Thursday, August 18

Could Mice Be the Key to Reversing the Aging Process?

There may never come a time when people stop looking for anti-aging treatments. From Botox, to collagen, to facial fillers, people are continuously searching for a way to reverse the aging process. A new study shows that young mice could hold the key to the fountain of youth.

A few days ago, scientists from Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Francisco, published findings that found pumping older mice with the blood of younger mice reversed the aging process in the older mice. Research showed that four weeks after the older mice had been injected with the young blood, they were able to stay on the treadmill for a longer period of time, and latent blood vessels in their brains were activated, adding strength to their hearts and muscles. The stem cells in these areas of the mice’s bodies were also revitalized.

The same research was conducted decades ago, but scientists were unable to figure out how the age reversing process worked. Now, they are certain that through parabiosis, a procedure that weaves together the circulatory systems of both mice, a protein in the blood of younger mice plays a role in stimulating stem cells, memory, and stamina in older mice.

The buzz surrounding this research comes from its implications for humans. Scientists are considering how this same protein from young mice could help reverse the aging process in humans as well. If clinical trials prove successful, this protein in young mice could have a significant impact on age-related diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. The effect could be similar to what older mice experienced, with amplified activity in the brain, greater memory, and even enhanced neuron function.

But these hopes are quelled by the fact that human trials have not been conducted as of yet. There is also no guarantee that the protein will work in the human system, as human and mice brains function differently. A neurology professor at Stanford warned that because the aging process in humans is complicated, it is not likely that simply using a protein will be enough to regain youthfulness. These studies were also only administered to one particular strain of mice, and need further trials to be more conclusive for all mice.

Even still, researchers are hopeful that further research will prove this protein is of use to humans in fighting diseases and failing bodily functions. While there are currently no studies to confirm these speculations, clinical trials on humans are set to begin later on this year.

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