NOV 04, 2019 6:47 PM PST

The Key to Living Longer is REST

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Mikyska

 

Scientists at Harvard Medical School show new evidence that the key to living longer is to get plenty of sleep.

 

The researchers were mapping changes in gene expression in individuals who died between 60 and over 100+ years old, to understand better how changes in gene expression affect longevity. The results showed a clear pattern that individuals who died over the age of 85 had suppressed neural excitement, while those who died younger had increased neural excitement.  

 

The protein overexpressed in older individuals is REST, which is responsible for suppressing neural activity and is active during sleep. This suppression affects lifespan is because it is only when neural activity is suppressed, that a family of forkhead transcription factors comes alive. Forkhead transcription factors guide much of the cell growth process, from differentiation to longevity.  

 

To test whether the activity suppression provided by REST is a cause of longevity, the researchers genetically engineered mice and Caenorhabditis elegans, a worm, to be deficient or overproduce REST. In both model organisms, the results were obvious; organisms that overproduce REST live longer, and those with a deficiency die young. 

 

It makes sense that when forkhead proteins have the opportunity to maintain cell health regularly, both the individual cells and the organism live longer. Few studies have been able to find root causes for longevity, but this study could provide a stepping stone for further research.  

 

 

Sources:  Yanker et. al., ScienceDaily

About the Author
  • Amanda graduated for the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Biology. After working in research on creating biochemicals from genetically engineered yeast, she started freelance science writing while traveling the world. She writes about the latest research in Neuroscience, Genetics & Genomics, and Immunology. Interested in working on solutions for food/water security, sustainable fuel, and sustainable farming. Amanda is an avid skier, podcast listener, and has run two triathlons.
You May Also Like
DEC 22, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 22, 2019
Effective Therapeutic Approved for Migraines
The U.S Food and Drug Administration has now approved a new medication for migraines. The drug is called ‘ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)’ and comes in th...
JAN 06, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 06, 2020
Online Therapy Treats Depression in Heart Disease Patients
People suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD) often suffer from depression too- something that can lead to a vicious cycle in which CVD can be negativ...
JAN 14, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 14, 2020
Promising Treatment for Dementia: Antibiotics
A class of antibiotics, known as the ‘aminoglycosides’ may serve as a promising treatment for frontotemporal dementia—according to resear...
JAN 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 25, 2020
Taking Psychedelics Improves Mood, says Yale Researchers
Psychedelics have long been known for their potential to enable deep reflection and modulate people’s moods. But evidence for this mostly came from a...
FEB 24, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 24, 2020
Circular RNAs May Play a Role in Psychiatric Disorders
The genome contains the sequences for many genes that code for proteins. There are also regions and chemical tags that help control the activation of genes....
MAR 24, 2020
Neuroscience
MAR 24, 2020
Researchers Use Silicon to Record Electrical Signals Between Neurons
Researchers from Stanford University have created a way to connect the brain directly to silicon-based technologies. Hoping to assist the development of me...
Loading Comments...