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New Drug Reverses Aging Except, of Course, Not Exactly

Illustration for article titled New Drug Reverses Aging Except, of Course, Not Exactly

A new study has zeroed in on a chemical which, when elevated in mice, rejuvenated muscles, with dramatic results.


According to the BBC, the study — published in the journal Cell — focused on a chemical called NAD, which naturally declines as we age. When the researchers raised NAD levels in older mice, they found that their muscles functioned like that of young mice:

After just one week of receiving the medication, 2-year-old mice experienced a reversal in aging that gave them muscles equivalent to those seen in 6-month-old mice, in terms of mitochondrial function, wastage, inflammation and insulin resistance.


Apparently this is the equivalent of a 60-year-old's muscle transforming back into a 20-year-old's muscle. Magic elixir! Fountain of youth! NAD parties for everyone!

But! These mice weren't frolicking around like teenagers. Muscle strength did not improve. And the mice themselves did not change — just the way their muscles functioned, on a cellular level. As it stands, there's no "cure" for aging — no matter what the face cream ads tell you. Still, the scientists want to start clinical trials in 2015 and feel strongly that they're on to something:

Dr Ana Gomes, from the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said: "We believe this is quite an important finding."

Image via Kristo-Gothard Hunor/Shutterstock.

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It really is problematic to me that we use horribly inbred white mice and rats for most drug research. I mean, I understand you have to use some kind of mammal to start your studies, but the logistics of taking something seen in inbred mice, which have fewer chromosomes than humans, and trying to extrapolate the effects onto humans is hit or miss.

Actually, my issue isn't the use of lab mice. It's that anything possibly resembling a finding that drug companies could make money off of gets press releases. As opposed to waiting until after drug trials to start talking about it.