The history of active worldwide scientific research on mechanisms of aging and the age-associated diseases counts more than five decades. Of these, among the numerous theories of aging, at least 50 years dominated the free radical theory of aging. Since mitochondria were found to be the major producers of free radicals, the research on aging became largely centered on mitochondria. At the end of 80s of the 20th century, physicians have established a new nosological entity named “Metabolic syndrome” comprising several simultaneously existing symptoms and risk factors, which increase with age to 47% in men and 64% for women. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome (MetS) requires simultaneous presence of at least three out of five medical conditions: visceral obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, low serum high-density lipoprotein accompanied with high serum triglycerides. However, from the beginning of the definition of MetS there was, and still is, a rather lovely debate, which of the symptoms must be considered as the main one. In spite of the enormous number of publications on both mechanisms of aging and MetS, there was relatively small progress in understanding the fundamental processes in these closely related problems. On the contrary, the mitochondrial free radical theory was found to be wrong in its current paradigms. In this Chapter we will discuss recent discoveries and hypotheses which open new perspectives in both theoretical and practical approaches to the problems of aging and MetS. We will show how aging and development of MetS are closely related to each other and the normal ontogenesis of human beings. Why men and women have different rates of aging and mechanisms of transition to MetS. We state that MetS is not just a cluster of symptoms, but one of the last steps of individual ontogenesis, namely the first step of eldership when the aging rate may increase manifold.
Part of the book: Update in Geriatrics