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New Longevity Enhancer Found October 1, 2009

Posted by Matt Brown in Longevity, Nutrition.
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It seems like a new longevity enhancement is popping up every week these days so here’s another one to add to the list.  Researchers at the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London have managed to extend the life of by up to 20% while reducing the number of age related diseases they experienced.  The method they used to achieve this is gene therapy, specifically altering the mice to block production of the S6 Kinase protein, which plays a role in protein synthesis, cell proliferation and how the body responds to food intake.  This therapy produces an effect similar to caloric restriction.

Now if you’ll allow me to digress slightly, those of you who have been paying attention may have noticed a pattern in regards to all the new longevity enhancers currently being tested.  Rapamycin inhibits the mTOR protein, which regulates cell growth, cell proliferation, transcription and protein synthesis and is stimulated by insulin (among other things.)  Metformin, a drug that may have some life extension capabilities, is more commonly used to treat type-II diabetes, which as you surely know is caused by the body having a resistance and often over-abundance of insulin. Caloric restriction probably has numerous factors which give it it’s effects but one notable thing it does is lower insulin levels in the body (less calories mean less blood sugar, which means less insulin.)  Now we have S6 Kinase which as I said above plays a part in how the body responds to food.  What does the body release to take sugar out of the bloodstream after you eat a meal?  You guessed it, insulin.

Now it would be irresponsible and stupid of me to suggest that insulin holds the key to eternal life.  Ageing is a complex process that involves many different factors.  That being said it does seem like most of the promising longevity treatments involve reducing insulin activity.  Perhaps we have a better understanding of insulin’s role in ageing than we do other factors.  Perhaps insulin is simply easier to study and work with.  Perhaps I’m completely wrong and talking out of my ass.  It’s possible, but I doubt it.  It’s well established that an excess of insulin in the body can lead to disastrous effects (see diabetes) and better thinker than I have seen a link between insulin and poor health (Ray Kurzweil in Fantastic Voyage.)  Fact of the matter is, I would put money on the next big longevity enhancers following the same tract as the others: reducing insulin activity.


Easter Island Compound Shows Anti-aging Properties July 8, 2009

Posted by Matt Brown in Longevity.
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When I first read this I thought it must either be a joke or some new age mumbo-jumbo, but this seems to be for real.  Scientists have found that a compound called rapamycin, first found on Easter Island, may have longevity enhancing capabilites.  What is more interesting is that it seems to have this effect regardless of what age it is administered.  This could be a big step forward because caloric restriction, the only way outside of gene therapy to increase lifespan, doesn’t seem to be effective when implemented in elderly animals.  Rapamycin, which is also used in stents and transplant operations, seems to affect the same metabolic pathways as caloric restriction but may be a more effective treament because of this.   Another way it may be better than caloric restiriction is that people may actually use it.  Anyone can tell you that asking people to cut down their calories for the rest of their lives is a strategy doomed to fail, but asking people to sprinkle a drug on their food for the same effect is a different story.