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

Abstract
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.

New Link Between Diet, Intestinal Stem Cells and Disease

An unhealthy diet can increase the risk for diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal cancer. Researchers have discovered some new insights that help them better understand the connection between the molecular mechanisms responsible for this. The findings open an avenue for developing non-invasive therapies.

A person’s energy balance is maintained by the intestine and it reacts quickly when changes in its nutrient balance and nutrition occur. It does this with the assistance of intestinal cells along with food absorption and hormone secretion. Every 5-7 days these cells regenerate.

Intestinal stem cells are constantly renewing and developing into intestinal cells. This ability is critical for the digestive system to maintain normal adaptability. An unhealthy diet consisting of fats and sugar disrupt this adaptation and can lead to the development of gastrointestinal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

The research team wanted to find out the molecular mechanisms contributing to this maladptation. They assumed that intestinal stem cells play an important role. By using mice, they measured how a diet high in fats and sugar affected the cells and then compared the results to a control group.

Their findings showed that the size of the small intestine increased substantially with the unhealthy diet. They then compared 27,000 intestinal cells from the high fat/high sugar diet group to the control group. The intestinal stem cells divided and changed faster in the mice on the unhealthy diet. The team hypothesized this happens due to an upregulation of the signaling pathways that links an acceleration of tumor growth in many types of cancer. This is a probable important link that diet influences metabolic signaling leading to an excessive growth of intestinal stem cells and a high risk of gastrointestinal cancer.

With a high resolution technique, the team were able to study cell types that are rare in the intestine. They demonstrated that an unhealthy diet produces less serotonin in the intestine. The study also showed that absorbing cells adapt to the high fat diet and the functionality increases which produces weight gain.

The findings lead to a new understanding of disease mechanisms that are linked to a high calorie diet. They are of critical importance for the development of alternative non-invasive therapies. As of now there are no pharmacological approaches to stop, prevent or reverse diabetes and obesity. Only bariatric surgery can cause permanent weight loss and can lead to a remission of diabetes. These surgeries are non-reversible, invasive and costly.

New non-invasive therapies could be a reality at the hormonal level through targeted regulation of serotonin levels. The group will be examining this and other approaches in later studies.

To view the original scientific study click below:Diet-induced alteration of intestinal stem cell function underlies obesity and prediabetes in mice

Is it Healthy to Eat at Night?

While it may be hard to fit nutritious meals into a busy day especially for someone who works late hours, it appears that eating at nighttime could be bad for your health.

In a study by the National Institutes of Health, a team divided 19 participants, both women and men, into two different groups with different schedules for meals. One group ate during the day, while the other group ate at night. The participants who ate at nighttime showed a 6.4% increase in glucose levels. This can lead to a variety of severe health issues including heart disease and diabetes.

The research reinforces that at what time you eat does matter for determining outcomes of health such as blood sugar levels. This is relevant for workers at night as they will usually eat while on their night shift.

If you do eat at night, there are a few things at play that can effect glucose levels. Typically a person eats easy to grab, highly processed foods that are high in calories, salt and sugar. And the inability to burn some of the calories before you go to bed can result in weight gain.

One of the most important things a person can do is to change eating habits by putting together a daytime routine. Staying away from erratic eating times and creating a consistent eating schedule will go a long way towards benefiting a persons health.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Daytime eating prevents internal circadian misalignment and glucose intolerance in night work

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New Discovery About the Anti-Aging Effects of Exercise

Scientists at Monash University in Australia have discovered a new enzyme that works to improve our health through exercise. Promoting the enzyme’s activity helps protect against the results of aging, improves metabolic health and can reduce type 2 diabetes.

The worldwide population over 60 years of age will increase substantially in the next 30 years. Type 2 diabetes incidence increases with age which will result in a larger number of cases in the future given current trends.

The increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes with aging is the developing inability of the body to respond to insulin. Often this is due to reduced exercise and physical activity as people age. However, it has remained a mystery how the exact mechanisms through which exercise and physical inactivity clear the way for the development of the resistance to insulin.

The team shows that skeletal muscle ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation through aging is key in the growth of resistance to insulin. Skeletal muscles will produce ROS and is increased through exercise. This then drives adaptive responses that are key to health benefits. Levels of the enzyme NOX4 in skeletal muscle are directly linked to age associated decline in sensitivity to insulin.

The research shows how the enzyme NOX4 is necessary for ROS to be induced from exercise and then trigger the responses needed for metabolic health. It is the key to the mechanism that can be targeted through drugs for protection against the consequences of aging.

Using mice the team found that NOX4 increases in skeletal muscle following exercise and leads to higher levels of ROS. This evokes adaptive responses that protected the mice from developing resistance to insulin which will otherwise happen with aging or an induced obesity diet. An abundance of skeletal muscle NOX4 in mice models led to a reduction in sensitivity to insulin.

By provoking the activation of the mechanisms coordinated by NOX4 with drugs, it might alleviate key aspects of aging including the development of type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin.

They did find that one of the compounds is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. However, the amount required for anti aging effects might be more than a person would want to consume.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Skeletal muscle NOX4 is required for adaptive responses that prevent insulin resistance

New Stem Cell Treatment to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

A new stem cell treatment has been developed to cure type 1 diabetes. An ongoing clinical trial by Vertex Pharmaceuticals has successfully treated the first patient. He had been living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years and was dependent on insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is a major disease affecting almost 1.6 million Americans. Keeping glucose levels in the normal range requires constant attention. Diabetics must check their blood sugar several times a day. This involves pricking a finger or wearing a glucose monitor. It is a life-threatening disease if not kept at bay.

There are many risks associated with the disease. It is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. Blood sugar level can plummet while a person is sleeping and can lead to leg amputation. It increases the chances of a stroke or heart attack and weakens the immune sys

The pancreas produces insulin and pancreas transplants are the current cure. There are also insulin producing clusters of cells, called islet cells that have been transplanted from a donor. The problem is that there is just not enough pancreas’ or donors to supply everyone.

It took many years to develop this tretment. This involved creating islet cells from stem cells. Finally, one night the experiment worked and functioning pancreatic islet cells had been made from embryonic stem cells.

The first patient in the clinical study had suffered 5 severe and potentially life-threatening episodes in the previous year. His blood sugar was extremely low during these occurrences. Tests revealed that his body was unable to create insulin.

For the trial, he was injected with the islet cells that were grown from stem cells. They were identical to the pancreatic cells that produce insulin lacking in his body. Since the injection his body now controls his blood sugar and insulin levels, curing the disease.

The result is remarkable. The clinical trials will continue for 5 years with 17 patients. The possibility of curing diabetes with this treatment could be life-changing.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Vertex Announces Positive Day 90 Data for the First Patient in the Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial Dosed With VX-880, a Novel Investigational Stem Cell-Derived Therapy for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Food Additive Alters Intestinal Environment and Human Microbiota

A new clinical research project has shown that the commonly used food additive carboxymethylcellulose will alter a healthy person’s intestinal environment. This will upset the levels of nutrients and good bacteria. The findings indicate that there needs to be further study on the impact of this food additive on the health of people.

Carboxymethycellulose, known as CMC, is a member of synthetic food additives called emulsifiers. They are used in a variety of processed foods to promote their shelf life and enhance texture. It has increasingly been used since the 1960s and has not been tested extensively in humans. It was thought that CMC was safe because the body eliminates it instead of absorbing it. However scientists are challenging this assumption because of the increasing value of health benefits from bacteria that live in the colon.

Tests on mice have shown that CMC and other emulsifiers did alter gut bacteria which resulted in more severe diseases. These included inflammatory conditions such as metabolic syndrome, colon cancer and colitis.

The researchers did a randomized, controlled study in volunteers that were healthy. The participants were housed at the site of the study. They consumed a diet that was additive free or the same diet with CMC. Due to the fact that the diseases CMC promotes in mice will take years to happen in humans, the team focused on metabolites and intestinal bacteria. They discovered that the consumption of CMC did change the make-up of bacteria that populate the colon by reducing some species. Also, fecal samples from the participants on the CMC diet showed an obvious depletion of the metabolites that are beneficial to maintain a healthy colon.

The team did colonoscopies on participants at the start and at the end of the research. They observed a subset of participants that consumed CMC had gut bacteria that encroached into the mucus. This has been previously noted to be a characteristic of type 2 diabetes and inflammation of the bowel. The consumption of CMC didn’t result in any particular disease during the two week study. But the results do support the conclusions of the animal studies that consuming CMC on a long term basis promote chronic inflammatory diseases. Further research of CMC is warranted.

It does disprove the argument that CMC just passes through the body to justify any lack of studies on the additive. Besides supporting the reason for further research of CMC, the current study does provide a blueprint to test individual additives that are added to food in a well controlled way.

The results have suggested that the CMC responses and most likely a variety of other additives to food are personalized. The team is now working on approaches to help predict which people might be sensitive to certain additives.

Click here to view the original scientific study:
Randomized controlled-feeding study of dietary emulsifier carboxymethylcellulose reveals detrimental impacts on the gut microbiota and metabolome

Repairing Muscles, Heart and Vocal Cords with Regenerative Medicine

Through the combination of physics, chemistry, engineering and biology, researchers have developed a biomaterial that is strong enough to repair muscles, vocal cords and the heart. This is a significant advance in regenerative medicine.

It is a difficult to recover from damage to the heart and vocal cords. The healing process can be a challenge. This is due to the constant tissue movement which has to withstand the beat of the heart or the vibration of the vocal cords. Until now there was not an injectable material that was durable enough to solve this problem.

The researchers developed an injectable hydrogel for wound repair. It is a type of biomaterial that provides an area for cells to grow and live. After injection into the body it forms a porous, stable structure. This allows the growth of live cells which then pass through the material into the injured organ in order to repair it.

To test the strength of the hydrogel, the team used a special machine to mimic the extreme biomechanics of vocal cords. It vibrated at 120 times per second for more than 6 million cycles. The newly developed hydrogel remained intact while current hydrogels fractured into pieces as they were unable to handle the load stress.

The test was a success. Prior to their research, no injectable hydrogels combined both toughness and high porosity. To solve this problem, a pore-forming polymer was added to their formula.

They hope that the hydrogel can be used in the future for implantation in people with vocal cord damage to restore their voice.

The new work opens up avenues for a variety of other applications such as tissue engineering, drug delivery and creating sample tissues for the screening of drugs.

This demonstrates the synergy of mechanical engineering, materials science and bioengineering for the creation of novel biomaterials with exceptional performance. They are looking forward to testing them in the clinic.

Click here to view the original scientific study:
Injectable, Pore-Forming, Perfusable Double-Network Hydrogels Resilient to Extreme Biomechanical Stimulations

Pairing Exercise with Fasting Can Maximize Health Benefits

A recent study has shown than exercising at the start of a fast might help maximize health benefits of temporarily going without food and boost overall health benefits.

The team set to find out if they could increase metabolism while fasting with exercise and how fast the body will enter ketosis. Ketosis happens when the body runs out of glucose and will start using fat that is stored for energy. This produces a byproduct known as ketones. Ketones are a healthy source of energy for the heart and brain and also help combat conditions such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The team asked 20 adults who were healthy to complete two 36-hour fasts while staying hydrated. Each fast started after a standard meal. Initially, the fast began without exercise. The second fast the participants performed a challenging treadmill workout. Every two hours and while awake, the participants completed mood and hunger assessments and recorded the levels of BHB (B-hydroxybutyrate) which is similar to a ketone chemical.

The results showed that exercise did make a big difference. When the participants exercised they entered ketosis on the average 3 1/2 hours earlier during the fast and produced 43% more BHB. The thought is that the initial exercise will burn through a considerable amount of the glucose which prompts a faster way to ketosis. Without the exercise, the participants went into ketosis 20 to 24 hours in to the fast.

One study co-author said the hardest time for fasting is the period between 20 to 24 hours. If a person could end the fast before 24 hours and still obtain the same health outcomes it would be beneficial. If exercising was begun at the start of the fast they could get even more benefits.

There are some caveats however to this proposed strategy:

If you consume a huge meal or load up on carbs before beginning the fast, you might not hit ketosis for days even with exercise. Therefore, you should consume your food moderately before the fast.

They also do not know the best frequency for fasting. The are some people who should not fast such as someone with Type 1 diabetes. This could be detrimental to fast 24/7. However, for most people it is perfectly healthy and safe to fast one time or even two times a week for 24 hours or more.

The study which included running on a treadmill for an average of 45 to 50 minutes also did not establish an ideal type or amount of exercise for each person. The researchers believe that overall the more energy that is burned, the better.

A person can get a pretty good estimate of how many calories they are burning with most exercises and the carbs they burn off. Thus, the stage is set for entering ketosis early in the fast.

Also, it is noted that according to the participants, exercise did not seem to affect moods or aggravate hunger during the fast. People can be grumpier when fasting however, the team found that you are not going to feel any worse with the exercise routine.

Click here to view the original scientific study:
The Effects of Exercise on Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Concentrations over a 36-h Fast: A Randomized Crossover Study

Exercise and the Body’s Own Endocannabinoids Reduce Inflammation

Through exercise the body produces endocannabinoids which help reduce inflammation. This potentially helps with treatments for diseases such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

In a recent study, researchers found that intervention with exercise could not only reduce pain in people with arthritis but also lower levels of inflammatory substances which are known as cytokines. Exercise also raised the levels of endocannabinoids that are produced by the body. The way in which exercise caused these changes was by the alteration of the gut microbiome.

The study consisted of 78 participants that had arthritis. Thirty eight exercised for 15 minutes a day for six weeks with movements that strengthen muscles. The rest of the participants did not exercise at all.

Following the 6 week period the participants that had exercised reduced their pain. But what was interesting was that they also showed more gut microbes. These types of gut microbes were shown to produce anti-inflammatory substances, decreased levels of cytokines and increased levels of endocannabinoids.

The higher levels of endocannabinoids was firmly linked to changes in the microbes in the gut and anti-inflammatory substances known as SCFAS. At least 1/3 of the anti-inflammatory effects of the microbes in the gut were due to the increase of the endocannabinoids.

The study shows how exercise increases the body’s own endocannabinoids which can have a significant effect on many conditions.

It is helpful that a simple lifestyle change such as exercise can modulate endocannabinoids.

To view the original scientific study click below:
The anti-inflammatory effect of bacterial short chain fatty acids is partially mediated by endocannabinoids