Scientists 'Reverse Aging Process' in Mice

A group of researchers was able to reverse the aging process in genetically-altered mice, "dramatically" regenerating their organs and restoring neurons to their brains. Next stop: Eternal life! Which almost sounds worse, to be honest.

As everyone knows, the worst thing about life is getting older, which happens literally every minute you are alive. But some Harvard scientists have figured out how to regenerate aging mice—and think the same processes could be applied to humans.

In a nutshell, the scientists bred a group of mice without an enzyme called telomerase, which helps prevent protective chromosome "caps" called telomeres from shrinking—a shortening that is closely linked with the degenerative properties of aging. Without telomerase, the mice aged rapidly; but when the enzyme was reactivated in those same mice, it "substantially" restored their bodies—including growing new neurons.

Now: The telomerase activation can't be directly applied to humans (in whom the enzyme is turned off at adulthood), as doing so would likely raise the risk of cancer. (A lack of telomerase helps control cell growth and prevent cancer.) And while the Harvard researchers seem to think their results could eventually prove useful to humans, other researchers don't seem so sure. So don't start planning to run a triathlon at 90 just yet. But feel free to use this study as you rationalize away your generally unhealthy life habits!

[Guardian]