Recent research indicates that we may actually get better with age… in some ways, anyway. Although increases in age are associated with physiological decline, it looks as if emotional resilience and a positive self-image help to keep us young and happy. Here’s a link to the news article:
And a link to the primary research:
Resveratrol May Not Extend Life | The Scientist.
Hector et al. recently published a meta-analysis of the overall effects of resveratrol (link below).� Overall, resveratrol it seems to decrease risk of death, but the strength of the effects are highly variable depending upon species. It seems to extend lifespan reliably in yeast and worms, but not so reliably in other critters. Too bad! We all love our red wine… we’ll have to await the results of human trials… Who’s with me??
The paper in Biology Letters: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/06/13/rsbl.2012.0316
via Resveratrol May Not Extend Life | The Scientist.
DNA Methylation Declines with Age | The Scientist.
DNA methylation is one method by which the expression of our genes (how much protein our genes make and when) can be changed within mere minutes. With age, our genes make proteins less reliably – they’re produced (or not) at inappropriate times or at inappropriate levels. Some researchers think this phenomenon can lead to age-related disease. This article in The Scientist gives an update on the status of research on why and how this wide-scale gene dysregulation happens, and how it relates to the aging process.
Parkinson’s Vax Enters Clinical Trials | The Scientist.
In what is possibly the biggest news of the year, scientists in Vienna are entering trials to vaccinate people against Parkinson’s Disease. The method is based upon building an immune response to alfa-synuclein, a protein naturally produced by the body. This smacks of the potential for massive organ failure due to a massive auto-immune response, akin to what we saw in the early days of gene therapy. I hope I’m wrong…
Here is the full press release: http://www.affiris.com/html/en/presse_medien/pressemeldungen.html
via Parkinson’s Vax Enters Clinical Trials | The Scientist.
Targeting DNA | The Scientist.
After more than a decade of failure (and even several human deaths), gene therapy trials are becoming more successful and less risky…
A paper published online in Molecular Cell has reported the results of a study that blocked a certain protein from being expressed in mice. The protein AUF1 is critical for binding and degrading mRNA specific for pro-inflammatory molecules. In this study, the mice lack AUF1, and (not surprisingly) they have a dampened inflammatory response. A bit surprising is the news that, even in a germ-free environment, the mice age very quickly. After further study, authors concluded that the anti-inflammatory AUF1 not only binds and degrades mRNA for pro-inflammatory molecules, but it also acts as a transcription factor responsible for triggering the production of telomerase – a very strange double-role for this type of molecule. Without telomerase, the chromosomes of the mice become degraded very quickly and the mice age prematurely.
Here is the popular science write-up (though take the “shocked” tone of the article with a grain of salt – we’ve suspected that inflammation and aging were connected for years – it is my understanding that it’s the dual role of AUF1 that is surprising and cool): http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/24/the-aging-and-inflammation-link/
Here’s a link to the primary research article: http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765%2812%2900341-3