A research team at the University of New South Wales claims to have found a way to reverse some of the symptoms of aging in mice.
The study focuses on mitochondrial dysfunction, the breakdown of a cell's energy-producing structures. Researchers traced the cause of this breakdown to a communication pathway with the cell's nucleus, which wears down over time. (Via YouTube / Mike Astrachan)
To counteract this breakdown, researchers gave lab mice a chemical compound designed to help restore the worn-out connection.
The results were remarkable: after seven days of treatment, the older mice displayed similar physiology as their younger counterparts. "In human years, this would be like a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old in these specific areas." (Via Harvard University)
But contrary to some of the headlines about this study, a way to turn back the clock for humans is still a long way off. Sorry, Daily Mail. (Via Sunday Express)
The NHS points out stories about reversing the signs of age in lab mice have been fairly common in the past. "Sadly, such stories tend to be based on lab research in cells or parts of cells, such as telomeres and mitochondria."
Although an age-reversing pill might be too much to hope for, researcher Nigel Turner says further studies could help eliminate some of the harmful effects of getting older.
"There's a number of diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer that we know can creep up, and they become more prevalent as we get older. And we really want to try to prevent or delay the onset of those diseases." (Via ABC (Australia))
The study was published Dec. 19 in the journal Cell. Researchers are hoping to start human trials sometime next year.