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Fight Aging!

Reports from the front line in the fight against aging. The science of healthy life extension. Activism and advocacy for longer, healthier lives.

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:36:29 +0000


Reducing Inflammation Assists Stem Cell Therapies to Enhance Regeneration

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:08:01 +0000

The immune system is highly influential in the processes of regeneration. Inflammation is a key marker of the types of immune cell involved and the sort of activities they are undertaking, either helping or hindering regeneration, and greater levels of inflammation are usually a bad thing. Researchers have demonstrated enhanced healing by ensuring that fewer of the more aggressive and inflammatory class of macrophage cell are present in injured tissue, for example. Further, it is known that aspects of aging such as immune system dysfunction and the growth in number of senescent cells can disrupt regeneration, and inflammation appears to be an important component there also. Is inflammation a direct cause of failing regeneration, or is it more of a signal that other processes are […]

Engineering Macrophages to Ignore "Don't Eat Me" Signals from Cancer Cells

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:43:52 +0000

Macrophages are one of the types of immune cell responsible for destroying potentially dangerous cells, such as those that have become cancerous. Unfortunately cancerous cells tend to circumvent the immune system by displaying molecules on their outer surface that cause macrophages to leave them alone. This is an abuse of recognition mechanisms that exist to protect other cell types. Researchers here show that producing engineered macrophages that ignore this signal can be a viable approach to cancer therapy, even though past attempts have proven too harmful to normal cells to proceed towards the clinic. Their new methodology manages to avoid the destruction of non-cancerous cells to any significant degree, which is a promising step forward for the use of macrophages in cancer immunotherapy. One reason […] Crowdfunding Initiative for AgeMeter Development

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:59:53 +0000

The latest crowdfunding campaign is in support of AgeMeter development, an infrastructure technology used to assemble the data needed for compound biomarkers of aging built from existing simple health measures. The development of a reliable, accurate, and low-cost biomarker of biological age, that reflects an individual's burden of molecular damage, and thus risk of disease and mortality, is an important topic. Without such a measure, it is very time-consuming to test potential rejuvenation therapies, as the only practical approach is to wait and see what happens over the life span of the test subjects. That is a formidable expense even for mouse studies. With such a measure, most of that work could be replaced with a quick set of tests before and after the […]

The Terrible State of Experimental Reproducibility in Much of Aging Research

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:19:44 +0000

Considering the whole of the past thirty years, it is fairly safe to say that studies showing improved longevity in animal models have a terrible track record when it comes to the reproduction of findings. Small gains in life expectancy in one study promptly evaporate when it is attempted by other groups. Very few approaches to slowing aging can be reliably reproduced, and the most well-studied of those, calorie restriction, is probably the cause of many of the early failures. It used to be the case that all too few researchers controlled for the effects of calorie restriction: it is easy to make animals eat more or less as a consequence of pharmaceutical interventions, and the results due to changed calorie intake are larger than […]

A Possible Path to Preventing TDP-43 Aggregation

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:46:50 +0000

TDP-43 is known to increase with age, and also forms aggregates observed in ALS and frontemporal dementia, among other conditions. The increased amount of TDP-43 alone, even without aggregates, appears to diminish the cellular housekeeping process of autophagy, with detrimental long term consequences. Artificially reducing the levels of TDP-43 too far will produce other issues, however, as this disrupts correct microglial function in the brain, making the microglia too aggressive when it comes to dismantling synaptic connections between brain cells. Thus building a therapy that targets TDP-43 isn't as straightforward as it might be. Here, researchers look at breaking down the aggregates rather than targeting TDP-43 indiscriminately, an approach that may result in a therapy for TDP-43-related conditions. Scientists have long known that a protein […]

FOXO3 Less Influential on Aging than Thought

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:11:18 +0000

Despite an enormous amount of effort, researchers have discovered very few human gene variants with reliable effects on longevity across multiple study populations, and even those effects are small. FOXO3 is one of these genes. The current consensus in the face of this data is that variants in thousands of genes contribute to natural differences in human longevity, interacting strongly with one another and with environmental differences, such that the picture is somewhat different in every individual. The usual situation is for any genetic study of longevity to find a few correlations, but those correlations then fail to appear in any other study, even of people in the same region and community. Researchers here suggest that even for FOXO3, the picture is more complicated than […]

Recent Considerations of the Battle Between Exercise and Sarcopenia

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:12:00 +0000

Today, I'll point out a few recent papers relevant to the decline of muscle mass and strength that takes place with aging. The research community is somewhere in the midst of the long process of formally defining this process as a disease called sarcopenia. Formally defined or not, sarcopenia is a significant contribution to the frailty of later aging: the weakness, the risk of falling, the loss of vigor. The papers below are one small part of a large body of work that suggests a fair degree of the total burden of sarcopenia is actually self-inflicted: we live in an age of lethargy, within the embrace of comparative wealth and new technologies of ease and transport. As a consequence some aspects of our decline into […]

Alternative Splicing in Aging and Cellular Senescence

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:30:37 +0000

This open access review looks over present opinions on whether or not alternative splicing is important in aging, and in the creation and harmful activities of senescent cells in particular. Alternative splicing refers to the fact that a single gene can code for different proteins. Changes in the ratio of production for these alternative proteins for any specific gene might be either a form of disarray caused by molecular damage or a reaction to rising levels of cell and tissue damage - essentially another form of genetic regulation that, like epigenetic decorations to DNA, changes with age. The summary in this paper is that the picture is very complicated and poorly understood at present, as is the case for much of the detail level of […]

Fewer Translation Errors Correlates with Greater Species Longevity in Rodents

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:27:39 +0000

Here, researchers provide evidence for a correlation between the rate of errors in translation, a step in the process by which proteins are produced from their genetic blueprints, and species longevity. Infrequent errors in the creation of proteins may be only a short-lived form of damage, as a low level of defective proteins should be recycled rapidly. It is quite possible that a higher error rate is an evolutionary consequence of short life spans, rather than vice versa. If a species is short-lived because it fills an environmental niche characterized by aggressive predation, for example, then evolution will not tend to produce a large investment in repair and systems integrity. Where such systems did exist in ancestors, they are lost in the absence of selection […]

An Interview with Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 23:05:12 +0000

Aubrey de Grey, advocate for radical life extension and originator of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) research programs, has derived a great deal of mileage from his assessment that it is possible to achieve life spans of 1000 years or longer, as illustrated in the brief interview below. Life spans of centuries and longer can be achieved by progress in biotechnology sufficient to bring aging under medical control, but the important point is that this progress doesn't have to happen all at once. For so long as the early rejuvenation therapies are good enough to add a decade or two of healthy life, that gives additional time to improve those therapies and obtain access to greater and more efficient means of rejuvenation. A […]