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Article: Reducing caloric intake delays nerve cell loss

Article: Reducing caloric intake delays nerve cell loss

Caloric restriction has been talked about for some time now in the science community and not just as a dieting method for weight loss.


Much of which has to do with aging or preventing the effects of aging. Caloric restriction (CR) is the only non-genetic intervention known to date to slow the onset of age-related diseases and increase average and maximum lifespan in several species. Its interest is continually growing, particularly for the identification of mechanisms involved in increasing longevity. Aging is a multifactorial process leading to general deterioration in many tissues and organs, accompanied by an increased incidence and severity of a wide variety of chronic, incurable, and often fatal diseases.

“Eat, Fast and Live Longer” was an hour long documentary presented by the doctor and producer Michael Mosley. The show opens with the world’s oldest marathon runner finishing in London suggesting that he had reached the age of 101 in full health, with no signs of heart disease and taking no drugs, because of his diet, mainly fresh fruit.


We can’t alter our genes, but we can choose what we eat. In the United States “truly remarkable” research was linking diet and longevity.

During the great depression, he explained, life expectancy actually rose. Of course, there were also other major scientific and medical improvements over that time as well.

Meanwhile in recent animal experiments severe food restriction has been found to increase life expectancy. In the posted article from MIT:

Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May 22 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could one day guide researchers to discover drug alternatives that slow the progress of age-associated impairments in the brain.

So what is new in this research?

The article writes:

Previous studies have shown that reducing calorie consumption extends the lifespan of a variety of species and decreases the brain changes that often accompany aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There is also evidence that caloric restriction activates an enzyme called Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), which studies suggest offers some protection against age-associated impairments in the brain.

For this study, the scientists examined whether reducing caloric intake would delay the onset of nerve cell loss that is found in neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s. If the same sort of cell loss is found, they then tested whether SIRT1 was involved, or driving this effect. In essence, relating the genetics found in caloric restriction and neurodegenerative disease.

The scientists not only confirmed that caloric restriction delays nerve cell loss, but also found that a drug that activates SIRT1 produces the same effects.

And where will information like that get us? Drugs.

If SIRT1 can be proved out as a means of delaying nerve cell loss, particularly in neurodegenerative disease, it could be a sort of miracle drug. Especially since drugs for such diseases mainly treat symptoms, not reverse damage.

Next steps, testing in different animals over different conditions and over different time periods for safety, etc.

Exiting news! Go science!

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , .



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