A contender for the elusive fountain of youth: an enzyme found in humans appears to lengthen the life of mice. Researchers hoping to slow the march of age were dealt a blow in 2010, when signs that an enzyme called sirtuin 2 extended the life of worms were shown to be false due to flawed experimental design. Mammals have seven types of sirtuin, so Haim Cohen and Yariv Kanfi at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, turned to sirtuin 6 instead. They compared mice genetically engineered to have increased levels of SIRT6 with normal mice, engineering the mice in two different ways to control for genetic influences. Male mice from both strains lived 15 per cent longer than normal mice or females. Older modified male mice metabolised sugar faster than normal mice and females, suggesting that SIRT6 might extend life by protecting against metabolic disorders such as diabetes ...
Tag Archives | Anti-Aging
Age-related delays in neural timing are not inevitable and can be avoided or offset with musical training, according to a new study from Northwestern University.
The study is the first to provide biological evidence that lifelong musical experience has an impact on the aging process.
Measuring the automatic brain responses of younger and older musicians and non-musicians to speech sounds, researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory discovered that older musicians had a distinct neural timing advantage.
“The older musicians not only outperformed their older non-musician counterparts, they encoded the sound stimuli as quickly and accurately as the younger non-musicians,” said Northwestern neuroscientist Nina Kraus. “This reinforces the idea that how we actively experience sound over the course of our lives has a profound effect on how our nervous system functions.” …
Read more here.
The secret to slowing down aging is in the soil? Easter Island continues to grow spookier and spookier. The Independent reports:
A drug originating on Easter Island, the mysterious South Pacific home of a lost statue-building people, may become the first substance to slow down human aging, new research indicates.
Rapamycin, a pharmacological product used to prevent rejection in organ transplants, has been found to extend the lifespan of mice by up to 38 per cent, raising the possibility that it may delay ageing in people.
Rapamycin is a bacterial product originally found in a soil sample from Easter Island. Originally developed as an anti-fungal agent, rapamycin was soon found to have powerful immuno-suppressant properties and thus be valuable for preventing rejection of transplanted organs. Now, however, it has been shown to affect the ageing of mice – the first time that this has ever been shown with a mammal.
Interesting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:
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All animals eventually grow old and die. It’s an inevitable fact of life — except when it isn’t. Some animals, like tortoises and lobsters, never grow old, and learning their secrets could let humans live as long as they want.
For most animals, there are three basic ways they can die: disease, injury, or old age, which is also called senescence. But a select few species are seemingly immune from aging itself, a phenomenon known as negligible senescence. The gradual accumulation of cellular damage and degradation that will eventually kill other animals (including us) slows to a virtual standstill, prolonging the life — and, in fact, the youth — of any animal lucky enough to be negligibly senescent.
Tortoises are the most famous negligibly senescent animals. An Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita was thought to be 255 years old when he died in 2006, and carbon dating of his shell confirmed that he really had been born around 1750.
Indian doctors are studying a remarkable 83-year-old holy man who claims to have spent the last seven decades without food and water. Military medics hope the experiments on Prahlad Jani can help soldiers develop their survival strategies.
The long-haired and bearded yogi is under 24-hour observation by a team of 30 doctors during three weeks of tests
Bryan Nelson of the Mother Nature Network writes via Yahoo Green:
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The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may be the only animal in the world to have truly discovered the fountain of youth.
Since it is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span. Scientists say the hydrozoan jellyfish is the only known animal that can repeatedly turn back the hands of time and revert to its polyp state (its first stage of life).
The key lies in a process called transdifferentiation, where one type of cell is transformed into another type of cell. Some animals can undergo limited transdifferentiation and regenerate organs, such as salamanders, which can regrow limbs. Turritopsi nutricula, on the other hand, can regenerate its entire body over and over again. Researchers are studying the jellyfish to discover how it is able to reverse its aging process.
From the Financial Times:
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One of the biggest puzzles in biology – how and why living cells age – has been solved by an international team based at Newcastle University, in north-east England.
The answer is complex, and will not produce an elixir of eternal life in the foreseeable future.
But the scientists expect better drugs for age-related illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, to emerge from their discovery of the biochemical pathway involved in ageing.
The Newcastle team, working with the University of Ulm in Germany, used a comprehensive “systems biology” approach, involving computer modelling and experiments with cell cultures and genetically modified mice, to investigate why cells become senescent. In this aged state, cells stop dividing and the tissues they make up show physical signs of deterioration, from wrinkling skin to a failing heart.
The research, published by the journal Molecular Systems Biology, shows that when an ageing cell detects serious damage to its DNA – caused by the wear and tear of life – it sends out specific internal signals.
“I wanted to make a dent in the suffering and death caused by aging…” says one “DIY biologist”. “Of course, there are also DIYers with no ambitions to save the world, who are content to ‘make yogurt glow’ in the basement for their own personal satisfaction!”
And meanwhile, Tyson Anderson, a U.S. Army specialist, is engineering bioluminescent yeast to construct sugar-powered lamps for his friends in Afghanistan!
This article profiles a growing movement – DIY biology – that bypasses the bureaucracies hobbling traditional research to write their own genetic code and even design their own biological systems. (In one lab, the on-site laser was modified from a tattoo-removal system.) But the article predicts that “We will probably see a rise in the number of hobbyists who treat their own bodies as machines to be worked on – like a radio or a car – branching out from personalized genomics to things like DIY stem cell extraction and manipulation, DIY prosthetics, DIY neural prosthetics and sensory enhancements (infrared vision, anyone?), immune system testing, and general tweaking of whatever system strikes the hobbyist’s fancy!”
Right now there’s even a kind of DIYbio Flash mob, where large-scale collaborations come together to investigate “distributed environmental sensing” of microbe patterns around the world!… Read the rest
Via H+ magazine:
“For the past 9 years, many of the world’s leading researchers have been quietly collaborating on a scientific roadmap to reverse — yes, completely reverse — the human aging process,” explains David A. Kekich. He’s the founder of new California biotech project that hopes to end the 100,000 lives lost to aging every day — and within 20 years! And according to this article, “It’s serious enough that members of the Obama Administration consider it to be one of the major global destabilizing forces of the next 25 years.”
Many of the project’s researchers believe we’re approaching “longevity escape velocity” — where medical advances outpace aging itself, “potentially making death-by-aging a choice rather than a date with destiny.” Two University of California researchers shared their findings at a kick-off event in November, where the group’s colloboration was disclosed to the public.”
Can you stay healthy enough to make it to 2029?… Read the rest
Spencer Kornhaber writes in OC Weekly:
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Call it an anti-death panel. We just received a press release saying that the world’s top aging scientists will converge on Manhattan Beach from November 13 through 15 to figure out how to put off that whole getting-old-and-dying thing.
The scientists, supposedly, will “predict the end of aging by 2029.” Which sounds cool but … We’ll all be kinda old by then anyways. Couldn’t they get this thing done now?
The topics at the conference will include gene therapy, nanotechnology and, of course, “Organ Re-Growth and Transplantation.” Sound like science fiction? Well, yeah. They realize: “Technology has so rapidly caught up with us that what was once the domain of science fiction movies and novels is quickly becoming mainstream medicine. Medical scientists are rapidly perfecting techniques that will enable organs and tissues to be re-grown in a test tube and transplanted, without the need for powerful drugs that poison the immune system.”
The conference is being put on by Life Extension Foundation, which is “the largest non-profit organization dedicated to research on extending the healthy human life span.” We’d assumed/hoped the organization would be based in Laguna Woods, but it’s actually centered in the Laguna Woods of America: Ft.