Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scientists find way to reverse aging in mice

Scientists in Boston have made an astounding discovery, taking aging rats and turning them young again, like tiny little Benjamin Buttons.

Just like the title character in the Hollywood film edition of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the mice appeared to not only stop aging but grow younger.

Molecular biologist Dr. Ronald DePinho at Harvard Medical School in Boston was able to pull off the feat by playing with "telomeres" -- the protective DNA caps on the end of our chromosomes.

The caps, which have long been implicated in aging, prevent our chromosomes from "fraying" and the genes within them from "unravelling."

Scientists have long known that a small bit of our telomeres erodes each time our cells divide. Previous research has shown that people with longer telomeres tend to live longer, whereas those with shorter telomeres suffer more from age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

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