Other Aging News for 2016

The harmful effects of the aging Asian population on the economy

December 15, 2016; Many Asian economies are currently faced with the challenge of rapidly ageing population, which can be harmful to the economy in the long run. The study, conducted by Dr Keisuke Otsu from the University's School of Economics with the results published in Asian Development Review, analysed the effects of projected population ageing on potential growth in Asian economies over the period 2015-2050 using quantitative assessment.

The study constructed a representative household model to analyse the effects of demographic transitions on the growth rate of per capita GDP. The predicted population ageing is harmful for economic growth because it leads to a shrink in the workforce relative to total population. While the predicted decline in total population growth mitigates this effect due to a lower capital dilution, overall, the model predicts a 0.21 percentage point decline in the annual per capita GDP growth rate below its potential purely due to the demographic transition. This is equivalent to a 7.6% drop in the average income level over the 2015-2050 period.

In addition to the direct effect of population ageing through labour market participation, it would also lead to a rise in social security tax on the workforce as the dependency ratio rises. This reduces the labour force's incentive to work and leads to a gradual decline in hours worked. The study estimates the future increase in labour income tax in Asia given the projected demographic transition and finds that this would reduce the annual per capita GDP growth rate by 0.41 percentage points below its potential.

To read about this study in full, click here.

Some elderly with Alzheimer's brain plaques stay sharp

November 18, 2016; In a discovery that challenges conventional thinking, researchers report that several people over the age of 90 had excellent memory even though their brains showed signs that they had Alzheimer's disease.

The meaning of the findings isn't entirely clear. The elderly people, whose brains were studied after their deaths, may have been in the early stages of Alzheimer's, although the researchers said they doubt this. It's also possible that something about these people, or their brains, could have kept dementia symptoms in check.

"The implication is that factors protect some elderly people" from the brain-clogging proteins that are thought to cause Alzheimer's, said study author Changiz Geula. He is a research professor of cognitive neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

To read about this study in full, click here.

Dementia now leading cause of death in UK

November 16, 2016; Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, latest figures reveal. Last year, more than 61,000 British residents died of dementia - 11.6% of all recorded deaths in the United Kingdom.

The Office for National Statistics says the change is largely due to an ageing population. People are living for longer and deaths from some other causes, including heart disease, have gone down. Also, doctors have got better at diagnosing dementia and the condition is now given more weight on death certificates.

To read about this study in full, click here.

Cell protein offers new hope in fighting the effects of aging

November 1, 2016; The New England Centenarian Study, a long-term research project at the Boston Medical Center that studies why people like her enjoy such exceptional longevity. What they’ve found, thus far, is that healthy habits and positive attitudes will only get you so far: Centenarians are winners of the genetic lottery and have a clustering of long-lived relatives. They are remarkably intact mentally, and up to 90 percent of them can function independently into their ninth decade. Surviving past age 100 means they’ve largely evaded the scourges that kill their peers before they reach their 90s (what’s called compressed morbidity), or sidestepped the worst aspects of these life-threatening diseases — even if they strike sooner — because they have combinations of protective genes, what researchers call "greater functional reserves."

To read about this study in full, click here.

Cell protein offers new hope in fighting the effects of aging

October 14, 2016; A protein found within the powerhouse of a cell could be the key to holding back the march of time, research by scientists at The University of Nottingham has shown.

The discovery could offer a new target for drugs that may help to slow the debilitating effects of aging on our bodies.

And their research, published in the academic journal Aging, could have special significance for combatting age-related decline and halting the progression of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.

To read about this research in full, click here.

Life Span Is Only Limited Without Intervention

October 13, 2016; In the latest study published in Nature, researchers claim that human life span has a fundamental limit of around 115. This has been widely publicised around various news platforms, and has proved highly controversial, with many taking sides or making rather grandiose claims about future trajectories. After observing trends in survival from 1900 onwards, the team discovered that maximal life span has plateaued; forming a ceiling at around 115-120 years. Jeanne Calment is so far the longest lived (verified) person in history, passing away at an extensive 122 years. Despite dying in 1997, no one has surpassed her title in over 10 years. The research repeats previous observations and analysis suggesting that without intervention there is indeed a limit to human life span, and that it is exceedingly rare to approach this limit at all; explaining why Calment remains unchallenged.

The striking predictability in life span difference between different species provides excellent evidence that life span is largely genetically determined. This therefore suggests humans have a similar life span 'cap', but this is really rather predictable and adds no new information into the mix. In other words, it's irrelevant whether there is a natural cap on life span, because in a world of antibiotics, organ transplants, gene therapy and IVF, do we really expect human health to remain static?

To read this article in full, click here.

Greenland shark may live 400 years, smashing longevity record

August 12, 2016; The Greenland shark, a 5-meter-long predator, may live more than 400 years, according to a new study, making it the longest lived vertebrate by at least a century. So it should come as no surprise that the females are not ready to reproduce until after they hit their 156th birthday.

The longevity of these sharks is "astonishing," says Michael Oellermann, a cold-water physiologist at Loligo Systems in Viborg, Denmark, who was not involved with the work. That's particularly true because oceans are quite dangerous places, he notes, where predators, food scarcity, and disease can strike at any time.

The Gerontology Research Group would like to point out that these ages are extrapolated based partly on size, and the eye methodology also leaves a large margin for error. This contrasts with the age of "211+" for a bowhead whale, based on radio-carbon dating an actual spear point in the whale.

To read more about this study, click here or here.

Living past 90 doesn't doom you to disease, disability

July 25, 2016; What if you could live well into your 90s and still be in good health? A new study suggests that may be possible, particularly if you have good genes.

"Chronic disease is not an inevitable part of aging," said Dr. Sofiya Milman, an assistant professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "An extended period of good health can accompany a long life span and is an achievable goal."

Milman is one of the authors of a U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study on aging.

To read more about this study, click here.

D.N.A Conference in Utrecht

July 25, 2016; GRG member Victor Bjoerk attended the DNA conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Saturday July 9, 2016. This event was organized by IES (an organization of futurists in the Netherlands).

The speakers were Oliver Medvedev, founder of Genspace; Aubrey de Grey PhD of SENS research foundation; Liz Parrish of Bioviva; Tatjana Kochetkova, Philosopher; Keith Comito of Lifespan.io.

Aubrey discussed the awesome progress that is being done by SENS research foundation. Keith Comito discussed how crowdfunding and life extension advocacy can shift peoples attitudes to making aging research a priority. Finally, Liz Parrish and fellow company partner Avi Roy of Bioviva gave us an update on the experimental therapy she underwent last year, a viral vector therapy to lengthen telomeres and a myostatin inhibitor to improve muscle strength. There are many legal hurdles to overcome in order for gene therapy against agerelated decline being adopted by people.

For more detailed info on the conference, click here.

Beyond 120: get old slower - and live longer

July 25, 2016; Ideas from the father of modern stem cell biology, Irving Weissman, are starting to blossom into a future where we get old slower-and live longer.

To read this article in full, click here.

Annual Decline in Heart-Disease Death Rates in U.S. Flat Since 2011

July 11, 2016; After four decades of dramatic progress, the public-health battle in the U.S. against the ravages of heart disease may have hit a wall.

Since 2011, the annual decline in heart-disease death rates among Americans has essentially remained flat at less than 1%, researchers said Wednesday, a contrast to some 40 years of continuous and generally much steeper annual reductions. In the decade ending in 2010, the average annual decline in heart-disease mortality was 3.7%.

The likely culprits, researchers said, are the epidemic of obesity and the resulting increase in prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, both important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The rise in obesity first emerged across all ages in the U.S. in about 1985 and researchers believe the consequences are now beginning to turn up in mortality data.

To read this article in full, click here.

Study resolves long-disputed theory about stem cell populations

June 17, 2016; Adult stem cells represent a sort of blank clay from which a myriad of different cell and tissue types are molded and as such are of critical importance to health, aging and disease. In tissues that turn over rapidly, such as the intestines, the self-renewing nature of stem cells and their susceptibility to cancer-causing mutations has led researchers to postulate that these cells also act as the cell of origin in cancers. The rarity of adult stem cells relative to their differentiated daughter cells has, however, made them historically difficult to study.

Over the years, researchers have hypothesized that the body maintains a population of mutation- and injury-resistant "reserve" stems cells that serve as a kind of dormant reservoir from which all other cells in a given tissue can be derived. Yet researchers have been conflicted about the precise identity of this population of cells.

Now, a team from the University of Pennsylvania has helped identify key characteristics that distinguish reserve stem cells from other stem cell populations that had been purported to have similar properties. The work, which employed single-cell gene expression analyses as well as other cutting-edge techniques, demonstrated that, in the intestines, reserve stem cells are a distinct population from so-called "label-retaining cells." The two populations were long believed to be one and the same.

To read this article in full, click here.

Genes linked to effects of mood and stress on longevity identified

June 8, 2016; The visible impacts of depression and stress that can be seen in a person's face -- and contribute to shorter lives -- can also be found in alterations in genetic activity, according to newly published research.

In a series of studies involving both C. elegans worms and human cohorts, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Scripps Research Institute have identified a series of genes that may modulate the effects of good or bad mood and response to stress on lifespan. In particular, the research pointed to a gene known as ANK3 as playing a key role in affecting longevity. The research was published May 24, 2016 in the Nature Publishing Group journal Molecular Psychiatry, the top ranked journal in the field of psychiatry.

To read this article in full, click here.


May 15, 2016; According to modern science aging is the accumulation of damage that the body cannot completely eliminate, due to the imperfections of its protection and repair systems. The good news is that the processes that constitute aging are amenable to medical intervention. We can slow down or even reverse some aspects of aging through the application of different therapies, which prevent or block some of these processes.

One of these processes of aging is cell senescence.

Senescent cells normally self destruct via a process called apoptosis, but unfortunately not all of them do. These "death resistant" senescent cells accumulate in the body with age and secrete toxic signals. This causes inflammation and damage to organs and tissues, increasing risks for cancer and other diseases of old age. This is why these cells are often called "good citizens but bad neighbors". They remain partially functional, but their presence does more harm than good.

A new class of drugs known as Senolytics have recently demonstrated the ability to remove senescent cells to improve health. However, the potential of senolytics to increase health and lifespan beyond current maximums remains unknown. This is what we at Major Mouse Testing Program want to investigate - with your help!

To read this article in full, click here.

China's rapidly ageing population is an economic ticking timebomb

May 7, 2016; China's population is the most "likely to get old long before it becomes rich" and the country's rapidly aging population could be hugely damaging to the country's economic growth, according to new research from HSBC.

In the latest in a series of reports on demographics in the world's emerging markets, HSBC global economist James Pomeroy argues that while there are several major emerging economies - including Russia and many Eastern European nations - that could face big problems thanks to an ageing population, China is the most likely to take a big hit.

To read this article in full, click here.

Anti-Aging Gene Therapy: Has The Time Arrived For True Anti-Aging Medicine?

April 27, 2016; Now in 2016 it is becoming increasingly clear that therapies are emerging which could seriously impact aspects of the human aging process.

One of the most cutting-edge therapies that are now being tested is the use of viral vectors to lengthen telomeres, the DNA caps at the end of our chromosomes. Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of the company Bioviva USA inc, is the first person to treat human aging with this technology, using herself as a test subject.

Contrary to much buzz within the anti-aging field, this is certainly a valid treatment for a part of the aging problem in organisms, by preventing DNA from shortening. Back in 2012 this experiment was first set up in mice by Maria Blasco et al, using adeno viruses to lengthen telomeres in mice. The treated mice lived longer on average with no increased cancer rates, showing proof of principle. Parrish, a youthful 45 year old, underwent the first therapy in 2015 andresults are encouraging as her white blood cell telomeres have so far gone up from 6.71 to 7.33 kb as measured now in 2016.

Victor Bjoerk, GRG Administrative Assistant for News, examines this research here.

How Much Is Extreme Longevity Really Influenced By Lifestyle?

April 22, 2016; When most people hear about an extremely old person, such as a supercentenarian, they tend to think these very slow aging people must have done something right that others have done wrong, simply based on their failure to replicate their longevity.

But is there really much truth in this? Is there any evidence extreme longevity can be induced by practising an unusually healthy lifestyle? Can a person who is "destined" to die at 90 "slow their aging" and live even longer?

Victor Bjoerk, GRG Administrative Assistant for News, examines these questions here.

Repairing DNA damage in the human body: Research provides new insights

April 17, 2016; UNSW medical scientists have discovered that DNA repair is compromised at important regions of our genome, shedding new light on the human body's capacity to repair DNA damage.

Repairing damage in DNA from anything that causes a mutation, such as UV radiation and tobacco smoke, is a fundamental process that protects our cells from becoming cancerous.

In the study published today in the journal Nature, the scientists analysed more than 20 million DNA mutations from 1,161 tumours across 14 cancer types. They found that in many cancer types, especially skin cancers, the number of mutations was particular high in regions of the genome known as 'gene promoters'. Significantly, these DNA sequences control how genes are expressed which in turn determine cell type and function.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


'Groundbreaking' stem cell treatment could regrow limbs, repair bones

April 12, 2016; In the pages of comic books and on the silver screen, superheroes like Wolverine and Deadpool have a "healing factor" that allows their bodies to regenerate and recover from injuries or illness at an amazing rate - but certainly nothing like that is possible in real life, right?

Amazingly, a team of scientists led by John Pimanda, a hematologist and associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, published a study in Monday's edition of the journal PNAS reporting that they had successfully reprogrammed bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) - the first step to making such a repair system a reality.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


This man-made cell has the smallest genome ever - but a third of its genes are a mystery

March 30, 2016; The new life is born with a jolt: A fresh genome, built from scratch with human hands, is pushed into a host cell using an electric current. One cell quickly becomes a colony of a billion, and a completely unique living organism is alive.

It's not science fiction - or even a recent breakthrough. Scientists created the first synthetic bacterium back in 2010 using this method. But in a new study published Thursday in Science, they've taken this proof of concept a step further. Their latest single-cell creation has what they're calling a "minimal genome." They've created an organism that has just 473 genes, the smallest known genome of any living organism. With fewer, it wouldn't be able to sustain itself. Their hope is that bringing a genome down to its minimum components will help scientists figure out the most basic building blocks of life.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


Dual-purpose drugs may stop heart disease and cancer

March 29, 2016; Scientists were surprised to find that drugs used to treat heart problems also have anticancer properties. The drugs, called cardiac glycosides cause the heart to contract and increase cardiac output. They are used in prescription medications such as Digitoxin and Strophanthin.

Now researchers at Yale University have also discovered that cardiac glycosides block the repair of DNA in tumor cells. Because tumor cells are rapidly dividing, their DNA is more susceptible to damage, and inhibition of DNA repair is a promising strategy to selectively kill these cells.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


The up and downside of caloric restriction for aging and health

March 16, 2016; Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, now show that besides improving the functionality of stem cells in mice, a caloric restriction also leads to a fatale weakening of their immune system - counteracting the life-lengthening effect of a diet. The results are published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on March, 14. 2016.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


Mitochondria Successfully Treated with Novel Oxidative Stress 'Scavengers' in Alzheimer's Mouse Model

March 16, 2016; Targeting mitochondria with ceria nanoparticles effectively suppressed the death of neuron cells in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease, according to the recent study, "Mitochondria-Targeting Ceria Nanoparticles as Antioxidants for Alzheimer's Disease," published in the ACS Nano journal.

"This study is quite remarkable in that the collaborative research between nano science and biomedical science has led to a potent therapeutic agent against reactive oxygen species in the mitochondria, which is deemed to be one of major culprits in a number of diseases," Taeghwan Hyeon, the study's lead author and the IBS Center's director, said in a press release.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


Alzheimer's disease: Early biomarker defined

March 11, 2016; A multicenter study led by Christian Haass and Michael Ewers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, Germany has identified a biomarker associated with the activation of an innate immune response to neural damage during early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

In their latest work, the LMU team studied over 400 Alzheimer's patients who showed cognitive defects of varying severity, and compared them with age-matched controls. Biochemical analyses of samples of CSF revealed that patients who exhibited mild cognitive deficits had the highest concentrations of a particular fragment of the TREM2 protein found in the study. The amounts detected in patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease were significantly lower.

The LMU researchers propose a long-term longitudinal study, in which the concentration of TREM2 in CSF samples from individuals with mutations known to be linked to familial Alzheimer's disease is determined at regular intervals under controlled conditions.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


Tissue Engineering Functional Arteries

March 4, 2016; Researchers at Duke University have developed a technique to make artificial arteries that naturally produce biochemical signals vital to their functions. They say the approach is also ten times faster than current methods for tissue engineering of blood vessels.

In a new study ("Human Vascular Microphysiological System For In Vitro Drug Screening") reported in Nature Scientific Reports, biomedical engineers from Duke's Pratt School of Engineering successfully engineered artificial arteries containing both layers and demonstrated their ability to communicate and function normally. The blood vessels are also miniaturized to enable 3D microscale artificial organ platforms to test drugs for efficacy and side effects. The new technique may also enable researchers to conduct experiments on arterial replacements in record time.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


Alzheimer's and the Inflamed Brain: Their Links Run Deeper than Thought

February 28, 2016; Given that Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder and the leading cause of dementia, it seems logical to assume that some sort of breakdown in the connections of the brain's nerve cells is mostly to blame.

But based on an increasing volume of research, it turns out that our immune system is also closely linked in a negative way to the disease. Yes, the very same immune system that fights off infections from the bacteria and viruses we come in contact with everyday. All together, the data points to Alzheimer's as a disease of an aging immune system.

To read more about these findings, click on the link below:


DNA 'Trojan horse' smuggles drugs into resistant cancer cells

February 27, 2016; Researchers at The Ohio State University are working on a new way to treat drug-resistant cancer that the ancient Greeks would approve of - only it's not a Trojan horse, but DNA that hides the invading force. In this case, the invading force is a common cancer drug.

In laboratory tests, leukemia cells that had become resistant to the drug absorbed it and died when the drug was hidden in a capsule made of folded up DNA. Previously, other research groups have used the same packaging technique, known as "DNA origami," to foil drug resistance in solid tumors. This is the first time researchers have shown that the same technique works on drug-resistant leukemia cells.

To read more about this research, click on the link below:


A Celebration Of The Oldest Person On Record: Calment's Day

February 22, 2016; On February 21 there was a celebration of the birthday of Jeanne Calment, the oldest verified human being ever. This initiative was launched by Gerontology Research Group member Victor Bjork. The celebration involved posting a picture of oneself consuming Calment’s favourite foods of olive oil, dark chocolate and port wine.

To read more about this celebration, click on the link below:


Locus Coeruleus Identified As Critical Starting Point Of Alzheimer's Disease

February 17, 2016; A region in the brain called the locus coeruleus, which produces nerepinephrine, may play a crucial role in the development (and potential prevention) of Alzheimers, a new study finds. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, dubs this region of the brain as the "ground zero" of Alzheimer's disease. Lack of sleep damages neurons in the locus coerleus. It follows, then, that researchers have linked a lack of deep sleep to a brain more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease. Keeping your mind and body active throughout life, especially during older years, may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

To read more about this study, click on the link below:


Benefits of 'Senolytic' drugs on Vascular Health

February 16, 2016; Building on previous studies, Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated significant health improvements in the vascular system of mice following repeated treatments to remove senescent cells. They say this is the first study to show that regular and continual clearance of senescent cells improves age-related vascular conditions - and that the method may be a viable approach to reduce cardiovascular disease and death. The findings appear online in Aging Cell.

To read more about this development, click on the link below:


Palo Alto Longevity Prize

February 8, 2016; The Palo Alto Longevity Prize offers teams from all over the world the chance to win up to $1 million. In the Palo Alto competition, teams can enter one or both of two categories. The $500,000 Homeostatic Capacity Prize is given to the team that can turn back the clock in a mammal. The second is the $500,000 Longevity Demonstration Prize, which is given to the team that can extend the life span of a mammal by 50 percent. A team of researchers at Northwestern University say a drug that blocks a protein produced by aging cells in your body could control how fast you grow older.

To read more about this prize, and the efforts of the researchers at Northwestern University, click on the link below:


Finding a Drug for Healthy Aging

February 6, 2016; A group of experts on aging, led by Dr. James L. Kirkland of the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, believe they may be able to develop a drug that can slow the rate of aging and the development of the costly, debilitating chronic ailments that typically accompany it. If successful, not only would their approach make healthy longevity a reality for many more people, but it could also save money. They say that even a 20 percent cut in the speed of aging could save more than $7 trillion over the next half-century in the United States alone.

For more details about this project, click on the link below:


'Lifespan machine' probes cause of aging: Findings suggest that aging has no single mechanism

February 5, 2016; Researchers in the lab of Walter Fontana, Harvard Medical School professor of systems biology, have found patterns in this randomness that provide clues into the biological basis of aging. Researchers in the lab of Walter Fontana, Harvard Medical School professor of systems biology, have found that aging does not have a single discrete molecular cause but is rather a systemic process involving many components within a complex biological network. The study, published on January 27 in Nature, offers an alternative to research that seeks to identify a specific master aging mechanism, such as protein homeostasis or DNA damage.

Here is a more extensive article about this study:


Proteins most associated with aging revealed in study

February 4, 2016; Certain proteins known to be associated with aging and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer are at a high risk for destabilization caused by oxidation. This finding by a team of researchers at the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology at Stony Brook University provides an understanding of how oxidative damage, which is a natural process in aging cells, affects proteins. It could also prove to be a foundation to a better understanding of age-related diseases. The paper, titled "Highly charged proteins: the Achilles' heel of aging proteoms," is published early online and slated for the February 2 issue of the journal Structure.

Here is a more extensive article about this study:


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