentences!” Through redefining architecture as a “purposeful guess” and a “tentative constructing toward a holding in place,” Arakawa and Gins have redefined the conditions through which a person figures herself out, and in effect, prolongs her own life.

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