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Longevity Daily: 11th August, 2020

Posted on 11 August 2020

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Everyday our team of researchers in Oxford are inundated with scientific, and medical research articles that have the potential to improve health, wellbeing, and longevity. In this blog we highlight a few of them that caught our attention today.

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  1. Longevity researchers have known that shorter telomeres (the end caps of chromosomes) in humans signals ill health due to increase in age related diseases. In addition, as the telomeres decrease in length the cells try to protect themselves from any further damage by becoming senescent. These senescent cells are also responsible for many age related diseases. Although both telomere attrition, and senescent cells are known to cause aging there isn’t a good way to measure them to define a person’s risk of mortality.
    • Researchers at IBM and Stanford may have finally found a quantitative way to measure the mathematical relationship between telomere length, senescence, and mortality.
    • In their recently published yet-to-be-peer-reviewed preprint they show that using only 3 parameters based on telomere length measurement data of Canadians they can calculate both the magnitude and the age dependence of the mortality rate, for both men and women.
    • The authors also mention that this finding provides strong proof that telomere attrition, and senescence due to telomere attrition are major contributors to the biological aging process. This process leads to age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, many cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

  2. In this blog we often talk about various research findings that will enable all of us to live long disease free lives, but we must not forget that some medical (or pseudo-medical) practices may also cause harm.
    • A case-study published by ophthalmologists in the US report a case of of a 59-year-old female who had an acute, painless constant appearance of three spots in her vision immediately after a chiropractor performed cervical spinal manipulation using the high-velocity, low-amplitude technique. The patient described the spots as “tadpoles” that were constantly present in her vision. She noted the first spot while driving home immediately following a chiropractor neck adjustment, and became more aware that there were two additional spots the following day.
    • The specialists concluded that chiropractor neck manipulation has previously been reported leading to complications related to the carotid artery and arterial plaques. They mention that this presents the first case of multiple unilateral pre-retinal haemorrhages immediately following chiropractic neck manipulation. This suggests that chiropractor spinal adjustment can not only affect the carotid artery, but also could lead to pre-retinal haemorrhages (damage your eyes).

  3. Calorie restriction and fasting are well known to enhance healthy aging, and can achieve dramatic lifespan extension in animal models. However, most people find it difficult to adhere to extreme diets. Thus, more easily achievable diets that mimic the effects of fasting may be helpful to many.
    • This randomised controlled trial studied the effectiveness of a fasting-mimicking diet (low in calories, sugars, and protein but high in unsaturated fats) on markers and risk factors associated with aging and age-related diseases.
    • Three monthly 5-day cycles of this diet reduced body weight, total body fat, and lowered metrics of ageing including blood pressure, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

  4. Milk is counted among the most essential food staples, playing an important part in the diet of many of us, whether that be on our morning cereal or as part of our daily coffee or tea. This is why it may be worrying to discover that the link between milk consumption and the risk of developing prostate cancer has been well documented in multiple epidemiological studies. However, there has been limited research into discerning the association between milk type (semi-skimmed, low fat, full fat) with cancer risk.
    • This systematic review explores the literature to determine the differing effects on prostate cancer risk, of milk types classified by fat content.
    • The researchers concluded that “clinicians may recommend to the patients who are at higher risk of prostate cancer development to eliminate or reduce the consumption of milk or milk products, especially those with high fat content.

  5. Aging is a major risk factor for most chronic diseases, underlying molecular mechanisms that lead to disease susceptibility are largely unknown. Studying changes in gene expression in the context of chronological aging can lead to discoveries of metabolic pathways, which can be targeted for anti-aging therapies.
    • This large -scale meta-analysis of human age-related gene expression have found that 1,497 genes are expressed differently with age.
    • Among them, the expression of genes encoding mitochondrial ribosomal proteins has been decreased with age, which supports the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a major role in aging.

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