Native Village
Youth and Education news
January 1, 2011 Volume 3

 Scientists Find Fountain of Youth ... in Mice
Read the entire article: http://www.aolnews.com/science/article/scientists-say-theyve-reversed-aging-process-in-mice/19736732
Condensed by Native Village

Massachusetts:  Researchers at Harvard Medical School have reversed the aging process in mice.

After scientists increased telomerase levels in weak and feeble old mice, the rodents' organs began to rejuvenate and they became healthy.

"These mice were equivalent to 80-year-old humans and were about to pass away," said Ronald DePinho, a scientist from Boston. After the experiment, "they were the physiological equivalent of young adults."

This stunning feat may help regenerate organs in elderly humans.

Telomerase is an enzyme that makes small units of DNA to seal the tips of chromosomes. This DNA "cap" prevents  chromosomes from fraying and genes from unraveling. When scientists increased levels of telomerase in the mice, their organs began to rejuvenate and the animals regained their fertility.

Anti-aging therapies could dramatically affect elderly populations who suffer dementia, stroke, cardiac failure and other afflictions.

"What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilization of the aging process. We saw a dramatic reversal -- and that was unexpected," DePinho said.

But raising telomerase levels in humans will prove to be more difficult. While mice produce telomerase all their lives, the enzyme is switched off in adult humans. This evolutionary trait prevents human cells from dividing out of control. Without this trait, a human's risk of cancer greatly increases.

Read the study: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101128/full/news.2010.635.htm\

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