Friday, April 17, 2009

New Discovery of Biochemical Pathway to Retard Aging

This is very exciting news!

Scientists have long known that calorie restriction confers a longevity benefit, but this new discovery reveals another pathway that could extend the health span-- activating the "hypoxic response" which occurs when oxygen is low.

The experiments reported in this paper in the latest issue of Science were conducted on nematode worms whose genes where altered to turn on a protective reaction which occurs when there is a drop in oxygen. In other words, researchers could simulate the effects of a drop in oxygen without there actually being a drop in oxygen (just like it is possible to simulate some of the effects of CR without actually reducing calories (see here)).

This new finding adds another potential route to pursue in terms of developing a pharmaceutical that retards aging in humans. Perhaps a drug that safely simulates the hypoxic response could help insulate aging populations from the diseases that kill most humans today.