Pumping young blood into an old body reverses heart ageing - It seems young blood holds the key to the rejuvenation of old bodies, or old hearts at least. Scientists have discovered that pumping blood from young mice around the circulatory systems of old mice reverses heart ageing, taking it back to the nubile state of the young mice. Gdf11, a protein known to play a crucial role in cell development and healing, was found in much higher quantities in the young blood. The researchers discovered that upping the levels of Gdf11 in older mice had a similar affect to pumping them full of young blood, giving hope that drugs or artificially produced proteins could have a similar affect in humans. One day we might be able to rejuvenate not just our hearts, but possibly our whole bodies with this kind of therapy. [New Scientist]
The secret to everlasting youth is located in your brain - The biological clock, which counts down until your inevitable death, has been found buried in your hypothalamus, deep within your brain. Researchers discovered that the level of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the hypothalamus dictated how long mice lived. In a recent study, mice given injections of GnRH, which is better known for regulating puberty and fertility, lived significantly longer than a control group. Not only that, but the mice also formed new brain cells, reversing the wide-spread neurological effects of ageing.
By manipulating this mechanism, researchers have both shortened and lengthened the life span of laboratory mice. While this is likely to be only one of the mechanisms that control ageing, it could end up providing targets for drugs to help stave off the disease effects of ageing in humans, meaning we live longer and healthier into our old age. It's not quite the elixir of youth, but it's certainly better than nothing. [Nature]