News Stories

Never Grow Old

Is there a fountain of youth? Some researchers think that aging is an evolutionary adaptation that can be REVERSED. But the current prescription for living longer (eating less) may not work for everyone.

In a blog posted on The Daily Galaxy website, Casey Kazan says, "How do you explain animals that don't age? Some tortoises lay eggs at the age of 100, there are whales that live to be 200 and clams that make it past 400 years."

Researcher Stuart Kim, who studies aging in worms, has found genetic switches that turn the genes that cause aging on and off. Kazan quotes him as saying, "We found a normal developmental program that works in young animals, but becomes unbalanced as the worm gets older. It accounts for the lion?s share of molecular differences between young and old worms?It's a new way to think about how to slow the aging process."

Kazan quotes biologist Marc Tator a saying, "The message is that aging can be slowed and managed by manipulating signaling circuits within cells. This is a new and potentially powerful circuit that has just been discovered for doing that."

Calorie restriction, a diet that is low in calories and high in nutrition, may not be as effective at extending life in people as it is in rats. Previous research showed that laboratory animals given 30% to 50% less food can live up to 50% longer. Because of those findings, some people have adopted calorie restriction in the hope that they can lengthen their lives. But the new research suggests the diet may not have the desired effect unless people on calorie restriction also make sure they get plenty of protein. This can be a problem for vegetarians.

Researcher Luigi Fontana says, "It's much easier to restrict protein than to restrict calories." Traditionally, nutritionists have not worried about people eating too much protein, but his findings suggest perhaps they should.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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