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Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for therapeutic innovation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is senior author of a new study -- Longevity Related Molecular Pathways Are Subject to Midlife 'Switch' in Humans -- published today in Aging Cell.
Working with first author Jamie Timmons, Ph.D., of King's College London and Stirling University Science Park, United Kingdom, and an international group of researchers on human aging, Dr. Wahlestedt made a striking observation: Key molecular programs known to promote longevity do not last beyond midlife.
Study - Reason - Disease - Burden - Increases
The study provides a possible new reason why human disease burden increases so sharply from the sixth decade of life onward as health-protective mechanisms disappear. Which raises the question: If one wishes to boost these established "anti-aging" programs with drugs, nutrients, or lifestyle choices, is it too late to start by the time you reach your 60s? Possibly, said Dr. Wahlestedt -- at least if you hope to benefit fully from such interventions.
"For over a decade, it has been clear that key biochemical events regulate the longevity of small short-lived animals such as worms, flies, and mice, but these mechanisms had not been observed to be active in humans," Dr. Wahlestedt said. "In this international clinical and genomic study, we report for the first time that humans use these same biochemical pathways during aging. Surprisingly, however, humans appear to stop using these pathways from about 50 years of age onward. Therefore, how long and how 'hard' each person regulates these pathways may influence human lifespan."
Dr - Wahlestedt - Study - Result - Decades
Dr. Wahlestedt said the new study was the result of two decades of persistent efforts initiated while he and Dr. Timmons worked at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. They made their discovery when using a new method for quantifying comprehensive gene expression...
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