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.
Longevity researchers all over the world are fervently trying to discover new ways to slow down the degenerative process of biological aging. Unfortunately, their search is complicated due to the difficulties of translating findings from model organisms such as worms, flies, and rodents into humans.
The researchers point out that although we can measure the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and the detailed metabolism of various organisms, yet we are lacking proper biomarkers for the prediction of the biological and phenotypic age of an organism.
Additionally, animal models, with the exception of non-human primates, do not adequately replicate physical and biochemical deficits in terms of human aging and age-related diseases.
Finally, by taking a look at global clinical trials the researchers found that exercise, fasting and calorie restriction are the interventions with the highest number of clinical trials that target aging as a condition followed by the compounds resveratrol, metformin, and NAD precursors (NAD+, NR, and NMN).
Our limbic system supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and smell. Therefore the researchers suggest that it is vitally important for us to find out how and why certain natural compounds rejuvenate our brain and nervous system, and then use that knowledge to design optimal brain anti-aging medicine.
Mitochondria, the cell’s energy factories, have been increasingly recognised to play an important role in the ageing process. Most chronic diseases of ageing involve mitochondrial dysfunction, which disrupts a range of cellular processes including metabolism and stress response. One facet of mitochondrial dysfunction is the decline of a molecule called NAD+.
In this paper, researchers in Switzerland report the development of a bioluminescent probe that can be used to measure mitochondrial membrane potential (and indicator of mitochondrial function) in living and non-living cells.
Using this, they were able to show that nicotinamide riboside, a precursor to NAD+, can revert age-related changes in mitochondrial membrane potential. This reveals one of the mechanisms of action of nicotinamide riboside as a potential anti-ageing molecule.
Not only are they widely known as they fairer sex, but in human populations, women are consistently shown to be the longer lived sex. With women living on average 6-8 years longer than their male counterparts, according to the WHO, and of those living to 110+ years of age, 90% are women.
A study primarily carried out at the University of Lyon, published earlier this year, looked at whether this trend was similar in other wild mammal species
They found that female’s median lifespan is on average 18.6% longer than that of males, across 101 different species of mammals
The study also revealed that contrary to widespread belief, sex differences in lifespan are due to “complex interactions between local environmental conditions and sex-specific reproductive costs”, rather than due to life history strategies.
Ketone bodies serve as an alternative source of energy to glucose in our organism. They are usually produced by the liver during periods of starvation or intense physical activity. Recently, the ketogenic diet became very popular, where the production of ketone bodies is encouraged by cutting the consumption of carbohydrates. The systemic impact on our health from prolonged exposure to ketone bodies is poorly understood, although there are positive aspects to it.
In this review article, researchers from Poland report that ketone bodies enrich the transcription of certain genes and the majority of those genes are related in starvation-response metabolic pathways
Moreover, ketone bodies tend to protect neurones from oxidative stress by increasing the concentration of glutathione, major anti-oxidant in the cell.
There is evidence of ketone bodies have an anti-cancerous effect (especially against glioblastoma and neuroblastoma), as ketone bodies cause a decrease in insulin-like growth factors, which promote the proliferation of cancer cells.