Researchers in the USA would appear to have identified a new mechanism of ageing, based on the functional decline in the mitochondria inside muscle cells. The also claim to have discovered how to reverse this specific process.
Levels of a chemical called NAD+ drop naturally in cells as the body ages. It has been found, based on experiments with mice, that increasing NAD+ levels – by giving the mice a chemical which is converted into NAD+ – appears to improve mitochondrial functioning and thereby reverse the ageing process in question.
Expert reviewers of this research remind readers that ageing is a multi-factorial process, so the effect observed here (while potentially important) would be unlikely to be a “magic bullet” with the potential to cure-all the aspects of ageing, even at the cellular level.
Gallagher, J. (2013). Youth-drug can ‘reverse’ ageing in animal studies. London: BBC Health News, December 20th 2013.
This subject is explored further by the following NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal:
Another cell study spun as ‘age-reversing miracle’. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, December 20th 2013.
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Gomes, AP. Price, NL. [and] Ling, AJ. [et al] (2013). Declining NAD(+) induces a pseudohypoxic state disrupting nuclear-mitochondrial communication during aging. Cell, December 19th 2013, Vol.155(7), pp.1624-38. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).