A DNA breakthrough has lead to new hopes that we might one day fully understand the ageing process - and be able to slow it down -- or halt it altogether.
Steve Horvath, professor of genetics and biostatistics at the University of California in Los Angeles, claims to have located an "internal body clock" which measures the age of our tissue.
The clock is DNA-based, and appears to regulate different types of tissue at different rates. The result is that some parts of the body appear to age faster or slower than the rest of the body.
And by learning to understand this "clock", researchers say it might be possible to develop treatments that could slow it down.
The Guardian reports that the tea behind the study looked at 8,000 samples of 51 healthy and cancerous cells, and focused on how methylation - a process that modifies DNA - changes over time.
The results showed that the methylation of 353 DNA "markers" varied in a predictable way over time, and suggested that they could be used as an objective "clock".
What isn't clear is whether the process is a cause of ageing, or a result. And without information as basic as that, it's unlikely that any kind of anti-ageing 'treatment' is going to arrive any time soon. But it's an intriguing constant to examine - giving scientists a new avenue to explore for potential treatments.
"It provides a proof of concept that one can reset the clock," said Horvath.
Other scientists reflected that scepticism, saying that an 'elixir of youth' is far from a reality.
"The general idea that you can read a genome and it reflects the ageing process is probably correct," Darryl Shibata, professor of pathology at the University of Southern California, told Forbes.
"But the weakness is that this study doesn't provide a mechanism, and without a mechanism it's just a correlation."
The study can be read in the journal Genome Biology, and more details can found over at the Guardian.
Does your baby take up too much space? Is it too stinky? Thankfully, there's <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1991915_1991909_1991746,00.html">this baby cage</a> that allows you to suspend it out your window! (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Noodle Eater Hair Guard
Ponytails are so passé. The best way to keep your hair out of your noodles: <a href="http://foolishgadgets.com/200901/noodle-eaters-hair-guard/">masks made out of paper plates</a>.
Cigarette Rain Guard
Because sometimes it's raining so hard that even your <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5039920/cigarette-umbrella-keeps-tobacco-torch-dry">cigarette needs an umbrella</a>.
Can you get any lazier? Credit: <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/cf68/">ThinkGeek</a>
Face Protectors for Snow Storms
For all of those times when a hat isn't enough to keep you warm, you can look like one of those <a href="http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/coolest-the-maitlands-from-beetlejuice-costume-51.html">creepy monsters from Beetlejuice</a>? Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/sizes/o/">Flickr</a>
If you're not trying to cut your dog in half, you have no business using this device. What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned leash?
"Five-year-old Tim Gregory wears, under protest, a brush that cleans a child's neck without the use of soap and water in Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 12, 1950. The plastic collar brush will dry-clean the youngster's neck thoroughly as he plays. The brush was developed by the Los Angeles Brush Corp. at a mother's suggestion." What ever happened to a good old fashioned bath? (h/t <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/50-awesome-inventions-2010-9?op=1">Business Insider</a>)
Portable Record Player
Sure, records player are bulky, but so are records! We're having trouble seeing the point of this one. Credit: <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ef06/?srp=1">ThinkGeek</a>
Flexible Flyer Snowball Maker
Because making snowballs is so difficult. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Flyer-Snowball-Maker-colors/dp/B000FJ4AD4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1357234965&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=snowball+maker">Snowball Maker</a>.
"Jack Milford, player with the Wembley Monarchs ice hockey team, has invented a carrying device so that his baby can join his wife and himself on the ice." Ice skating is more important to this man than the safety of his child. (h/t <a href="http://byutv.org/seethegood/post/The-10-worst-inventions.aspx">ByuTV</a>)
An <a href="http://byutv.org/seethegood/post/The-10-worst-inventions.aspx">effective way</a> to roast yourself to death. (Photo by Yale Joel/Life Magazine/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
At least the baby will have a great immune system after some time being used as a mop and <a href="http://www.betterthanpants.com/baby-mop.html">bathing in dirt</a>.
Double Ended Pipe
For when you and your friend want to <a href="http://all-that-is-interesting.com/bizarre-inventions">conserve tobacco</a> while also sharing a tender moment.
QuikPod Handheld Convertible Tripod
For the <a href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/selfie">"selfie"</a> addict with short arms. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Quik-Pod-QP-EHHT-Handheld-Convertible/dp/B000NPCI9I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357233759&sr=8-1&keywords=quikpod">QuikPod</a> Handheld Convertible Tripod. (Amazon)