The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution


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Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution

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About The Youth Pill Living longer is closer than we think. About The Youth Pill In The Youth Pill , journalist David Stipp explores the scientific battle against aging and the pioneers of the movement to extend lifespan for everyone. Inspired by Your Browsing History.

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There are no "quick fixes" presented in this book - instead, solid science and analysis of both past and present trends in gerontology research. Jan 29, Pages Buy. Tim rated it really liked it Feb 02, Kathleen Li rated it really liked it Jul 12, Optimists soon speculated that similar modules exist in mammals. You're a professional science writer. But now scientists are closing in on true breakthroughs in anti-aging.

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He'd watched giant transgenic mice, which over-express growth hormone, undergo what seemed accelerated aging, and so had guessed that his dwarfs' hormone deficiency might actually boost their longevity. Proving his hunch wasn't easy. Mammalian life span studies are the grueling marathons of life science. Conducting one with normal mice typically takes two to three years; Bartke knew that proving his dwarfs' age slowly could easily take more than four.

That represents perhaps 15 percent of a researcher's entire career. And history has repeatedly shown that the length of such experiments increases the risk that diseases or stresses will crop up that shorten the rodents' lives and ruin everything.

The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution

Still, in Bartke and two postdocs pitted 34 Ames dwarfs against 28 of their normal siblings in a slow race to the death. A little over three years later, linkurl: But while preparing to report the discovery, Bartke learned that researchers at The Jackson Laboratory in Maine had earlier found that Snell dwarfs -- mutant mice nearly identical to Ames dwarfs -- were short-lived. Fearing his lab's contrary finding would be dismissed as a fluke, he phoned Kevin Flurkey, the Maine lab's dwarf mouse keeper, to compare notes. It turned out that despite the earlier findings, Flurkey had a hunch about the dwarfs' longevity and had more recently launched a new life span study on them.

After 18 months, his data had indicated the females were strikingly long-lived, but the males were dying very young. Then one day Flurkey had witnessed one of his male "caretaker" mice -- normal mice caged with the easily-chilled dwarfs so they can snuggle up and keep warm -- apparently trying to throttle a dwarf. He'd always caged his dwarfs with same-sex caretakers, and male mice have been known to kill pups sired by other males. Further, adult dwarf mice resemble pups. No wonder his Snells had generally seemed short-lived -- lots of them were being murdered in the night by mice three times their size.

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Not long before Bartke phoned, he'd realized what was happening and placed his surviving Snell males with female caretakers, where they'd lived happily ever after -- or at least a lot longer than the controls. Bartke and Flurkey wound up extending the gerontogene revolution to mammals, and now more than a half dozen gene mutations are known to boost mouse longevity.

While it's not known whether human gerontogenes exist, the mouse discoveries argue that an ancient, evolutionarily conserved anti-aging module is likely embedded in our genomes that could dramatically extend our healthy life spans if cleverly tweaked with drugs.