Tag Archives | Easter Island

Easter Island May Hold Anti-Aging Miracle Drug

easter-island-head-289121-swThe 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.

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New Species Found On Easter Island

The new insect. Photo: Jut Wynne, Northern Arizona University

The new insect. Photo: Jut Wynne, Northern Arizona University

Last year disinformation undertook an investigative expedition to Easter Island with geologist Dr. Robert Schoch, of MIT. You can review Robert’s initial findings here (includes video). One of the focuses of the expedition was exploring caves for fossil remains. Now the caves have supplied another amazing finding, reported by Clara Moskowitz for LiveScience:

Scientists recently uncovered a new species of tiny insect in a cave on Easter Island. The find is exciting because most of the island’s native life has gone extinct, researchers said.

The still-unnamed insect was discovered in a cave within the Roiho lava flow in west-central Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui) in the South Pacific Ocean. The species – roughly the size of a grain of rice – is a type of book louse, in the order Psocoptera, the family Lepidopsocidae and the genus Cyptophania.

“This could be very important for piecing the natural history of the island together,” said research leader Jut Wynne, ecologist with the Colorado Plateau Research Station at Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D.

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A Drug Discovered In The Soil Of Easter Island Could Cure Alzheimer’s

Easter IslandAnnalee Newitz writes on io9.com:

Rapamycin is a bacterial byproduct discovered in the soil of Easter Island. It extends the lives of animals, and now two independent studies show that it can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Is this the drug we’ve been waiting for?

A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry confirmed that mice with Altzheimers showed marked improvement in memory and cognition after being fed a rapamycin-enhanced diet. This study was released simultaneously with another, in PLoS One, which confirmed the results of the first in a different group of mice.

How does this wonder drug work? Physiologist Veronica Galvan, an author on the PLoS study, explained:

Rapamycin treatment lowered levels of amyloid-beta-42, a major toxic species of molecules in Alzheimer’s disease. These molecules, which stick to each other, are suspected to play a key role in the early memory failure of Alzheimer’s … The fact that we are seeing identical results in two vastly different mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease provides robust evidence that rapamycin treatment is effective and is acting by changing a basic pathogenic process of Alzheimer’s that is common to both mouse models.

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