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.

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.

Can Breathing Exercises Help Detour Alzheimers?

Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent form of dementia and affecting over 55 million people worldwide, is a critical global health concern. As researchers continue to work tirelessly to discover a cure for this debilitating illness, others are investigating ways to minimize the risk of developing it. While prior research has demonstrated that changes in diet and physical activity can help, a recent study has presented a groundbreaking method that shows how performing breathing exercises can lower the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to maintain optimal health, our nervous system must be kept in balance containing the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. However, external stressors can disrupt this balance, causing the heart rate to increase and the nervous system to become destabilized. This destabilization can lead to the accumulation of beta-amyloid peptides and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease development. Researchers have investigated the potential of breathing exercises to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by influencing heart rate and restoring balance to the nervous system.

In this study, 108 participants were divided into two age groups: 18 to 30 and 55 to 80. To monitor heart activity, each participant wore an ear-mounted device that was connected to a laptop in front of them. One group listened to calming music or envisioned a peaceful image, while the other group practiced a breathing exercise that involved inhaling and exhaling for five counts each. This was repeated for 20 minutes, twice daily for four weeks, with breathing rate matched to a visual pacer on the laptop. Participants’ heart rates increased during inhalation and decreased during exhalation, as indicated by the pacer’s rising and falling square.

The team conducted blood tests to analyze the effects of breathing exercises on two key peptides, amyloid 40 and 42. These peptides are regarded as hallmarks of Alzheimers disease. The study, published in Nature Journal, discovered that practicing breathing at a slow pace through HRV biofeedback led to a reduction in amyloid-beta peptides in the bloodstream, irrespective of the participant’s age. This implies that regularly practicing breathing exercises could be a safe, low-cost approach to minimizing plasma amyloid levels.

Although the impact of breathing exercises on Alzheimer’s risk is yet to be confirmed, they undeniably improve overall well-being. Although this innovative study is subject to limitations, it provides a launching pad for further research and discussion on the potential of behavioral intervention to safeguard against Alzheimer’s. Breathing exercises offer various advantages, such as enhanced mental health, concentration, overcoming addiction, and a better quality of life.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Modulating heart rate oscillation affects plasma amyloid beta and tau levels in younger and older adults

Negative Emotions Can Affect Aging of the Brain

As we ponder the future and what it holds, we may wonder how we can ensure a long and fulfilling life. Researchers have recently discovered that the key to healthy brain aging could lie in managing our negative emotions. By maintaining contentment and happiness, we may actually protect ourselves against the cognitive decline often associated with aging and illnesses like dementia. The latest research published in Nature Aging is an exciting step forward in understanding how we can take control of our brain health as we grow older.

The study delves deep into the mysterious link between negative emotions and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. The goal is to unravel how stress and anxiety impact the brain and explore potential solutions to sabotage these harmful outcomes. Unfortunately, emotions have been a bit of an afterthought in aging research, with cognitive functions taking center stage. But this study stands out for recognizing the crucial role emotions play in the health of our aging brains.

The mystery of how emotions affect our health has long baffled scientists. What’s intriguing is that they’re still not sure how our brain transitions from one emotion to another or how age impacts the impact of emotions on our mind and body. But a team has taken steps to unravel this mystery by studying how older and younger people react to negative emotions. Through a series of fMRI scans, they discovered interesting findings about how the brain functions when watching videos of emotional suffering. So if you thought emotions only affected your mood, think again – they could have long-term health consequences if not managed properly.

The results reveal that negative emotions activate specific brain regions, which can remain altered long after the emotions have passed. Interestingly, the duration of these changes varies depending on an individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. Furthermore, it was discovered that negative emotions can alter the communication between different brain regions and these changes tend to linger longer in older individuals.

Discoveries from the study revealed remarkable changes in the communication pathways between the amygdala and posterior singular cortex, areas of the brain that control our emotional responses and store our memories. This finding is even more striking in adults who reported experiencing high levels of anxiety, negative thoughts, and overthinking. These factors could potentially amplify the emotional intensity that was observed in the study’s results.

The team is currently examining whether prolonged emotional inertia may increase the risk of degenerative diseases such as dementia. By following participants over several years, researchers hope to uncover any changes in their emotional regulation and cognitive function. While some studies suggest a connection between poor emotion regulation and age-related neurodegenerative conditions, it’s unclear whether these diseases impair our ability to regulate our emotions or vice versa.

As the population ages, keeping our elderly healthy has become a pressing public health concern. While living a long life is noteworthy, staying in good physical and mental health is paramount. We must focus on preserving the quality of life for our senior citizens. These findings have massive implications for our understanding of emotional regulation as we age.

While researchers acknowledge that further investigation is necessary to confirm their findings, recent studies suggest that emotional regulation may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegeneration.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Exposure to negative socio-emotional events induces sustained alteration of resting-state brain networks in older adults

Daytime Naps Less Than 30 Minutes Can Be Beneficial

Napping is a widely accepted practice in regions such as Murcia, Spain, but long siestas of over 30 minutes have been linked to increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. According to researchers, if you’re pining for a midday snooze, make sure it’s a quick power nap. The duration, sleep posture, and other factors may have an impact on the nap’s health outcomes. To expand on this finding, the impact was investigated on metabolic health in the culturally-entrenched siesta-haven of Spain, examining the role of siesta duration. In a previous study of a large population in the UK, a like was identified between siestas and a higher risk of obesity.

More than 3,200 adults were studied with the investigators delving into the connection between daytime sleep and metabolic syndrome. The findings revealed that individuals who napped for over 30 minutes exhibited a higher likelihood of developing a cluster of conditions, including increased body mass index, elevated blood pressure, and other markers of heart disease and diabetes. However, individuals who took shorter “power naps” were less likely to display these metabolic changes and were also found to have lowered systolic blood pressure.

The researchers found that the long siesta group displayed larger waistlines and higher levels of fasting blood sugar and blood pressure than the no-siesta group. Interestingly, long siestas were also correlated with later bedtimes and late-night snacking. The study also noted a connection between longer naps, lunchtime eating and cigarette smoking. While an association between napping and obesity has been identified, further study is needed to determine a causal relationship.

This study emphasizes the significance of siesta duration and prompts the query of whether short naps afford exclusive gains. Numerous establishments recognize the work productivity of these mini-slumbers and are now embracing them as a means of promoting overall health.

These results offer compelling evidence regarding the impact of napping duration on lifestyle factors associated with cardiometabolic diseases. However, to fully validate the benefits of shorter siestas, further research is crucial.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Lifestyle mediators of associations among siestas, obesity, and metabolic health

Can Hunger Pains Slow Down Aging?

A recent study has shown that even just the sensation of hunger has the potential to slow down the ageing process. This new research, published in the scientific journal Science, reveals that the mere taste and aroma of food can, in fact, overturn the benefits of dietary restrictions. Although previous findings have established that caloric limitations can significantly boost the lifespan of animals, this latest study has found that fruit flies can increase their life expectancy through hunger alone.

Researchers have discovered that hunger in flies, induced either through amino acid deprivation or stimulation of appetite-associated brain areas, can significantly extend flies’ lifespan. The remarkable findings indicate that the conventional nutritional manipulations researchers have long been exploring may not necessarily be required. Instead, the perception of inadequate food is shown to be adequate to achieve the benefits of life extension.

Using a variety of methods, the researchers were able to induce hunger in flies and study their feeding behavior. One method involved altering the amount of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acid molecules) in a test snack, which was followed by a free feeding session with yeast or sugar. The flies that consumed the low-BCAA snack exhibited a preference for yeast over sugar, indicating a need-based hunger. This behavior was unrelated to the calorie content of the snack, as the flies consumed more food and more total calories. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that flies fed a low-BCAA diet throughout their lives actually lived significantly longer than those fed high-BCAA diets.

Scientists then triggered hunger-related nerve cells using red light exposure. They discovered that the flies consumed twice as much food and lived significantly longer as compared to the control group. These findings suggest that an insatiable hunger drive was created in the flies, leading to enhanced lifespan. The results highlight the crucial role of hunger in lifespan regulation.

Although the study exclusively focused on flies, the mechanisms uncovered have the potential to regulate hunger drive in various species. The evidence of hunger’s adequacy in expanding lifespan demonstrates that motivational conditions alone possess the capacity to determine the progression of aging.

This discovery sheds vital insights into the significant relationship between hunger and aging, making it a prospective area of focus for future scientific research.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Effects of hunger on neuronal histone modifications slow aging in Drosophila

Air Pollution Can Contribute to Heart Disease

A recent study has shown that air pollution can lead to the development of arrhythmia, a medical condition characterized by abnormal heartbeats. Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are two types of arrhythmias that, if not treated, can cause heart disease or blood clots. It is worth noting that heart disease affected an estimated 244 million people worldwide in 2020, according to the American Heart Association.

Compelling research indicates that air pollution may be a significant contributor to heart disease, yet its implications for arrhythmia remain widely unknown. The study sought to illuminate this relationship, gathering medical data from over 2,000 hospitals across 322 cities in China. Focusing on patients exhibiting sudden symptoms of arrhythmia, the team recorded air quality levels from monitoring stations in close proximity to each hospital. The results are illuminating and may have broad implications.

The study reveals that over 190,000 individuals were diagnosed with sudden-onset symptomatic arrhythmia, encompassing atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, as well as premature beats originating in the heart’s atria or ventricles, and supraventricular tachycardia. This indicates that there is a heightened risk of symptomatic arrhythmia following acute exposure to ambient air pollution. This risk is most significant in the first few hours following exposure but can persist for up to 24 hours. It was observed that the relationship between exposures to 6 pollutants and 4 different subtypes of arrhythmias exhibited a linear trend, with no discernable threshold levels of concentration. These findings have significant implications for our understanding of the relationship between environmental factors and cardiac issues.

Inhaling polluted air is strongly linked to heart issues such as atrial flutter and supraventricular tachycardia, among others. Nitrogen dioxide, one of six pollutants studied, was found to have the strongest association with these conditions. The more polluted air patients are exposed to, the greater their risk of arrhythmias. The exact mechanisms are not fully understood, but evidence suggests that air pollution can cause oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and impair autonomic nervous function, which can alter cardiac electrophysiological activities and lead to arrhythmias. Our findings support the biological plausibility of this link.

This research reveals yet another reason why air pollution is a dire threat to our lives.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Hourly air pollution exposure and the onset of symptomatic arrhythmia: an individual-level case–crossover study in 322 Chinese cities

Mobile Phone Usage Linked to Hypertension

Did you know that just 30 minutes of phone use per week could increase your risk of high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes? Recent research has found that individuals who spend even a short amount of time talking on their phone, even with hands-free devices, may see their risk for hypertension rise by 12%. And if you’re using your phone for more than 6 hours a week, your risk jumps by 25%. These findings may explain why rates of high blood pressure and heart disease have increased by more than double in recent years.

A team of Chinese researchers analyzed the data from more than 212,000 participants aged 30 and above from the UK Biobank. The results of the study found that regular use of mobile phones for at least 30 minutes per week may increase the risk of their blood pressure increasing. The team monitored the participants for 12 years, and their findings showed that weekly phone usage times of thirty to fifty-nine minutes, 1 to 3 hours, 4 -6 hours, and more than 6 hours were all associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure. In comparison, those who spent fewer than 5 minutes per week receiving and making calls had the lowest risk.

The study focused on a group without a history of hypertension and explored their mobile phone usage through a self-reported touchscreen questionnaire. The team collected information on years of use, hours per week, and use of hands-free devices or speakerphones. Participants who used a mobile phone at least once a week to make or receive calls were labeled as “mobile phone users”, comprising 88% of the group. Factors such as BMI, age, race, sex, family history of hypertension, socioeconomic status, education, smoking habits, blood fats, blood pressure, inflammation, kidney function, blood glucose, and medication use to lower cholesterol or blood glucose levels were also examined.

According to the research, individuals who had a higher genetic risk of hypertension who spend up to 30 minutes per week on mobile phone calls have a 33% higher likelihood of developing the condition. Furthermore, compared with non-users, people that used mobile phones have a 7% higher risk of hypertension, which has also been linked to tumors in the brain. Interestingly, the data suggest that keeping weekly call time to below half an hour may not increase the risk of high blood pressure. These findings are relevant to the almost 75% persons globally over the age of 10 owning a mobile phone. It is significant considering that almost 1.3 billion adults from the age 30-79 currently have high blood pressure, in comparison to less than 600 million 50 years ago.

It is believed that the electromagnetic fields emitted by phones may be the culprits behind this phenomenon. Mobile phones emit low levels of radiofrequency energy that may contribute to temporary hikes in blood pressure. However, past studies on the relationship between mobile phone usage and blood pressure have shown inconsistent findings, likely due to the inclusion of factors such as calls, texts, and gaming.

This study highlights the importance of being mindful of our mobile phone usage and its potential effects on our health. Further studies are required to replicate the findings, however, it is advisable to limit the usage of mobile phones as a precautionary measure to sustain cardiovascular well-being.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Mobile phone calls linked with increased risk of high blood pressure

Evidence that Exercise Supports Mental Health

Recent findings show that exercise benefits not only the body but also the mind. In fact, a new publication in the journal Neuroscience points out that exercise has an even more profound impact on brain health than previously thought. This research investigates how chemicals produced by muscles during movement lead to neuronal development in the brain, specifically affecting the hippocampus areas responsible for long-term memory storage.

These findings demonstrate that the release of chemical signals from muscle cells during exercise has a profound effect on neurons. This novel insight sheds light on the deeper molecular mechanisms through which exercise can support a healthy brain and improve mood and cognition.

This research delves into the impact of muscle chemicals on different parts of the brain, most notably, the neurons within the hippocampus. Through exercising, the cognitive health of an individual is known to improve since the neurons within the brain undergo a transformation within the hippocampus. The findings shed light on how the brain responds to exercise, suggesting that chemical signals from contracting muscles may activate a signaling pathway that enhances cognitive function.

The study provides fresh insights into how chemical signals from contracted muscles, examined in vitro, can hasten the maturation process of hippocampal neurons and also promote the formulation of neuronal networks. Moreover, the study underscores the crucial role of astrocytes, specialized cells that surround and support neurons in the brain, in managing the growth of hippocampal neuronal networks. By emphasizing the role of astrocytes in controlling neuronal activity, which is often overlooked in brain research, the study implies that developing treatments for neurological diseases may entail taking into account not only neurons but also astrocytes.

The study’s implications extend to potential therapeutic uses for neurological disorders and the development of exercise regimens designed to optimize cognitive health. The critical role of astrocytes in mediating the effects of exercise on hippocampal neurons highlights the importance of considering this interaction in future research endeavors. Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the communication between muscles, astrocytes, and neurons, advancing our understanding of the brain’s response to exercise and its potential applications for neurological health.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Astrocyte-mediated Transduction of Muscle Fiber Contractions Synchronizes Hippocampal Neuronal Network Development

New Test to Discover Signs of Cognitive Impairment

A newly developed test could shine a light on potential cognitive impairment ahead of any visible symptoms, offering invaluable insight into risk factors for the future.

The test that involves using cards could open the door to earlier detection of cognitive impairment, potentially allowing for preventive measures to be taken before any symptoms arise. It is already being recommended as part of regular checkups for those over 45 years old. The simple but powerful screening tool has experts hopeful that it can help reduce rates of dementia in the near future.

It is a reliable memory test which can predict the risk of dementia in people who appear to be cognitively healthy. This cutting-edge study provides promising evidence that it is possible to detect subtle signs of early impairment, even when there are no outward symptoms present at first glance.

Researchers set out to investigate the effects of age on memory with the help of 969 participants, whose average age was 69. The study included a two-phase test. First, the individuals were asked to identify four items belonging to particular categories, and secondy, their ability to recall such information. Those who did not remember certain components were provided with category cues which measured their storage capabilities over time, allowing for further analysis across a period 10 years.

The study utilized the Stages of Objective Memory Impairment (SOMI) system to classify participants into five stages, ranging from zero – no memory difficulty – to four. 47% had stage zero impairment, 35% were in stage one and two combined while the highest impaired level; three and four occupied only a total 5%. It was revealed that those with levels one or two challenges can recall memories when given cues which may appear up to 8 years before dementia is impending. Those classified at stages 3 & 4 are predicted by scientists as likely having just 1-3 more years until manifesting signs of cognitive decline. Out of 969 patients observed, 234 ended up developing cognitive impairment over time

After carefully accounting for environmental and genetic factors, researchers found that those at stages one or two of SOMI were twice as likely to experience cognitive decline than the zero stage. Even more alarming was that people in the three or four phases faced a greater risk that was 3x higher compared with non-SOMI citizens. Remarkably, after taking biomarkers into account such as amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles, this predictive model maintained its effectiveness.

The findings suggest that the SOMI system is an effective tool for pinpointing individuals prone to cognitive decline. By recognizing impairments early on, researchers can generate pertinent treatments while at-risk people are provided with guidance from their physician and given ample opportunity to maintain a healthy brain throughout aging. Although predicting neurological change over time remains challenging due to limited knowledge of future state based on current measurements – this research demonstrates potential in identifying risks prior to deterioration taking place.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Association of Stages of Objective Memory Impairment With Incident Symptomatic Cognitive Impairment in Cognitively Normal Individuals