DNA damage helps form memories

Our DNA becomes more damaged as we age and some scientists believe that this causes ageing. We have inbuilt DNA repair systems in every cell, but these systems can break down as we age leading to increased DNA damage. Mutations in genes responsible for DNA repair can cause premature ageing like in Werner's Disease. So … Continue reading DNA damage helps form memories

Ageing reversed in old skin cells

Scientists have reversed ageing in skin cells taken from people who are 80-97 years old. The trick was to turn the skin cells into stem cells and then back into skin cells. This re-programmed the cells and reversed age-related changes allowing the skin cells to make energy more efficiently.  The energy needed for us to … Continue reading Ageing reversed in old skin cells

Ageing caused by unstable DNA

Werner syndrome is a genetic disease that causes premature ageing. Many Werner patients start developing age-related problems like osteoporosis, cataracts and grey and thinning hair in their twenties and thirties. This happens due to a mutation in the WRN gene.  The protein made from the WRN gene is essential to keeping the DNA inside cells … Continue reading Ageing caused by unstable DNA

Live longer by removing unhealthy cells

As we age, our cells can accumulate damage, partly because our in-built repair mechanisms don't work as well as they did when we were young. Damaged cells can give off signals that cause problems for surrounding cells, in effect, taking healthy cells down with them. An organ, like the liver, doesn't work well as a … Continue reading Live longer by removing unhealthy cells

What can the world’s oldest people tell us about ageing?

Scientists recently sequenced the genomes of 17 of the oldest people alive in the USA to see if their genes could tell us the key to slowing ageing. The people studied were all supercentenarians - over 110. When the paper was published in November 2014, there were 74 supercentenarians known in the world. Sixteen of … Continue reading What can the world’s oldest people tell us about ageing?

Ageing and DNA damage

This post is part of a series on What Causes Ageing. DNA inside our cells is constantly being damaged by products of metabolism such as reactive oxygen species and environmental factors like UV light, radiation, and smoking. DNA damage changes the basic chemical structure of DNA. This happens between 10 000 and 1 000 000 times … Continue reading Ageing and DNA damage

What causes ageing?

Ageing is caused by a complex interplay between genes and environment. Both external environment, things like diet, exercise, stress and infection, and the environment of each cell, things like oxidative stress and epigenetic changes (changes in marks on DNA) affect how our cells, and therefore how our whole body ages. Ageing is an accumulation of … Continue reading What causes ageing?

Aged brains rejuvenated by young blood

A couple of posts ago I talked about a freaky experiment where a young mouse is surgically attached to an old mouse to create Franken-mice. The two Franken-mice share blood and the young blood reverses heart disease in the old mouse. So scientists looked to see what it is in the young blood that can treat … Continue reading Aged brains rejuvenated by young blood

Ageing slowed by spring cleaning cells

Dietary restriction (eating less calories while still eating enough nutrients) is a powerful anti-ageing treatment. Animals from yeast all the way up to monkeys live longer when they eat less calories. Since no one wants to diet, and everyone wants to live longer, scientists have been trying to find drugs that mimic the anti-ageing effects … Continue reading Ageing slowed by spring cleaning cells

The anti-ageing secret of Korean mistletoe

Korean mistletoe may be an anti-ageing powerhouse. Mistletoe has many active compounds and has been used for centuries to treat myriad ailments including high blood pressure, epilepsy, exhaustion, degenerative joint disease and cancer. While there is still not enough evidence yet for the FDA to approve mistletoe as an anti-cancer treatment, a 2010 trial showed … Continue reading The anti-ageing secret of Korean mistletoe