Aging

Graying hairs that crop up with age could be more than just nature, they could be signs of stress, according to a new report in the June 12 issue of Cell

The researchers say that the kind of "genotoxic stress" that does damage to DNA depletes the melanocyte stem cells (MSCs) within hair follicles that are responsible for making those pigment-producing cells. Rather than dying off, when the going gets tough, those precious stem cells differentiate, forming fully mature melanocytes themselves. Anything that can limit the stress might stop the graying from happening, the researchers said. 
Sleeping pills have been associated with a four-fold increase in suicide risk in the elderly but is it just bad correlation, in that sleeping pills are just a convenient way to commit suicide?   Researchers writing in the BMC Geriatrics say that  after adjusting for the presence of psychiatric conditions sedatives and hypnotics were both associated with an increased risk of suicide.

Anders Carlsten and Margda Waern from Gothenburg University carried out a case control study to determine whether specific types of psychoactive drugs were associated with suicide risk in later life.

Oxidative stress has been linked to aging, cancer and other diseases in humans. Paradoxically, researchers have suggested that small exposure to oxidative conditions may actually offer protection from acute doses. Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have discovered the gene responsible for this effect. Their study, published in PLoS Genetics on May 29, explains the underlying mechanism of the process that prevents cellular damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS).

A recent study of adult neural stem cells suggests a new route for research and development of  treatments for neurodegenerative disease in elderly patients.

Within the last 20 years neuroscientists have shown that new neurons are generated in the brain throughout the lifespan. This finding opened a new area of research aimed at understanding if adult neural stem cells can be used in therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

A challenge with this approach is that there are fewer neural stem cell in the aged brain and the loss of stem cells occurs at just the time when neurodegenerative diseases are most common. But a new study is providing important information that neural stem from an aged brain still have the capacity to mature into functional neurons.
Women live longer than men but it may not be a great life.   In a study that included 5,888 people over 65, women suffered up to two and a half times more disabilities than men of the same age and the higher rates of obesity and arthritis among these women explained up to 48 percent of the gender gap in disability – above all other common chronic health conditions. 

Obesity and arthritis that take root during early and middle age significantly contribute to women's decreased quality of life during their senior years, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.
Thinking your memory will get worse as you get older may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that senior citizens who think older people should perform poorly on tests of memory actually score much worse than seniors who do not buy in to negative stereotypes about aging and memory loss.
Transcatheter valve implantation is a newly developed technique for the curative treatment of high-grade aortic stenosis. It is likely to be of benefit especially to elderly, multimorbid patients for whom the risk of open heart surgery would be too great. The initial results obtained with this technique at the German Heart Center in Munich are presented in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International by Sabine Bleiziffer and her colleagues . 
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new method to help researchers identify genes that can help protect the body during the aging process.

The team developed a method of analysing genes in multiple ageing tissue types in both animals and humans. The analysis, which included more than five million gene measurements, highlighted the mechanisms used by the body to protect against cellular changes with age that can result in conditions such as muscle degeneration and cognitive aging. 
Yuan et al. have identified another anti-cancer effect of the "longevity" protein SIRT1. By speeding the destruction of the tumor promoter c-Myc, SIRT1 curbs cell division. The study will be published in the Journal of Cell Biology.



What's the key to everlasting youth? For years now, evidence has steadily accumulated, from studies on mice, flies, worms, and even yeast, that cutting calories is the secret to a long lifespan - at least in a wide range of non-human organisms. But does this work in humans?