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Aging

Research into the underlying causes of a genetic disorder that causes premature aging and death has revealed a key driver of aging in all people. Better yet, this mechanism is reversible – and with it, perhaps, scientists may be able to slow or reverse the aging process.

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It's a cruel irony that when we're young we want to be older, but when we're older we want to be younger. While few would advocate research into ways to make kids grow up faster, there are plenty of efforts underway looking to forestall the rigors of age. The latest cause for hope in this area comes in the form of a new class of drugs called senolytics, which have been shown to dramatically slow the aging process in animal models. Read More
When we get older, communication between neurons slows down and certain regions of the brain see reduced function. At least, that's the current understanding. But a new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit shows that the difference between older brains and younger ones may not be so great. The researchers demonstrated that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which is commonly used to study brain activity, is susceptible to signal noise from changing vascular (blood vessel) activity. Read More
Japan is facing an aging population in the coming decades and that means more people requiring care, and less people to provide it. In an effort to meet the shortfall, RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko Company Limited have developed Robear, an experimental nursing care robot that combines advanced robotics and a non-threatening design. Read More
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure to increase the length of human telomeres. This increases the number of times cells are able to divide, essentially making the cells many years younger. This not only has useful applications for laboratory work, but may point the way to treating various age-related disorders – or even muscular dystrophy. Read More
Using a technique in which better cells in the body to be selected at the expense of more damaged ones, researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland have managed to significantly increase the lifespan of the common fruit fly. Although most people would like to see flies living shorter, not longer lives, the development could have implications for increasing the lifespan of humans. Read More
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin deterioration, causing it to age prematurely. We need some exposure, however, in order to synthesize vitamin D – plus who wants to stay in the shade all the time? Using a good sunscreen definitely helps, although scientists from the University of British Columbia are taking things a step farther – they're developing a drug that could ultimately prevent the sunlight-related aging of skin. Read More
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered an on/off switch for telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds a cellular timekeeper known as a telomere. The scientists believe that the discovery could provide a way to get human cells to divide indefinitely without degenerating, thereby regenerating healthy organs even in old age. Read More
With a typical lifespan of around six weeks, the common fruit fly is one animal that could benefit from a slowing of the aging process. And that's just what a team of biologists at UCLA have achieved by activating a gene called AMPK. Possibly of more interest to us higher life forms is the researchers' belief that the discovery could help delay aging and age-related diseases in humans. Read More
Researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have shown that injections of a protein dubbed GDF11, when administered to older mice, appear to cause a reversal of many signs of aging. Analysis showed that every major organ system tested displayed signs of improvement, with the protein even appearing to reverse some of the DNA damage which is synonymous with the aging process itself. Read More
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