Strategy proposes ageing disease prevention

23 July 2014

More effort needs to be put into preventing age-related disease, rather than treating them, according to researchers writing in the journal Nature.

Representatives from a number of different institutions - including the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Brescia University in Italy, the Buck Institute for Aging and Research and the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California - claim that treating the metabolic and molecular causes of human ageing may mean it is possible to help people stay healthy well into their 70s and 80s.

The specialists have called for a moving forward with preclinical and clinical strategies that have been shown to delay aging in animals, and as such could slow the metabolic and molecular causes of human aging, such as the incremental accumulation of cellular damage that occurs over time.

Dr Luigi Fontana, professor of medicine and nutrition at Washington University and Brescia University, explained that heart failure does not happen all at once - instead, it takes 30 or 40 years of an unhealthy lifestyle and activation of aging-related pathways from metabolic abnormalities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes to give a person heart failure in their 60s.

"So we propose using lifestyle interventions - such as a personalised healthy diet and exercise programme - to down-regulate aging pathways so the patient avoids heart failure in the first place," he concluded.

 

Posted by Edward Bartel

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