"The findings raise the prospect that any therapy that rids the body of senescent cells would protect it from the ravages of aging. But many more tests will be needed before scientists know if drugs can be developed to help people live longer. Senescent cells accumulate in aging tissues, like arthritic knees, cataracts and the plaque that may line elderly arteries. The cells secrete agents that stimulate the immune system and cause low-level inflammation. Rid of the senescent cells, the Mayo Clinic researchers reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature, the mice’s tissues showed a major improvement in the usual burden of age-related disorders. They did not develop cataracts, avoided the usual wasting of muscle with age, and could exercise much longer on a mouse treadmill. They retained the fat layers in the skin that usually thin out with age and, in people, cause wrinkling." New York Times
I look forward to what is found and allowed to trickle out to the public, especially in the way of a pill. This, is the type of thing we are spending billions of dollars on and have for so long expected a pay back on. Cancer is another one that I have been waiting for decades to see a cure, as with HIV/AIDS and diabetes. At least diabetes has many "fixes" and ways to avoid it, simply by exercise and diet, but still there too, once you get it full blown, you have a serious disease.
From the Business Week article (link below):
"The researchers examined the mice for cataracts, muscle wasting, strength and levels of fat deposits that shrink with age and cause wrinkles. Untreated mice had an aged and frail appearance, while those injected with the drug to kill the senescent cells seemed healthy and vital. They were less likely to have cataracts and more able to exercise, van Deursen said."
A note from Discover says:
"Note that the mice in this study didn’t live any longer; they just spent more of their life being healthy. That is an incredibly important distinction and one that scientists who work on ageing are starting to bear in mind. James Kirkland, one of the study’s leaders, says, “Until two or three years ago, the basic biology was focused on lifespan. Increasingly, it’s become more focused on increasing healthspan too. People may want to live longer but they don’t want to live longer at all costs. They want to live more healthily. Older people value independence and the ability to carry out the activities of daily life.”
But for now I would be quite happy with a way to decrease the effects of aging. Getting old (physically speaking) sucks. Hopefully, they are finally on to something useful. Below are a couple more articles on this finding."