Scientists reverse muscle aging in mice
Researchers at Harvard Medical School say they have found a way to reverse some aspects of the aging process, at least in mice.
Previous evidence has shown that levels of the naturally-occurring chemical NAD gradually drop in the body’s cells over time. In the new study, the researchers sought to discover the effects on aging mice of increasing the levels of the chemical.
The researchers found that after one week of boosting the mice’s NAD levels, their muscles demonstrated signs of reversed aging, including improved mitochondrial function, muscle wastage, inflammation and insulin resistance. The effects occurred on a cellular level and were not visible on the exterior of the mouse itself. The findings, published in the journal Cell, suggest that treatments involving the chemical NAD may help reverse the detrimental effects of age on muscle function.
Researchers said that their study’s results are important in that they show that at least some aspects of the aging process are reversible. They added, however, that NAD alone can not reverse all effects of aging, such as damage to DNA. They plan to begin clinical trials with humans in 2015.
Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster
New research has found a direct relationship between certain functions in the brain and maturation, and these processes apparently occur earlier in females than they do in males.
In the study, scientists from Newcastle, Glasgow and Seoul Universities evaluated brain scans of 121 people between ages 4 and 40. They specifically examined what they called long-distance brain connections (i.e. connections between relatively distant brain regions and hemispheres).
The findings, published in Cerebral Cortex, showed that periods of maturation and brain improvement were correlated with processes of brain connections reorganizing themselves.
Researchers said that the process of the brain reorganizing its connections also begins at a younger age in girls, which they said may explain why females mature faster than males during teenage years.
Stroke risk increases with high levels of anxiety
People with anxiety disorders may be at an increased risk for stroke—the number four leading cause of death in the United States—according to a new study.
In the study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh recruited more than 6,000 individuals between ages of 25 and 74 who had never had a stroke. The participants filled out questionnaires about their levels of anxiety and depression, which were tracked for 22 subsequent years. The researchers also recorded the number of strokes that occurred among the participants.
The results showed that the individuals with the most anxiety increased their risk of having a stroke by approximately 33 percent. The findings, published in the journal Stroke, encourage people to seek assessment and treatment for depression and anxiety disorders, in order to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke. Researchers also recommended exercising and not smoking to reduce risk of stroke.