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Longevity Daily: 14th August, 2020

Posted on 14 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.

  1. Longevity researchers are constantly searching for anatomical signs, and physiological symptoms that can account for the rate of our individual biological degradation due to aging. These are known as the biomarkers of aging. Biomarkers of aging could also be excellent targets for treatments that could restore our youth, and vitality.
    • In search for biomarkers of aging researchers from Spain published a recent paper where they study the genomes of people suffering from psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia (SCZ) and Bipolar Disorder (BD).
    • The researchers correctly hypothesized that since people with Schizophrenia, and/or Bipolar Disorder have shorter lifespans therefore studying their genomes might yield insights into genomic impact on longevity.
    • Comparing SCZ and BD genomes with genomes from people with normal longevity the researchers discovered a total of 47 new genomic regions (SCZ (n = 39), and BD (n = 8)).
    • There researchers also learnt that over 60% of these genomic regions in people with Schizophrenia, and/or Bipolar Disorder impacted more than one biological process, and they were responsible for reduction in lifespan.
    • The researchers also explain that the genomic regions that were significantly associated with Schizophrenia seems to explain longevity better than many other life-threatening diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and most cancers, probably due to a high overlap with smoking-related pathways.

  2. In order to tackle any problem we need to figure out as early as possible about what could go wrong. This is the logic behind prenatal testing to capture any genomic, proteomic, or biochemical abnormalities in a developing child.
    • Currently, we use three different test to capture balanced chromosomal abnormalities (karyotype), copy number variants (microarray), and coding variants (whole exome sequencing [WES] or targeted gene panels).
    • In this yet-to-be-peer-reviewed publication researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, and Harvard University highlight that whole genome sequencing (WGS) is better than all three currently used techniques for prenatal abnormality testing.
    • The researchers report that WGS captured all diagnostic variants detected by microarray and WES as well as five additional diagnoses.
    • Their finding state “We observed that WGS was sensitive to the detection of all classes of pathogenic variation captured by three conventional tests. Moreover, diagnostic yields from WGS were superior to any individual genetic test, warranting further evaluation as a first-tier diagnostic approach.”

  3. Caloric restriction and fasting appear to be effective at reducing the risk factors for metabolic diseases. ”Bigu” is a relatively extreme fasting regimen practised in China that involves maintaining a low calorie intake (below 5% that of a normal diet) for 21 days.
    • This study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that this fasting practice did not result in any severe adverse effects amongst the 144 healthy participants or the 20 participants with metabolic disease.
    • Furthermore, fasting significantly reduced BMI and blood pressure in both groups.

  4. Cellular senescence is a state of arrested cell growth, which is triggered by reaching a threshold of mitotic cell divisions; this threshold is known as the Hayflick limit. The accumulation of senescent cells is one of the 9 hallmarks of aging. The cells in this state secrete high levels of cytokines, growth factors, immune modulators and proteases, which can lead to excessive inflammation, playing a significant role in a number of age-related diseases. This phenotypic state is called the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).
    • An association of SASP as a driver of multiple age-related conditions has recently emerged, making it a promising therapeutic target. However, the SASP is far more complex than it first seemed
    • A ‘SASP Atlas’ was recently curated by researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, in California, compiling a “comprehensive proteomic database of soluble proteins and exosomal cargo SASP factors originating from multiple senescence inducers and cell types”
    • The team identified multiple candidate biomarkers of cellular senescence that significantly correlate with aging markers in human plasma,, including GDF15, STC1 and SERPINs.
    • These novel SASP profiles compiled in the SASP Atlas offer a number of new potential senescence, aging, and disease biomarkers, which will hopefully help lead to improved therapeutics.

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