Molecule Found to Restore Telomerase and Improve Cognition in Mice

Telomeres, which are located at the ends of chromosomes, play a crucial role in protecting DNA from deterioration. The enzyme telomerase helps preserve the length and structural integrity of telomeres, thereby regulating the aging process. Recent studies have identified a novel small molecule that can replenish telomerase levels and reverse signs of aging in senior mice. In preclinical models, significant reductions in aging indicators and symptoms were achieved.

Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) is a critical protein component of telomerase. As people age, the gene responsible for producing TERT tends to deactivate, resulting in lower levels of active telomerase in the body. Numerous laboratories have been working on developing treatments that can reactivate the TERT gene. Sustaining TERT levels in older lab models has shown to lessen cellular aging and inflammation, promote the generation of new neurons enhancing memory, and improve neuromuscular function, thereby boosting strength and coordination.

In recent research, scientists have identified a molecule, referred to as the TERT activator compound (TAC), that achieves this reactivation. They have discovered that activating the TERT gene extends telomeres in cells of tissues that grow and increase rapidly. Additionally, they found that this gene activation improved aging signs in cells that had not produced telomeres, indicating that TERT also plays a role in regulating aging-related genes beyond its conventional function in telomere maintenance.

Mice treated with TAC exhibited numerous anti-aging benefits compared to the control group mice. These included decreased cellular aging and neuritis, along with an increased production of new neurons in the hippocampus. Elderly mice, which began receiving TAC injections at about 20 months of age, which would be equivalent to a senior adult, showed enhanced cognitive performance after 6 months. Additionally, one test revealed improved grip strength in these mice, indicating that the compound also boosted muscle function.

The study emphasizes the considerable potential for regenerating aging organ systems and the possibility of therapeutically adjusting indicators of aging in the natural aging process. These initial findings are promising due to TAC’s effective absorption across various tissues, including the brain. Nonetheless, further investigations are crucial to fully determine its safety and efficacy in prolonged treatment scenarios.

To view the original scientific study click below:
TERT activation targets DNA methylation and multiple aging hallmarks

Connection Between Tattoos and Lymphoma

A recent observational study from Sweden has linked tattoos with a 21% higher risk of developing lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. Conducted by researchers at Lund University, the study utilized Sweden’s comprehensive medical records to investigate the issue further. Although the carcinogenic potential of certain tattoo inks was previously known, the extent of their impact on cancer risk remained unclear, leading researchers to initiate this study.

Tattoos have gained popularity as a form of self-expression, likely influenced by a decrease in societal taboos. The inks used in tattoos typically contain chemicals that have been identified as carcinogenic in other settings, such as among workers with occupational exposure. Additionally, it is known that the body’s immune system moves the ink away from the skin in an effort to eliminate the particles it identifies as foreign substances, a process that results in the permanent storage of the pigment in the lymph nodes.

Researchers focused on individuals aged 20 to 60 who were diagnosed between 2007 and 2017. They reached out to the affected individuals with three controls for each, inviting them to participate in the study. Ultimately, the study comprised 1,398 lymphoma patients and 4,193 controls. The team then explored the relationship between tattooing and lymphoma incidence. Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, affects many young people, though it is among the less lethal types of cancer.

The study took into account various lifestyle factors, such as smoking and socioeconomic status, during its analysis. Although tattoos were identified as a risk factor for lymphoma, the lifestyle habits commonly associated with tattooed individuals, such as smoking and substance use, might also play a role in the heightened risk.

The researchers found no relationship between the size of the tattooed area and the incidence of lymphoma, which was unexpected. They suggested that this could be due to the time period between evaluating tattoo status and diagnosing lymphoma, during which some participants may have gotten additional tattoos, potentially causing misclassification. However, another explanation could be that any tattoo, regardless of its size, might induce a low-grade inflammation in the body, potentially leading to cancer.

This study is the most thorough so far in examining the potential link between tattoos and lymphoma, yet its conclusions are not conclusive. The results of the study highlight the necessity for additional research to explore the relationship. Nonetheless, it is generally considered safer to avoid getting tattoos than to have them.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Tattoos as a risk factor for malignant lymphoma: a population-based case–control study

The Effects of Ketogenic Eating on Cellular Lifespan

Ketogenic diets have been a very popular diet in the last few years but not without controversy and there have been no major studies on how the diet affects a person’s health. Some people use the diet to lose weight but it is also known to help manage childhood epilepsy, prohibiting neurodegenerative diseases and supporting cancer treatment. Many individuals also report feeling more energetic while experiencing other beneficial effects on the diet, although more comprehensive human studies are needed to confirm these claims.

It is controversial in the respect that in can increase levels of LDL cholesterol, which could lead to heart disease. It has also been reported to cause bone fractures and kidney stones in adults with epilepsy. The long-term effects of this diet are not known and gives reason to reconsider this diet. A new study has investigated the diet’s effects on cellular senescence in mice using two different keto diets with interesting results.

A keto diet is high in fats, whether saturated or unsaturated. The two diets used in the study had different amounts of these fats but largely had the same results. One diet consisted of no carbohydrates, 10% protein and 90% from fats. The other diet was balanced with most of the calories from carbohydrates and some from protein and fat. The mice all consumed the same amount of calories and no substantial weight gain was noted until after 21 days, where there was a slight increase.

What was noted at the end of 21 days was an elevation of senescent cells in the heart of 15-20%. Also, there was a marked increase on cellular senescence in liver and kidney tissue. The mice displayed signs of metabolic dysregulation with higher levels of triglycerides, and LDL and HDL cholesterol. Significant levels of pro-inflammatory molecules, which can affect surrounding cells were also found.

The effects on the mice after 90 days on the keto diet were insignificant, but after 180 days showed a marked increase. This leads one to wonder what the long-term effects might be of this diet. When the mice were put back on a regular diet their senescence cells returned to normal, suggesting the damage could be reversible for a certain time period. The effects of the keto diet occurred in both younger and older mice, therefore, the diet affects all age groups the same.

The study results contend that the keto diet is intricate, manifesting both advantages and drawbacks that are influenced by a range of elements. Items as diet timing, its makeup, and the individual’s genetic profile, hormonal influences, and health status need to all be taken into consideration. Therefore, it is suggested that the starting a ketogenic diet should be evaluated and assessed to decide who might or might not see improvements from this nutritional strategy.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Ketogenic diet induces p53-dependent cellular senescence in multiple organs

The Association Between Belly Fat and Cognitive Decline

More than 60 million people globally are currently affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and projections suggest this number could rise to 78 million in the next seven years. Given these figures, it’s crucial to allocate resources towards mitigating the disease. Recent insights suggest that addressing belly fat could be a key strategy in reducing Alzheimer’s risk.

The human body contains two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat accounts for 90% of body fat and is the layer you can pinch with your fingers. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is hidden deep within the abdomen, encasing the internal organs and is not pinchable. Experts consider visceral fat to be the more hazardous of the two, as its accumulation is linked to a higher risk of various health problems, including diabetes and potentially Alzheimer’s disease.

Recently, researchers focused on investigating the connection between visceral fat and Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike previous studies that correlated BMI with brain degeneration and a heightened dementia risk, this new study is the first to connect a specific type of fat to Alzheimer’s disease proteins in individuals who are cognitively normal. The analysis included 54 adults that were cognitively health and aged between 40 and 60, with a BMI that averaged 32. The researchers measured several health indicators, as well as levels of subcutaneous and visceral fat.

According to the results published in the journal Aging and Disease, the study found that excess visceral fat correlated with increased levels of amyloid, an abnormal protein, in areas of the brain that are among the first affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the research uncovered a relationship between higher amounts of visceral fat and the shrinkage of gray matter in regions of the brain crucial for memory, a process known as brain atrophy. This observation is critical as brain atrophy serves as another significant biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.

The study revealed that individuals with greater amounts of visceral fat typically exhibited more inflammation in extensive white matter tracts within the brain. White matter is essential for creating connections between brain cells and the rest of the nervous system, and any interference can impair the brain’s communication with other areas and the body. Additionally, the researchers observed that male participants showed a stronger correlation between belly fat and amyloid levels, likely due to their higher visceral fat compared to women.

Given that Alzheimer’s disease can begin to develop in the brain two decades before symptoms first emerge, the researchers intend to investigate the long-term effects of visceral fat by conducting follow-up studies with the participants. This approach underscores the necessity for further research to validate their initial findings.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Alzheimer Disease Pathology and Neurodegeneration in Midlife Obesity: A Pilot Study

Consistent Lack of Sleep Can Damage Immune Stem Cells

A new study by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has uncovered a connection between poor sleep quality and serious health risks. People who consistently miss out on an hour and a half of sleep per night are more susceptible to inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular disease, as well as weakened immunity levels.

Our immune system works hard to keep us protected from infection. This study is the first to show that sleep disruption alters our DNA structure in stem cells responsible for producing white blood cells. Its effects on inflammation may be long-lasting. Even catching up on some lost shut-eye won’t necessarily protect us against these dangers.

Researchers studied the effects that insufficient sleep can have on our immune systems. They had 14 healthy adults track their regular 8-hour sleeping patterns for 6 weeks, then reduce this time by 90 minutes each night over another 6 week period. They monitored any changes in blood samples and hematopoietic cells afterwards. Astonishingly, it was found that inadequate sleep led to an increased number of these cells as well as structural alterations to elemental DNA strands – indicating a negative impact from not getting enough rest.

Research into the effects of sleep on immune health took a novel direction with an innovative study utilizing mouse models. Mice were subjected to disruptions in their normal sleep patterns as well from 16 weeks of uninterrupted recovery. During this time investigators collected and analyzed both stem cells and other immune cells from each group. Results indicated that fragmented sleep induced dramatic changes in the mice’s immunity. It showed increased numbers of individual cellular components along with evidence suggesting some level reprogramming or rewiring had occurred, which was also consistent among human participants. This study reveals the powerful connection between sleep and immune system health. In humans and mice, not getting enough rest can cause a decrease in protective immunological effects which leave us more prone to infection, even months later.

Insufficient sleep patterns can have far-reaching effects on our health. The findings show that even weeks of recovery rest are not always enough to reverse the damage, creating a molecular imprint in our immune stem cells. Unexpectedly, this imprint affects some cell clusters differently than others – with some pools growing larger and other becoming smaller over time. The reduction resulting from changes in diversity and aging poses serious risks for cardiovascular diseases as well as inflammation problems.

These findings explicitly state why it is so important for adults of all ages to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. This helps keep inflammation at bay while also protecting those with medical conditions against potential disease risks.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Sleep exerts lasting effects on hematopoietic stem cell function and diversity

The Secret Behind Stem Cells’ Remarkable Longevity

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have a remarkable longevity compared to other cells in the body. These are the cells responsible for forming blood. They produce progenitor cells that rapidly divide and generate hundreds of billions of cells each day. These cells are essential for meeting the body’s daily needs, from oxygen-transporting red blood cells and immune-defending white blood cells to clot-producing platelets.

Typically inactive within the bone marrow, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can spring into action to continuously regenerate blood cells, helping to maintain their youthful function over an organism’s lifespan. What is the key to their longevity? Researchers have discovered that cyclophilin A, an enzyme produced in high levels by HSCs, plays a critical role in preserving their ability to regenerate and resist the aging process.

A major factor in cellular aging is the buildup of proteins that are no longer functional. As cells age, proteins are prone to misfolding, aggregating, and accumulating within the cell, creating toxic stress that impairs cell function. Cells that divide regularly, such as progenitor cells, can mitigate this buildup by diluting protein aggregates during cell division. However, long-lived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which seldom divide, encounter the challenge of accumulated misfolded proteins and the resulting toxic stress. Despite this, HSCs continue to resist the effects of aging.

In their study with mice, researchers initially analyzed the protein composition of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and identified cyclophilin A as a common chaperone protein. They found that the levels of cyclophilin A were notably reduced in older HSCs. When cyclophilin A was genetically removed, it led to accelerated aging in the stem cell population. Conversely, reintroducing cyclophilin A into older HSCs improved their functionality. These results underscore the crucial role of cyclophilin A in maintaining the longevity of HSCs.

Following this, the researchers examined the proteins that interact with cyclophilin A, focusing on how it helps maintain their stability. They discovered that proteins featuring intrinsically disordered regions, which can shift their three-dimensional shapes to bind with various proteins, nucleic acids, or molecules, are often stabilized by cyclophilin A. These intrinsically disordered proteins play a crucial role in regulating cellular processes by facilitating targeted interactions between molecules.

The study indicates that cyclophilin A engages with intrinsically disordered proteins right from their synthesis, ensuring they adopt the correct shapes and are present in adequate amounts. Removing cyclophilin A genetically leads to a noticeable deficiency of intrinsically disordered proteins in stem cells. This research reveals for the first time that the production of disordered proteins and the preservation of their structural variety within cells are critical factors in the aging of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).

To view the original scientific study click below:
Cyclophilin A supports translation of intrinsically disordered proteins and affects haematopoietic stem cell ageing

Exploring the Health Risks of Modern Earphone Use

An earphone user reported that after using AirPods for some time, he developed a persistent high-pitched tone in his ears. He has always taken great care to protect his hearing, avoiding loud noises and carrying earplugs to shield himself from potential harmful sounds. Despite these precautions, his condition worsened. He noticed that even when he inserts his AirPods and doesn’t play any audio, they emit a high-pitched tone that closely mimics his tinnitus. This experience has led him to believe that the AirPods might have caused his tinnitus.

AirPods and similar earphones are the most popular choices among teenagers today. The rise of wireless earphones has significantly influenced how different generations use these devices, with younger people adopting them more widely than older ones. However, the core issue isn’t the type of earphones used but rather a widespread problem: irresponsible usage. The allure of convenient features like wireless connectivity, noise cancellation, and improved sound quality has led to increased overuse, exacerbating the problem.

It is estimated that 20% of teenagers are at risk of experiencing hearing loss, partly because of their frequent use of headphones and earphones. A review revealed that between 6-60% of earphone users exhibit signs of hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing and tinnitus. Meanwhile, the use of earphones among young people is on the rise. A poll conducted in February involving parents of children aged 5 to 12 found that two-thirds of them reported their children regularly use headphones and earphones.

It’s commonly understood that loud noises can harm hearing. However, even listening at low volumes for prolonged periods can be detrimental. Many people use their earphones throughout the day, while working, at home, and even during sleep. Although the volume may not always be high, wearing earphones for extended hours can still strain the ears.

The cochlea, situated behind the eardrum within our ears, is crucial for converting sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Extended earphone use can stress and damage the cells in the cochlea, potentially leading to hearing loss if some cells die. Continuously wearing earphones in the ear canals creates a humid and congested environment, increasing the risk of ear infections. Additionally, in-ear earphones generate more pressure inside the ear compared to over-ear headphones.

Research indicates a strong connection between chronic tinnitus, hearing loss, and increased brain activity. The majority of those with tinnitus have some degree of hearing impairment, where the brain lacks sound input at specific frequencies. Individuals with mild tinnitus might not always perceive the phantom noises when ambient sounds in their surroundings help mask the tinnitus. However, the high-pitched noises become more apparent in quiet settings, when wearing ear protection, or while using noise-canceling earphones.

It is advised that earphones be used at a maximum volume of 85 decibels, similar to the noise level of a food blender or heavy city traffic, to avoid hearing damage. Additionally, it’s recommended to take breaks from earphones every two hours, even at lower volumes, to prevent ear fatigue. People who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus can still enjoy earphones by limiting their usage. For those concerned about ear infections, over-ear headsets are a safer option. Earphones, which are positioned close to the eardrums, can create more pressure in the ear canal than headphones, potentially worsening hearing loss and contributing to headaches.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Associations between adolescents’ earphone usage in noisy environments, hearing loss, and self-reported hearing problems in a nationally representative sample of South Korean middle and high school students

New Study Reveals Unexpected Sleep Functions

For many years, the prevailing theory was that sleep helped the brain eliminate harmful molecules. However, recent preliminary research on mice suggests this might not be the case. A new study aims to delve deeper into the reasons we need sleep, potentially challenging our initial assumptions. Findings now indicate that physical activity could be more effective than sleep in aiding the brain’s detoxification process.

The scientific community has long emphasized the notion that sleep aids in clearing toxins as a primary reason for sleep, so it was quite surprising to observe contrary results. The research team mentioned that their findings, which were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, require validation in human studies to confirm these unexpected results.

Previously, it was believed that the brain’s glymphatic system played a crucial role in waste removal during sleep. Yet, a study involving the tracking of fluid movement in mouse brains with a fluorescent dye revealed surprising results. Their findings showed a diminished capacity for toxin removal during sleep and under anesthesia. Specifically, sleeping mice were 30% less efficient at clearing the dye compared to their awake counterparts, and the clearance rate for anesthetized mice dropped by 50%.

The researchers noted that the molecule size might influence the speed at which toxins are transported through the brain, with some substances being eliminated via alternate systems. Currently, it remains unclear why states such as sleep or anesthesia slow down the brain’s molecular clearance. The next phase of their research will focus on understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon. Additionally, the team plans to investigate whether these findings are consistent in human subjects.

Disrupted sleep frequently affects those with dementia, yet it remains uncertain whether this is a result of the disease or a contributing factor to its progression. It is possible that quality sleep plays a role in reducing the risk of dementia for reasons beyond toxin clearance.

Another aspect of the study demonstrates that toxin clearance in the brain is highly efficient during wakefulness. Generally, being awake, active, and engaging in exercise may enhance the brain’s ability to rid itself of toxins more effectively.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Brain clearance is reduced during sleep and anesthesia

Aligning Eating Schedules with Your Body Clock for Longevity

A recent study on mice has revealed that circadian rhythms, which regulate daily physiological processes, are not solely governed by a central clock in the brain. Instead, they involve a more intricate system where molecular clocks in both the brain and muscle tissue work together to maintain muscle health and function. The research further indicates that adjusting these clocks through changes in meal timing could potentially preserve muscle function in the elderly.

In the study researchers employed a mouse model called Bmal1 knockout (KO), which inhibits the expression of the Bmal1 clock gene in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This is the region in the brain responsible for regulating circadian rhythms. In this model, however, they were able to restore Bmal1 expression in various tissues, including skeletal muscle. The KO mice exhibited unusual patterns of activity and inactivity, oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, and glucose and lipid oxidation compared to wild-type mice, demonstrating disrupted circadian rhythms due to the absence of the Bmal1 gene.

By 26 weeks, the knockout (KO) mice had experienced a decrease in both weight and muscle mass compared to their condition at 10 weeks, along with evidence of mitochondrial damage in their muscles. However, when the expression of the gene was reinstated in both the muscle and brain of certain mice, their muscle mass and strength were maintained. This led researchers to conclude that interaction between the clocks in the brain and muscle is essential to stave off early muscle aging.

As individuals grow older, their sleep-wake cycles undergo changes, and they also experience a loss of muscle mass. This study proposes that these phenomena are closely linked. Typically, aging leads to an adjustment in sleep patterns, with older adults tending to wake up earlier in the morning and go to bed earlier in the evening. However, for some elderly individuals, especially those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, sleep patterns may become highly erratic and fragmented.

This research has discovered a potential method to restore the functioning of circadian clocks in both the brain and muscles. By adopting a time-restricted feeding regimen for older adult mice, the scientists were able to revive rhythmic gene expression in the muscle tissue, effectively preventing the decline in muscle function.

These results shed light on potential physiological shifts that occur with aging and how time-restricted eating could potentially counteract these changes. However, confirmation through human trials is necessary before drawing extensive conclusions about the effects of the circadian clock on human aging. It remains unclear whether such dietary strategies could help prevent muscle aging in people. The observation that limiting food intake to the active phase of mice partially reinstated the function of the central clock and bolstered the skeletal clock underscores the significant role that timing of eating plays in supporting circadian rhythms.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Brain-muscle communication prevents muscle aging by maintaining daily physiology

Stem Cells Enhance Memory and Combat Inflammation in Mice

Typically, when discussing potential treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease, the focus tends to be on amyloid proteins and the plaques that form in the brain. Yet, recent studies suggest that the disease is influenced by a broader range of factors, such as neuroinflammation and metabolic imbalances. In a significant breakthrough, a team from Michigan Medicine has demonstrated that transplanting human neural stem cells into a mouse model of Alzheimer’s not only enhances memory but also diminishes neuroinflammation. This research highlights a promising new direction for therapeutic approaches.

The transplantation of human neural stem cells into the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s Disease yielded positive results, even though amyloid plaque levels did not change. This supports the idea that targeting neuroinflammation could be an effective therapeutic approach, separate from strategies focusing on amyloid plaques. Furthermore, the treatment normalized inflammation in the microglia, the brain’s primary immune cells, which become hyperactive in Alzheimer’s Disease. As the disease advances, the inflammatory activity of microglia is believed to play a role in the loss of neurons.

The researchers implanted neural stem cells into the memory-related regions of genetically modified mice that carried mutations linked to familial Alzheimer’s Disease. Eight weeks after the transplantation, both the test group and the control group of mice were subjected to the Morris water maze, a test used to evaluate spatial memory and learning abilities.

Researchers discovered that mice with Alzheimer’s Disease, after receiving stem cell transplants, showed restored learning capabilities that matched those of control mice with normal memory functions. Further analysis using spatial transcriptomics, a technique for mapping gene expression across different brain regions, indicated that over 1,000 genes had their expression normalized in the memory centers of the Alzheimer’s mice post-transplantation.

When examining changes in gene expression within microglia, researchers found that genetic markers associated with Alzheimer’s Disease progression had returned to levels nearly identical to those in control mice. This indicates a decrease in neuroinflammation and a potential slowing of the disease.

The scientists emphasized that the positive results observed following the stem cell transplantation need further exploration in mouse models before progressing to studies in larger animals and, ultimately, human trials. This research is crucial and further reinforces the potential of stem cell therapies in treating neurodegenerative diseases. These preliminary studies are essential initial steps toward developing stem cell treatments.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Human neural stem cells restore spatial memory in a transgenic Alzheimer’s disease mouse model by an immunomodulating mechanism