- Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Want to hold on to your youthful looks? You may be able to, because scientists have discovered a way to help humans age without as much deterioration in their bodies.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in England recently conducted an experiment to determine how to reverse the aging of a class of genes called splicing factors and a group of dysfunctional cells called senescent, which accumulate as humans get older.
Splicing factors play a major role in helping the body’s genes operate smoothly. But as the body becomes older, senscent cells become more prevalent. The aging cells eventually become inactive as the splicing factors naturally switch off.
Scientists, however, discovered that applying a chemical compound called resveratrol analogues, a compound found in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes and blueberries, can reverse the effect, allowing the splicing factors to turn back on and “the cells to regain some features of youth,” lead researcher Eva Latorre told Medical Xpress.
"When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn't believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic," she said. "I repeated the experiments several times and in each case the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research."
Most people age by 85, making them more prone to stroke, heart disease and cancer, which are all associated with senescent cells.
She believes her findings, recently published in BMC Cell Biology, are the first step to help people age better and have good health throughout their entire lifespan.
Scientists now hope to conduct more studies to confirm their findings and develop therapies based on their research that can help people look younger.
“Far more research is needed now,” Latorre said, “to establish the true potential for these sort of approaches to address the degenerative effects of ageing. "