Taking Short-Lived Mice and Making Them Live Average Lives — Not News?

Reason at Fight Aging is not impressed by the recent Harvard news.

Reason said:

You might look back into the Fight Aging! archives for a primer on the intersection of telomeres, telomerase, and aging. It’s interesting stuff, but unfortunately this present research is being headlined as “scientists reverse aging in mice” – which is absolutely not what was accomplished. Reversing an artificially created accelerating aging condition by removing its cause is not the same thing as intervening in normal aging, and it will rarely have any relevance to normal aging. The study results are teaching us something about the way in which telomerase works in mouse metabolism, but I – and other, more qualified folk – are dubious as to the relevance to human aging:

Even if it was reversing an artificially accelerated aging condition, has whole-body rejuvenation of this sort been demonstrated before? Not that I had heard of.

Comments

  1. Matt Brown

    To my knowledge it has not been done before and that in and of itself is certainly cause for celebration. That being said the artificial manipulation of the mice raises a lot of questions as to how well this might actually translate into some form of therapy (leaving aside of course the additional problem that they’re mice.) I will say that after the hits the free radical theory has taken it’s nice to see one theory on aging stand up but honestly I get the same feeling about this as I did Craig Venter’s achievement. It’s an important step but not as important as we may wish nor as important as the media reports.

  2. Maybe this is not a big deal, but still, this is crucial because it shows that effects of aging can be reversed. I think that the fact that it was an artificially created aging is not the problem. Scientists now have to find a way to implement these findings in normal aging in humans.

  3. Heartland

    What does it take to impress some people these days? Is it now cool to be unimpressed by everything? The way things are going, perhaps, even Singularity will be met with yawns by some. Any evidence of successful reversal of even some effects of aging is an exciting news. Just the fact this story is making a splash in the media is great as it moves people’s perception of rejuvenation from the “science-fiction” column a bit closer to “reality” column and creates slightly higher expectation for availability of real rejuvenation therapies, which is so important for getting more research done in the future.

  4. nazgulnarsil

    cynicism signals sophistication. it’s why teenagers go overboard with it desperately trying to appear sophisticated.

    • Jay

      In the minds of those that think things suck, it’s cool to think things suck.

    • Matt Brown

      Cynicism and skepticism are two very different things. This is important no doubt but before we start tripping over ourselves in excitement lets take a step back and look at just how important it is.

  5. Reason is a good authority, you should listen to him. He’s not called “Reason” for no reason. ;)

  6. I really can’t believe all the hoopla surrounding this research. If you glance at the actual abstract (as opposed to it’s hyped ‘summaries’ in the press), it’s pretty clear this is very very far from “reversing aging”.

    They engineered telomerase deficient mice. They then administered telomerase to the rats later, and lo and behold, this allowed proper cell division and proliferation to resume, leading to a partial recovery. I wouldn’t even say it reversed damage.

    Aging involves systemic accumulated entropy, and that certainly wasn’t reversed here.

  7. Benjamin

    Come on, folks, this study has merit, starting with the largest one, shake the very strong belief that it’s impossible to do anything against aging!

  8. Tom

    Reason and Audrey are much smarter than I, esp. about the science and I don’t argue their point. However, both are pressing in their own ways for more public funding for true therapies to address aging. This story, while not announcing a true anti-aging therapy, as the mice were not actually “aging” still, in the popular mind, it catches the imagination.

    A large number of people are going to stop and note this story and a certain number of them may start to re-think some of their die hard conceptions of what is possible. If the story is seen by a million people and one percent of them then become curious and explore the subject further, they will learn that while this therapy is not all the article implies, there is a lot of evidence for real progress and not centuries from now.

    Basically, this kind of story is misleading but I suspect on the net, it creates more people who are interested in the possibility of anti-aging therapies. Reason and De Grey both seek that kind of paradigm shift in the general population and I suspect this story accomplishes a bit of that, if unintentionally.

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