JUN 06, 2017 5:31 PM PDT

Assessing Quality and Quantity of Life in Anti-aging Therapies

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Researchers have long wanted to understand aging, and people have been searching for a way to stop the aging process for hundreds if not thousands of years. But when people imagine themselves living an extended life, they think of it spent in good health, not just prolonging the period we spend as frail and sick adults. New work published in Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences has described the use of parameters in a model organism to characterize not only the physiological markers of old age but also those predictive of good health into old age.

Scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory used C. elegans as a model to identify markers of healthy aging. The study will help scientists assess the tradeoffs between lifespan and health span in humans. / Credit: MDI Biological Laboratory

In this work, the researchers utilized C.elegans, a roundworm commonly used in molecular studies. Many recent aging studies have been done in mice, and they have suggested that lifespan can be extended significantly. It will be important to figure out what effect such treatments have on health, however. New tools in genetics might help answer those questions, and help investigators not only extend quantity of life, but also extend the and improve the quality of life.

“All anti-aging interventions aren’t created equal,” said post-doctoral researcher Jarod Rollins, Ph.D.,one of the lead investigators of this work. “A recent study in C. elegans found, for instance, that the proportion of life spent in a frail state is longer in long-lived mutants than in wild-type animals. Our research is aimed at developing tools to help scientists assess the effect of lifespan-enhancing interventions on health span.”

C.elegans is especially popular in research on aging because it has a lifespan that only lasts a few weeks. That way, it’s very easy to assay the effects of therapeutics that target aging. It’s also relevant to human health; there are many genes common to both humans and roundworms.

One marker identified by the researchers is speed of movement, which was predictive of a healthy lifespan. Movement speed correlates to walking speed in humans, already found to be a good predictor of longevity in people. The scientists plan to fully describe how movement speed can be used in studies that analyze anti-aging therapies and in aging research.

The work was done at MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine; the lab is especially interested in the molecular mechanisms of aging and regenerative medicine.

“As science closes in on the mechanisms underlying aging, the tradeoffs between lifespan and health span become a greater cause for concern,” said Kevin Strange, Ph.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. “The scientists in the Rogers laboratory are at the forefront of developing metrics to assess the impact of anti-aging interventions on quality of life.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson has some thoughts on longevity and living life to the fullest.

 

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via MDI Biological Laboratory, Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAR 09, 2021
Immunology
A 'Plug-and-Play' CRISPR Therapy for Flu and COVID
MAR 09, 2021
A 'Plug-and-Play' CRISPR Therapy for Flu and COVID
Researchers have developed a CRISPR treatment that could potentially treat both viruses that cause COVID-19 and influenz ...
MAR 14, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Modern Animals Still Have Similarities to Our Weird Ancient Ancestors
MAR 14, 2021
Modern Animals Still Have Similarities to Our Weird Ancient Ancestors
Recent research involving ancient marine animals shows how humans and other animals still carry some of those animals' c ...
MAR 19, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
These Cells Can Cry Tears
MAR 19, 2021
These Cells Can Cry Tears
Reporting in Cell Stem Cell, scientists have engineered miniature versions of human tear glands that actually emit tears ...
APR 19, 2021
Microbiology
Gas-Generating Microbes Highlight the Diet - Microbiome Link
APR 19, 2021
Gas-Generating Microbes Highlight the Diet - Microbiome Link
Researchers are learning more about how different species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome play a role in metabol ...
APR 25, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
How Did the Chernobyl Disaster Affect Human Health?
APR 25, 2021
How Did the Chernobyl Disaster Affect Human Health?
It's been about 35 years since the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Now researchers have investigated whet ...
MAY 06, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Improved Genetic Technologies Find Elusive Genetic Mutations
MAY 06, 2021
Improved Genetic Technologies Find Elusive Genetic Mutations
Some genetic diseases are caused by inborn errors - genetic mutations that we're born with and that end up in every cell ...
Loading Comments...