People have been searching for ways to fight the aging process for centuries. Today, scientists are trying to determine the causes of aging, so they can slow down the process and increase the quality of life for older populations. “People worldwide are living longer. Today, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion, up from 900 million in 2015.”1 Age is associated with higher rates of age-related disease and many other quality of life factors.
There has been interesting research around the aging process. Scientists, led by Paola Sebastiani out of the Boston University School of Public Health, have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and new variants in chromosomes that seem to be associated with longevity and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. They looked at population and genetic data of individuals considered to have extreme longevity (those living past 95 in males and past 100 in females). Their meta-analysis confirmed the role of SNPs in the Apolipoprotein E gene on longevity that had been seen in previous studies. The team also discovered new longevity-associated variants (LAVs) on chromosomes 7 and 12 with genome-wide and nearly genome-wide significance.2
A review on aging, led by Marie Amitani out of the Kagoshima University in Japan, explored the role of ghrelin on aging. Ghrelin is typically an orexigenic peptide known for its role in regulating energy balance and hunger. However, when calories are restricted, ghrelin levels increase, signaling a feeling of satiety. Research, starting as far back as 1935, has seen that calorie restriction contributes to longevity by decreasing oxidative stress. Levels of circulating ghrelin have also been shown to decrease with aging.3 Perhaps, restricting calories will increase circulating ghrelin and decrease oxidative stress, thereby slowing the aging process.
- World Health Organization, (2018, February 5). Ageing and health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health
- Sebastiani et al., J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 00 (00), 1 (2017).
- Amitani et al., Int. J. Mol. Sci., 18, 1511 (2017). doi:10.3390/ijms18071511