Aging

Scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research have, for the first time, genetically programmed embryonic stem (ES) cells to become nerve cells when transplanted into the brain, according to a study published today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research, an important step toward developing new treatments for stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurological conditions showed that mice afflicted by stroke showed tangible therapeutic improvement following transplantation of these cells. None of the mice formed tumors, which had been a major setback in prior attempts at stem cell transplantation.

The team was led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center at Burnham. Dr. Lipton is also a clinical neurologist who treats patients with these disorders. Collaborators included investigators from The Scripps Research Institute.

Nutrition researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified five common genetic variations that increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of factors linked to heart disease and diabetes. Another variant they found appeared to protect against the condition.

People with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the following symptoms: abdominal obesity, high blood triglyceride levels, lower good cholesterol (HDL), elevated blood pressure and elevated fasting blood glucose. They are four times as likely to develop heart disease and at least seven times more likely to develop diabetes as individuals without metabolic syndrome.

The investigators, who report their findings in the June issue of the journal Human Molecular Genetics, looked for changes in the CD36 gene, which is located in a region of chromosome 7 that has been linked to metabolic syndrome in several genome-wide studies.

Since the Women's Health Initiative study found that long-term therapy with estrogen or estrogen plus progestin may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, many women have found it difficult to decide whether to take hormone therapy at menopause.

Subsequently, several researchers have speculated that the timing of estrogen treatment may be important for estrogen's effects.

A group of authors therefore designed an animal study to determine if estrogen would be beneficial for females who are going through menopause (perimenopausal) but not for women who are postmenopausal for many years. Since it is not possible to measure "risk" in animal studies, the authors measured severity of stroke injury.

Silicone breasts for a football star's girlfriend, aging Hollywood actresses with doll-like, over-tightened faces - all this could soon be a matter of the past.

Cosmetic surgery is developing into an interdisciplinary medicine of beauty and rejuvenation which has only little use for silicone and scalpel.New cosmetic surgery relies to an important part on minimal-invasive, gentle surgery, done under local anaesthesia. Liposuction by use of microcannulas offers a good example, being easy on the tissue and allowing for precise shaping of body and face, followed by only minimal aftercare.

The second pillar on which new cosmetic surgery rests is the use of body-own stem cells. These allow for lasting breast augmentation without silicone and have made operations such as standard facelift, lid correction and wrinkle treatment with "fillers" obsolete. Stem cells have shown immediate rejuvenating and regenerating local effects and can be used for many aesthetic treatments.



Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a genetic variation associated with an earlier age of onset in Alzheimer's disease.

Unlike genetic mutations previously linked to rare, inherited forms of early-onset Alzheimer's disease — which can strike people as young as their 30s or 40s — these variants influence an earlier presentation of symptoms in people affected by the more common, late-onset form of the disease.

Two principal features characterize Alzheimer's disease in the brain: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The plaques contain a protein called amyloid-beta.

When people hear about elder abuse in nursing homes, they usually think of staff members victimizing residents. However, research by Cornell University faculty members suggests that a more prevalent and serious problem may be aggression and violence that occurs between residents themselves.

Although such aggression can have serious consequences for both aggressors and victims, the issue has received little attention from researchers, and few proven solutions exist to prevent resident altercations, says Karl Pillemer, director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging at the College of Human Ecology. He has co-authored two articles -- in Aggression and Violent Behavior and in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society -- on "resident-to-resident mistreatment" this spring with Weill Cornell Medical College professor of medicine Mark S. Lachs, M.D., and medical student Tony Rosen. Both studies report that verbal and physical aggression between residents is common and problematic, and that more research is necessary to identify risk factors and preventative measures.

"Anyone who spends much time in a nursing home will observe arguments, threats and shouting matches among residents, as well as behaviors like pushing, shoving and hitting," Pillemer said.

Researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden say golf is good for your health.

People of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status who golf can expect a 5 year increase in life expectancy compared to those who do not, they say. And great golfers live even longer, so work on your handicap.

Why so? People who are good at something tend to enjoy it and do it more and also practiced more to attain their skill, so they end up with better health.

The study does not rule out that other factors than the actual playing, such as a generally healthy lifestyle, are also behind the lower death rate observed amongst golfers. However, the researchers believe it is likely that the playing of the game in itself has a significant impact on health.



Dozens of studies show collagen repair is possible and demonstrate why three types of available skin treatments, topical retinoic acid, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing and injections of cross-linked hyaluronic acid, are effective.

University of Michigan scientists draw on dozens of studies since the early 1990s to explain why these treatments all improve the skin’s appearance – and its ability to resist bruises and tears – by stimulating new collagen. Collagen is a key supporting substance, plentiful in young skin, that’s produced in the sub-surface layer of skin known as the dermis. The findings show that the breakdown of the dermis’ firm, youthful structure is a very important factor in skin aging – a much more straightforward thing to fix than genetic factors that others theorize may be involved.

“Fibroblasts are not genetically shot,” says John J. Voorhees, M.D., F.R.C.P., chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School and the article’s senior author. Fibroblast cells in the skin are the key producers of collagen.


Researchers at the University of Illinois report this week that a plant compound found in abundance in celery and green peppers can disrupt a key component of the inflammatory response in the brain. The findings have implications for research on aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Inflammation can be a blessing or a blight. It is a critical part of the body’s immune response that in normal circumstances reduces injury and promotes healing. When it goes awry, however, the inflammatory response can lead to serious physical and mental problems.

Inflammation plays a key role in many neurodegenerative diseases and also is implicated in the cognitive and behavioral impairments seen in aging.