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"Easter Island Drug," Bee Nursing Hold Antiaging Secrets?

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Author Topic: "Easter Island Drug," Bee Nursing Hold Antiaging Secrets?  (Read 178 times)
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« on: July 14, 2012, 12:53:19 am »

(Also see "Anti-Aging Drug for Humans Hinted at by Worm Study.")

An Antiaging Drug for Mice ... and People?

As for those rodents: Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center have discovered a drug that reduces memory loss in elderly mice, acts as a antidepressant, and actually extends lifespan.

(Related: "Old Mice Made 'Young'—May Lead to Anti-Aging Treatments.")

Their study, released by Neuroscience on June 28, tested the efficacy of Rapamycin, a drug derived from soil found on Easter Island (map), or Rapa Nui. Though Rapamycin has been used for years to facilitate organ transplantation, researchers have only recently begun testing its antiaging properties.

In this study, the mice given Rapamycin showed signs of enhanced memory, decreased anxiety and depression, and overall longer life.

Initially, the plan was to give Rapamycin to two groups of mice, one affected by Alzheimer's and a control group. Researchers soon found that all the mice, even the healthy ones, exhibited an upswing in mood, according to the study, co-authored by physiologist Veronica Galvan.

Researchers explain that Rapamycin inhibits a protein that dictates whether a cell will decide to grow or go into "maintenance mode," which is linked to a longer life.

The next step is to put the drug to the test on humans. Galvan hopes for clinical trials in another five years.

More: Read "The Secrets of Long Life," from National Geographic magazine >>
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