Thursday, October 25, 2007

Live Long And Starve

Why some people live longer than others is not well understood but one fact is known: severe caloric reduction can prolong life considerably. Far from starving yourself to death, you can starve yourself to a long life, if you do it right. (Here & here.) But who wants to live to be 100 if it means eating a near-starvation diet? Not me, that's for sure. Take away good food and drink of all kinds, and good tobacco, and 100 years of life will feel like 100 years of perdition.

But there may be hope for those of us who want our birthday cakes --- many, many cakes --- and to eat them, too.
"[R]esearchers from Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with scientists from Cornell Medical School and the National Institutes of Health, have discovered two genes in mammalian cells that act as gatekeepers for cellular longevity. When cells experience certain kinds of stress, such as caloric restriction, these genes rev up and help protect cells from diseases of aging." (Here.)
That's good news right there. But it gets better. It may be possible to target those genes to retard aging.
"'We've reason to believe now that these two genes may be potential drug targets for diseases associated with aging,' says David Sinclair, associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and senior author on the paper."
Keep working on that gene therapy idea, professor. Maybe one day your research will lead to the replacement of the one a day multivitamin with a one a day longevity pill. The sooner the better.


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