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Author Topic:   Mitochondria and aging
RAZD
Member (Idle past 1462 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 1 of 3 (155201)
11-02-2004 10:21 AM


Aging: Is it a power failure? (click)

Researchers explore the role of mitochondria
(By Alice Dembner, Boston Globe Staff , November 2, 2004):
They are the power plants within our cells, crucial for life, and concentrated in the tissues that often deteriorate the most as we age -- the brain, the heart, the muscles, the eyes. But are the mitochondria a driving force in aging?
Increasingly, researchers are focusing on the possibility that this tiny element of a cell may be a factor in failing memory, increasing weakness, thinning hair, and other symptoms of aging.
Last spring, scientists in Sweden provided some of the strongest evidence yet. They shortened the life of mice and created signs of old age by injecting a small genetic defect into the mice's mitochondria.
Potentially harmful changes in mitochondria also have been discovered in age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and the muscle-wasting condition called sarcopenia.
In addition, researchers are identifying natural changes in mitochondria that may promote longevity and protect against some diseases. For instance, scientists have discovered a particular mutation in mitochondrial DNA that occurs five times more frequently in centenarians than in younger individuals. Other researchers have identified segments of the world's population with mutations in their mitochondrial DNA that appear linked to both longer life and protection against Alzheimer's.
But not everyone is convinced.
If mitochondria severely malfunction, humans eventually die -- from lack of fuel for the brain and heart, or from signals from the mitochondria that spur cell suicide. Inherited mitochondrial defects cause dozens of rare illnesses, and scientists are increasingly finding evidence of mitochondrial problems linked to more common diseases, which may shed light on the aging process.
Wallace has examined patterns of mitochondrial DNA around the world and found mutations he believes helped people adapt to living in colder climates -- and had the unexpected byproduct of extending lifespan and protecting against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. According to a study he published in Science in January, the mutations directed the mitochondria to make more heat instead of energy, which led them to generate fewer free radicals and cause less damage to the body.
"We're very confident that these mutations are . . . protective of aging," he said in an interview.
Read the whole article for more.
The idea that cold (the ice-age?) may be responsible for longer human lives is interesting indeed — and if it bears out then it is another example of a mutation selected for one purpose having a second beneficial effect...
Enjoy.
This message has been edited by RAZD, 01-03-2005 20:04 AM

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminJar, posted 11-02-2004 6:37 PM RAZD has replied

  
AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 3 (155278)
11-02-2004 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
11-02-2004 10:21 AM


Where did you think this should go?

How pierceful grows the hazy yon! How myrtle petaled thou! For spring hath sprung the cyclotron How high browse thou, brown cow? -- Churchy LaFemme, 1950

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RAZD, posted 11-02-2004 10:21 AM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by RAZD, posted 11-03-2004 2:34 PM AdminJar has not replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 1462 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 3 of 3 (155499)
11-03-2004 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminJar
11-02-2004 6:37 PM


oops
sorry bout that
I was thinking Biological Evolution
as it applies to more than just humans, though it may apply to what makes us "human" ...

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminJar, posted 11-02-2004 6:37 PM AdminJar has not replied

  
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