Fountain Of Youth: Aging May Be Reversed, Study Says
Many people fear the effects of aging on the body -- gray hair, wrinkles and niggling aches. Now, scientists found a new form of gene therapy shown to produce a rejuvenating effect in mice, reversing the effects of aging.
A team of scientists has found a way to turn back the clock on human and animal cells via a method they used to treat mice suffering from a rare disease that causes them to age prematurely and die earlier than their peers. In fact, the new discovery increased their life span by 30 percent.
After just six weeks of treatment, the animals did not only look younger but also had straighter spines and improved cardiovascular health. They also healed faster when injured.
Published in the journal Cell, the new study sheds light on the possibility of developing the ultimate "fountain of youth" for humans. The scientists, however, said that human trials could even take a decade to complete, The Guardian reports.
To slow or reverse aging in mice, the scientists at Salk Institute for Biological Studies tweaked genes that turn adult cells back into embryonic-like ones. They were able to extend the life of a mouse with an accelerated-aging condition.
Promising Fountain Of Youth
With the new discovery, scientists will be able to understand the process of aging better and it could provide a means to use a similar approach to curbing age-related diseases in humans. Thus, it will improve the health of people across the globe and increase life span.
"Our study shows that aging may not have to proceed in one single direction," study researcher Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor at Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory in La Jolla, California, said as reported by Live Science.
"Obviously, mice are not humans and we know it will be much more complex to rejuvenate a person," Izpisua Belmonte said. "But this study shows that aging is a very dynamic and plastic process, and therefore will be more amenable to therapeutic interventions than what we previously thought," he added.