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Gut feeling

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The key to longevity could lie within us. Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US suggest that human gut bacteria could be used to fashion a successful anti-ageing pill that can slow down tumour growth and the onset of Alzheimer’s, and extend life. “The scientific community is increasingly aware that our body’s interactions with the millions of microbes in our bodies, the microbiome, can influence many of our functions, such as cognitive and metabolic activities and ageing,” team leader Dr Meng Wang says in a media release. “In this work, we investigated whether the genetic composition of the microbiome might also be important for longevity.” In their study of the simple worm C. Elegans (which shares essential characteristics with human biology), the researchers found that while some individual bacterial genes had an adverse physiological effect, others contributed to better health and increased longevity. As they report in journal Cell, this opens up the possibility of designing preparations of bacteria or their compounds that could help slow down the ageing process.

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
September 2017