The Secret To Living Longer Is Out AND Living 15% Longer Is Not Far Off

This week, Nature Journal revealed incredible science and research, showing a pea sized component of the brain that contains stem cells is vital to delaying aging and extending lifespan.

This breakthrough shows hypothalamus (a very small part of the brain) controls aging.  The treated mice remained fitter and lived 10-15% longer.

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York are aiming to launch clinical trials on humans shortly.

These stem cells keep a tight rein on aging. As their numbers decline naturally with time or if their function is disrupted, the body’s organs and metabolic processes age faster and death occurs earlier.

“Of course humans are more complex,” said Dongsheng Cai, who led the research. However, humans are likely to respond to the influence of hypothalamus stem cells in just the same way, scientists believe.

Previous experiments had already hinted that the hypothalamus, an almond-sized part of the brain in humans, played some role in the aging process, but what it actually was remained unclear until now.

In the first of a series of experiments in mice, the U.S.A. Team led by Cai showed that neural stem cells, which are found in a handful of brain regions at birth, disappear from the hypothalamus over time. The stem cells are known to form fresh brain cells in youth, but the process slows down dramatically in adults. Though small, the hypothalamus forms a crucial connection between the body’s nervous and hormonal systems.

To test whether the decline in stem cells was causing aging, and not itself a result of old age, the researchers injected mice with a toxin that wiped out 70% of their neural stem cells. The effect was striking. Over the next few months the mice aged more rapidly than usual, and performed much worse than the controlled group on a battery of tests of endurance, coordination, social behavior and ability to recognize objects.  “The mice aged faster when these cells were removed during early aging,” Cai said. The animals died months earlier than the healthy controlled animals.  Also when the stem cells in middle-aged mice were selectively disrupted artificially, it led to “greatly accelerated aging”.

Next, the scientists looked at what happened when aged mice received injections of fresh neural stem cells. This time the mice lived longer than controls, typically several months more, an increase of 15%. If a similar extension was achieved in humans, a person with a life expectancy of 80 years could live to age 92.

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Journal Reference:

Yalin Zhang, Min Soo Kim, Baosen Jia, Jingqi Yan, Juan Pablo Zuniga-Hertz, Cheng Han, Dongsheng Cai. Hypothalamic stem cells control aging speed partly through exosomal miRNAsNature, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/nature23282

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