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The gene that delays aging has been discovered

The Klotho gene appears to inhibit the effects associated with old age in mice

Scientists in the US have discovered a gene that can extend the life of mice by 30% compared to the normal state. According to them, this gene plays an important role in many of the processes related to aging.
Since humans have a similar version of the gene, the hope is that this will open the way to improving our declining days. The gene was studied as part of a new study known as Klotho, the name of a Greek goddess who spun the thread of life. This is what the gene appears to do - mice and humans with a defective version of this gene appear to age prematurely. Now the researchers have shown that by accelerating the activity of the gene, they can extend the life of male mice from two to three years. The gene has no similar effect on female mice.
"This could be one of the most significant steps in the development of an anti-aging cure," said Dr. Makato Kuro, professor of pathology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a senior partner in the study.
Klotho appears to inhibit many of the effects of old age such as bone fatigue, clogging of arteries and loss of muscle mass.
This is important for those who study the causes of aging, whose goal is not so much to extend life but to improve the quality of life in old age. However, there are also disadvantages to Cloto. The mice whose lives were extended in the new experiment appear to be less fertile. Also, the anti-aging gene may also be a cause of diabetes. The trick for the researchers will be to try to find ways to gain the result of Klotho's long life and avoid the disadvantages.

Centenarians are multiplying, but the secret of longevity is still unknown

By Jonathan Duffy

Li Ada, 117 years old from Jiangsu, China, next to a certificate with the year of her birth
Li Ada, 117 years old from Jiangsu, China, next to a certificate with the year of her birth

Today, it is no longer enough to reach the age of one hundred: people 110 years old and older are redefining age limits. The world's oldest person and Britain's oldest person died this week, but the explanation for their extreme ages remains a mystery.

More and more people are reaching the age of one hundred today - in the UK alone there are about 6,000 such people. But no one knows what the explanation is for a handful of people reaching such an extreme age. "In the world of science, there is uncertainty as to whether there is anything unique about people who live past the age of 90, and especially those who pass the age of one hundred," claims Ian Philp, a lecturer in medical care for the elderly. "But most of the findings indicate that the answer is positive - they are unique to a certain extent."

The increase in the number of people reaching the age of one hundred reflects the huge jump in life expectancy that has occurred in the West over the past hundred years. In the Roman period the average age was only 22 years (due to the shocking rate of infant mortality), until 1800 the age was 40, in 1900 less than 50 and today it ranges between the mid to late seventies.

But it seems that extreme age is a trait that has been around longer than we might think. Even a hundred years ago, a handful of people lived past the age of one hundred. "The record from earlier periods is often unreliable, so we can't be sure, but at least since ancient Greece there have been people reaching the ages of eighty and ninety," said Professor Tom Kirkwood, an expert in genetics and aging.

This figure and other data indicate that extreme age is not only conditioned by diet and environmental features, but to a large extent by hereditary features as well. Even if we make efforts to live a healthy life - control is usually not in our hands.

In any case, even if it were possible to find a recipe for a life potion, adapted to the habits of the life-extenders - death might already seem more tempting. The Dutch Hendrik van Andel-Schiffer, who died this week at the age of 115 after being defined as the oldest woman in the world, attributed her extreme age to a menu based on pickled herring fish.

The oldest woman in the world, Jean-Louise Clement, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, used to drink a glass of port wine every day, while Anna Brisevich of Belarus, another member of the unofficial list of "the oldest people in the world", extolled the virtues of pickled cucumbers , lard and vodka.

In Japan, Kamato Hongo, who claims to have reached the age of 116 (although there are no documents clearly proving this), recommends green tea and the occasional drink of herbal wine. The oldest woman in Great Britain, Lucy Victoria d'Abreu, also spoke in praise of "drinking every night of brandy and ginger ale".

Even if these homemade recipes don't impress the scientists, it seems that Mrs. D'Abreu's membership in the 110 and over club speaks for itself. The American organization of gerontologists (researchers of old age) estimates that there are 68 such people living in the world today. Neither of them was born in Britain - D'Abreu was born in India.

Extreme age has always fascinated the human race, but in the case of the peaks of our time, part of the curiosity is based on the fascinating historical periods they witnessed. Florence Reeves, who died this week at the age of 111 after becoming the oldest woman in England, was 20 years old when World War I broke out, middle-aged when World War II broke out, and retired even before Elvis Presley hit the charts.

Even if life is getting longer, sooner or later - but no later than the age of 120 - aging defeats us. But according to scientists, the age of 120 remains a stubborn limit beyond which it is difficult for the human body to pass without significant genetic variation - which so far is unknown.

It is a sad thought that at the age of thirty our body is in the process of deterioration. It seems that anyone who aspires to join the group of centenarians and older can do nothing but follow the recommendations known to all of us - eat healthy, exercise, don't smoke, limit alcohol consumption and maintain extensive social relationships. Genetics also helps, and of course - a little luck never hurts.

For news at the BBC

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