Stem Cell Secret’s of 115 Year Old Woman

New evidence that adult stem cells are critical to human aging has recently been published on a study done on a super-centenarian woman that lived to be 115 years. At death, her circulating stem cell pool had declined to just two active stem cells from stem cell counts that are typically more than a thousand in younger adults. Super-centenarians have survived all the normal diseases that kill 99.9% of us before 100 years of age, so it has been a mystery as to what actually kills these hardy individuals. This recent data suggest that stem cell decline may be the main contributor to aging. If so, stabilizing stem cells may be the best thing one can do to slow your rate of aging.

There are many theories of aging that have been proposed. For example, damage to cells and tissues from oxidative stress has been one of the most popular fundamental theories of aging for more than half a century. Yet antioxidant substances or genes that code antioxidant enzymes have proven largely ineffective in slowing aging when tested in model animals. Thus, interest by scientists has shifted to other hypotheses that might provide a better explanation for the slow declines in function with age.

Stem cells provide one such promising mechanism of aging. Of course, we all know that babies are young and vigorous, independent of the age of their parents. This is because adults have embryonic stem cells that can generate young new cells needed to form a complete young baby. Indeed, these embryonic stem cells are the product of continuously evolving stem cell populations that go back to the beginning of life on earth over 3.5 billion years ago!

In adults, the mostly immortal embryonic stem cells give rise to mortal adult stem cells in all the tissues of the body. These adult stem cells can regenerate your cells and tissues as they wear out and need replacement. Unfortunate, adult stem cells also age, which leads to fewer cells and/or loss of function in cell replacement. As functional stem cells decline, skin and organs decline with age.

Blood from world’s oldest woman suggests life limit

Time Magazine: Long-Life Secrets From The 115-Year-Old Woman

Somatic mutations found in the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman demonstrate oligoclonal hematopoiesis

The somatic mutation burden in healthy white blood cells (WBCs) is not well known. Based on deep whole-genome sequencing, we estimate that approximately 450 somatic mutations accumulated in the nonrepetitive genome within the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman. The detected mutations appear to have been harmless passenger mutations: They were enriched in noncoding, AT-rich regions that are not evolutionarily conserved, and they were depleted for genomic elements where mutations might have favorable or adverse effects on cellular fitness, such as regions with actively transcribed genes. The distribution of variant allele frequencies of these mutations suggests that the majority of the peripheral white blood cells were offspring of two related hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clones. Moreover, telomere lengths of the WBCs were significantly shorter than telomere lengths from other tissues. Together, this suggests that the finite lifespan of HSCs, rather than somatic mutation effects, may lead to hematopoietic clonal evolution at extreme ages.

Aging Reversed / ABC News

Now researchers have found a way not just to stop, but, reverse the aging process. The key is something called a telomere. We all have them. They are the tips or caps of your chromosomes. They are long and stable in young adults, but, as we age they become shorter, damaged and frayed. When they stop working we start aging and experience things like hearing and memory loss.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal Nature scientists took mice that were prematurely aged to the equivalent of 80-year-old humans, added an enzyme and essentially turned their telomeres back on. After the treatment they were the physiological equivalent of young adults. You can see the before and after pictures in the videos above. Brain function improved, their fertility was restored it was a remarkable reversal of the aging process. In the top video the untreated mouse shows bad skin, gray hair and it is balding. The mouse with it’s telomeres switched back on has a dark coat color, the hair is restored and the coat has a nice healthy sheen to it. Even more dramatic is the change in brain size. Before treatment the aged mice had 75% of a normal size brain like a patient with severe Alzheimers. After the telomeres were reactivated the brain returned to normal size. As for humans while it is just one factor scientists say the longer the telomeres the better the chances for a more graceful aging.

The formal study Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise was published in Nature.

Additional information published by Harvard can be found in the following articles.

Scientists Find Root Molecular Cause of Declining Health in the Old

Decoding Immortality – Smithsonian Channel Video about the Discovery of Telomerase

While scientists are not yet able to accomplish the same results in humans we believe we have developed a nutraceutical to help prolong youth and possibly extend life until age reversal therapy for humans becomes available.

New Discovery For Hair Follicle Life and Death

Hair follicle cells divide and die. But a new study has discovered a single chemical called TGF-beta that determines when this happens. It could ultimately treat baldness and may speed wound healing. Since follicles are a stem cell source they have the unique capability to be able to turn into other types of cells. This stem cell adaptability creates a path for repair of tissues and organs that have been damaged.

Hair follicles are the one organ in the human body that automatically regenerate periodically without injury. Therefore, this was the ideal organ for the research team to study. They determined how TGF-beta, which is a type of protein, controls the division of hair follicles or orchestrates its death.

TGF-beta has two roles at play in the hair follicle. The first role is to divide and produce new life in the hair follicle and the second is that it helps orchestrate cell death. The team found that the amount of this chemical is what makes the difference in life or death of the hair follicle. A certain amount and the cell divides, but too much and it causes apoptosis, or death.

But the death of a hair follicle does not kill the stem cell reservoir. The cell eventually receives a signal to regenerate and then it divides, makes a new cell and a new follicle is developed. If the scientists can figure out how TGF-beta activates cell division through communicating with other distinct genes, there is the possibility to activate follicle stem cells and stimulate hair growth.

The researchers hope in the future they can precisely determine how the TGF-beta activates the cell to divide. It could potentially lead to a cure of baldness and a variety of other problems.

To view the original scientific study click below:
A probabilistic Boolean model on hair follicle cell fate regulation by TGF-B

This Exercise Can Help Reduce Effects of Aging on Stem Cells

As we age, we lose muscle mass and the risk of dementia, heart disease, and immune function decreases. As the years go by, it becomes more difficult for humans to rebound from injury, a workout or illness. Aging takes a big toll on muscle tissue. Scientists have discovered that one type of activity in particular puts this process in reverse.

Exercise that is consistent can help slow down the process of degeneration. According to a new study on mice, aerobic exercise may have the ability to reverse aging’s effect on muscle stem cells that are essential in the involvement of tissue regeneration.

Translating the study that was done on mice to people, it means that cycling, swimming and other aerobic exercises can help the older population recover as efficiently and quickly as their once younger selves. In the future, this discovery could help contribute to the development of a drug that de-ages muscle stem cells.

Researchers have been aware for a long time that exercise does help promote lifespan which gives people extra years free from disease.

This new discovery is very different. It is somewhat like a person who has already acquired diseases through aging, reversing the process.

The research has suggested that aerobic exercise can cause cells that are old to start behaving and gaining attributes of young cells. In the study, the team used old and young mice and had them run on a wheel for 3 weeks. Using a variety of tests, they analyzed how the mouse’s stem cells and tissue that are muscle responded. They compared the mice that were running to a group that were non-exercising with a stationary wheel that was locked restricting their ability to run.

Within one week, both old and young mice with the wheels that were running were able to establish a routine. They ran about 4.9 and 10 kilometers per night, respectively.

The equivalent to humans from the mice on the running wheel would be similar to consistent aerobic exercise such as cycling, running, and swimming, but no weight lifting or strength training involved.

At the end of the three week period of voluntary running on the wheel, the mice were then relocated to cages that didn’t have wheels. Then, the team injured various muscles and than looked at whether the mice could rebuild the tissue that was injured.

They additionally transplanted muscle stem cells from older mice into the injured mice and observed if the cells functioned well. Compared to young donor muscle stem cells, old donor muscle stem cells formed fewer and smaller fibers in the mice that were injured. However, old muscle stem cells from mice that exercised performed much like young muscle stem cells and formed many fibers than old muscle stem cells and were non-exercising.

Overall, the older mice that were allowed to exercise experienced accelerated repair of muscle tissue and improvement of the function of the muscle stem cells.

The older mice that were active did not produce more stem cells that are muscle. Instead, exercising had a rejuvenating effect on the old cells. The team noted it helped the mice operate more like their once younger selves.

The benefits did disappear after one week after the mice were put in cages without wheels which suggests that the rejuvenating effect is consistent exercise. This indicates that voluntary aerobic exercise may have benefits that are above and beyond preventing age related diseases and may really improve function of tissue directly.

The idea is that the older humans would recover more efficiently and faster just like younger humans do as a response to injury.

The team notes that surprisingly the younger mice who ran on the wheel did not experience muscle repair that was improved. This puzzled the team. Its seems young mice have already plateaued. They will lose function with age and they can get back to that baseline, but it is hard to get them better with more exercise.

The effects of exercise on stem cells that are muscle and repair of tissue is dependent on a tiny protein known as cyclin D1. Voluntary aerobic exercise was able to restore cyclin D1 levels in stem cells that were dormant back to a more youthful state.

Discovering cyclin D1’s crucial role means scientists might be able to target the protein therapeutically or even develop a new drug with the ability to create these positive de-aging effects. However, before any prescribed exercise routine or anti-aging pill can be verified, research on humans needs to be done.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Exercise rejuvenates quiescent skeletal muscle stem cells in old mice through restoration of Cyclin D1

Association Between Low Muscle Mass and Cognitive Decline

Dementia is a life altering disease and affects millions of people and their families worldwide negatively. But in a new study, researchers have found a modifiable factor that could possibly lower the risk of the advancement of this condition before it becomes irreversible. Their work highlights the link between muscle mass and rapid cognitive decline.

Little has been known about the association between low muscle strength and the development of dementia. For the first time, this new study shows that having low muscle mass is significantly linked to a rapid cognitive decline.

For the study, data was used from an ongoing Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging or CLSA. It has collected a substantial dataset consisting of body composition and various cognitive tests from 30,000 persons over a 3-year period that was administered in person. Three domains were used in the study – executive function, memory and psychomotor speed. The participants were all over 65 years of age and were asked if having low muscle can predict eventual cognitive decline based upon the three domains.

The findings showed that having a low muscle mass did link with a more rapid decline in the domain of executive cognitive functions over a three year period compared with a normal muscle mass. The other domains of memory and psychomotor function loss were not affected. This is important because executive functions, on a daily basis, help a person stay attentive, make decisions and organize thoughts.

This is crucial information because muscle mass can be increased through exercise, especially resistance training. And combined with good nutrition and a sufficient amount of protein in the diet, muscle mass can be maintained over the years of a persons life. Muscles provide proteins that help handle various bodily processes as well as a major role in strength and physical functioning. They also deliver molecules to the brain. When a person exercises and builds muscle mass, more blood flow is delivered to the brain that helps the executive function process.

People can be measured for low muscle mass to help identify if they may have an increased risk of cognitive decline. But further research is needed to see if gaining or maintaining muscle can attenuate cognitive decline as a person ages, and, if so, what the mechanisms would be.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Association of Low Muscle Mass With Cognitive Function During a 3-Year Follow-up Among Adults Aged 65 to 86 Years in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Best Time To Exercise Different For Men and Women

Exercise is a great way to keep fit and stay healthy but now a new study has determined that the time of day to exercise and get the best results are different for men and women. The research team at Skidmore College performed a study consisting of a 12-week exercise program. The participants were 27 women and 20 men ranging in age from 25-55 years old. Because of this large number, they were split into workout groups in the morning and evening.

The exercises performed were varied, ranging from resistance and endurance training, stretching and high intensity intervals. One workout group performed the exercises for one hour before 8:30 am. The other group performed the same exercises but in the evening between 6-10 pm. All of the participants followed a meal plan that was specially designed for them.

The researchers monitored each participants body fat and blood pressure during the study. Their aerobic power, strength and flexibility were tested at the beginning and end of the study.

All of the participants showed an improvement in their overall health and performance no matter what time period they exercised in. They all got leaner and stronger. But the researchers noted the results showed a difference between the morning and evening exercises. And also a difference between the results of men compared to the women.

The women that exercised in the morning showed a reduction in fat around their belly and their blood pressure improved. The women that exercised in the evening improved upper body muscle strength as well as their mood and food intake.

The time of day for exercising was shown to be less important for men exhibiting an increase in body strength from both morning and evening performance. But there was a significant improvement in heart and metabolic health as well as emotional wellbeing from the evening exercise.

The reason for the differences in mens and womens responses to the time of day exercises are performed are not clear yet. It could be women have more belly fat or maybe the bodies internal rhythms are influencing the outcome. More research will need to be done.

Depending on what a person is trying to achieve with exercise they may want to consider how what the time of day they exercise could benefit the outcome they want to achieve.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men

An Avocado A Day Can Help Improve Cholesterol

While it has been known that eating avocados is good for you, there has now been a new study detailing how they can improve unhealthy cholesterol levels. This has been the most extensive and largest study to date on the overall effects of health by consuming avocados including the length of the study period and the large number of participants.

The research team conducted an experiment lasting 6 months which involved more than 1,000 participants who were obese or overweight. Half were asked to consume one avocado each day and the rest continued their typical diet and were told to not eat over 2 avocados per month. At the beginning and the end of the study, fat around the organs and around the abdomen were precisely measured using an MRI.

Although the avocados did not affect weight gain or belly fat, the study does provide evidence that avocadoes can be beneficial to diet quality. This is important due to the fact that it is known that a higher quality of diet is linked with a lower risk of a variety of diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Eating one avocado per day did not point to scientifically substantial improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors or an increase in weight gain, belly fat or waist circumference. This is significant because the calories from eating avocados were shown to not affect abdominal fat or body weight. In addition, total cholesterol decreased 2.9 mg/dl and LDL cholesterol decreased by 2.5 mg/dl.

The study determined that consuming an avocado every day did improve the quality of the participants diets by 8 points on a scale of 100 points.

The team has stated that in the future they plan on continuing analyzing data from the research. As an example, participants were not asked how to eat their avocado every day. A later study might investigate how participants incorporated their avocados into their diet and whether or not it would have any influence on their overall health benefits

To view the original scientific study click below:
Effect of Incorporating 1 Avocado Per Day Versus Habitual Diet on Visceral Adiposity: A Randomized Trial

New Treatment Increased Lifespan by 500% in Nematode Worms

Longevity research has commonly used a nematode worm called caenorhabditis elegans in studies. This is due to its genetic makeup being similar to humans and it has a relative short lifespan, usually 4 weeks or less. Earlier research to improve these worms lifespan resulted in various interesting outcomes by modifying their rapamycin and insulin signaling pathways, which resulted in a 30% and 100% increase in their lifespan, respectively. The researchers then wondered what would happen from modifications made to both of these pathways at the same time.

To find out the answer, international teams of scientists were organized which included researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and Nanjing University. They modified both the rapamycin and insulin pathways to a grouping of C.elegans worms expecting to see a 130% lifespan increase. But, to their surprise the worms lifespan increased by 500%.

So the question now is, could this have an effect on human regenerative medicine? Of course, humans and worms are different, but they do have similar biology. They both possess “conserved” pathways of insulin and rapamycin, which means that in both organisms these have been maintained. In earlier times, both C.elegans and humans have had a common ancestor, such as chimpanzees and humans have. But although evolution has changed humans bodies so much that C.elegans and humans have deviated from eachother, quite a bit of the fundamental biological functions have remained unchanged.

Therefore, if human rapamycin/insulin pathways were modified would it increase human lifespan? Simply put, we just cannot know what would happen yet. But, in other species such as mice, by modifying these pathways it has shown to affect lifespan in a positive way. Therefore, this conveys that the modifications are not only beneficial to just one species. From the knowledge we have, not including our intellectual capacity, the way our bodies function is basically no different than our close relatives in the animal kingdom. Maybe this will be how a human could reach a 400-year long lifespan. We will have to wait and see.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Translational Regulation of Non-autonomous Mitochondrial Stress Response Promotes Longevity

Damaged Stem Cells Restored by Nanoparticle Backpacks

Bioengineers have discovered a new strategy that can restore stem cells that have been damaged and also enable them to grow new tissues again. The novel drug delivery system might help infants who were born from pregnancies that were complicated.

In the umbilical cord of newborns lies potential stem cells that are life saving and can be used to fight diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. This is why a lot of new parents elect to “bank” their babies umbilical cord blood which is rich in stem cells. However, in the 6% to 15% of pregnancies that have been affected by gestational diabetes, parents do lack this option due to the condition which damages the stem cells and renders them useless.

At the heart of the new approach are specifically engineered nanoparticles. At only 150 nanometers in diameter, each spherical nanoparticle has the ability to store medicine and deliver it just to the stem cells themselves by directly attaching onto the surface of the stem cell. Because of their special formulation the particles will slowly release the medicine making it very effective even at doses that are low.

The process has been described like this – each stem cell is like a soldier and is effective and smart. It knows what to do and where to go. However, the soldiers that they are working with are weak and injured. Through providing them with the nanoparticle “backpack” they are giving them what they require to be able to work effectively again.

The primary test for the new stem cell backpack was whether or not they could form new tissues. The researchers tested the stem cells that were damaged without “backpacks” and found that they moved slowly and formed tissues that were imperfect. However, when they applied “backpacks” stem cells that had been previously damaged started to form new blood vessels. This happened both when implanted under the skin of mice in the lab and in synthetic polymers, two environments that are meant to copy the human body conditions.

It may be years before this new technique could reach health care settings, but it has cleared the path of any method that has been developed so far. Methods now that involve injection of the medicine directly into the bloodstream come with a variety of unwanted side effects and risks. However, the new technique used only materials and methods that have already been approved for clinical settings by the FDA.

The team leader attributes the success to a high interdisciplinary group of researchers between mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, medicine and biology.

The team hopes that their approach will be utilized to restore cells that have been damaged by other types of complications of pregnancies such as preeclampsia. Rather than discarding the stem cells, in the future the team hopes clinicians will have the ability to rejuvenate them and utilize them to regenerate the body.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Engineering bioactive nanoparticles to rejuvenate vascular progenitor cells

Stem Cell Discovery Could Aid Scientists In Repairing and Making Organs

By using a mouse model, researchers from the Univ. of Copenhagen have developed an alternative route for cells to follow to build organs. They used this information to attain a stem cell that is new and could possibly generate a supply of organs.

Currently, a stem cell is created by either employing molecules found in pluripotent cells or by placing an embryo in a dish. The process involved reprogramming differentiated cells to create induced pluripotent cells. This new research explores other avenues to make this happen.

The prospect to be able to restore organ tissue that has been damaged is exciting. Researchers are now studying how stem cells create cells of organs like the pancreas, liver, and intestine. In the past, they have tried to copy the process where embryonic cells transform into body parts including organs. Although several attempts have been made it has been very difficult to achieve the lab grown cells to correctly mature. But this new research shows there may be an important step they missed and possibly a different kind of stem cell.

Recently, there have been many studies that have tried to form a gut out of stem cells in a dish. They have now found an innovative way to do this by stem cells following a different path from what happens in an embryo. They discovered a new direction an embryo could take to make organs.

This study primarily focuses on pluripotent stem cells and endoderm extra-embryonic stem cells. A few years ago the team identified a new stem cell line called extra-embryonic stem cells. These stem cells act as key support cells in gastrointestinal organs by supplying membranes and their nourishment and other functions.

By using the alternate path the extra-embryonic stem cells can take, they have the ability to make intestinal organs in the embryo. They then took these stem cells and adapted them into structures that were intestinal organ-like in a dish. From this study, they discovered that when these support cells used this new alternate route, they would actually create organoid structures.

There are certain cells that can potentially be candidates to create organs in the digestive tract, like the pancreas, lung, liver, and intestine. The team were able to label them with a genetic marker. To do this to such a large amount of data required original and new approaches in analyzing the information. Therefore, the team collaborated with physical scientists from the Niels Bohr Institute.

They were able to identify the genes used in the cells. To further aid the work, they developed a computational tool that compared cell clusters. This was used in comparing cells in their dataset and also examine others.

To determine if this new alternate route could create organ cell types they used the extra-embryonic stem cells. They originate at a different place in the embryo then pluripotent stem cells and look like the beginning point for the alternate route for formation of an organ. They were used to develop organ-like structures in the intestines in a dish. They found that both of the routes would work. But using the alternate route could help lab-grown cells from cells that are functional and can study and treat disease.

There is still ongoing research to be done in the details of the function and maturing of these cells. Maybe by using both the traditional route and the alternative route some problems can be solved.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Identification of the central intermediate in the extra-embryonic to embryonic endoderm transition through single-cell transcriptomics