Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of The Blaylock Wellness Report newsletter, is a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author, and lecturer. He attended the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his internship and neurological residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. For 26 years, practiced neurosurgery in addition to having a nutritional practice. He recently retired from his neurosurgical duties to devote his full attention to nutritional research. Dr. Blaylock has authored four books, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, and his most recent work, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Find out what others are saying about Dr. Blaylock by clicking here.

Drug to Restore Youth?

Thursday, 05 January 2012 09:03 AM

The media recently reported a story that seemed to be something from a futuristic movie — a drug that restores youth and vigor to the old. When I first heard this story, I figured that it was just another bit of hype and overreaction from the mainstream medical establishment. It couldn’t possibly be true.

Or could it?

To find out, I obtained a copy of the original research (which was published in the journal Nature) to analyze. After looking at the research, I have to admit that it has real potential.

The research was conducted to see if it was possible to selectively remove cells that were acting “old” (called senescent cells), and determine if that could prevent some of the harmful effects of aging. (My report "Stop Aging Naturally" gives more in-depth ways to slow the relentless march of time.)
Senescent cells are cells in the body that are no longer capable of dividing, yet remain metabolically active, meaning that they continue to undergo chemical reactions with the tissues surrounding them.

For the study, researchers used a genetically modified breed of mice that aged much faster than normal. These research animals normally didn’t live very long, and usually died of heart failure.

Early on in their lives, the animals were injected with a drug (currently in preclinical trials and designated as AP20187) that is known to selectively kill only senescent cells. Researchers targeted these cells because the senescent cells secrete chemicals that cause smoldering inflammation; this leads to many of the disorders that are associated with aging.

Three types of tissues were examined in the study: eyes, muscles, and fat (adipose tissue). These tissues were chosen because as we age, the effects include development of cataracts, shrinkage of muscles, and the loss of a great deal of fat — especially the subcutaneous fat under our skin.

When the animals’ senescent cells were destroyed early in life, it prevented the development of cataracts, loss of muscle tissue, and a loss of fat tissue. Later in their lives, these mice looked healthier, were stronger, ran better, and had much more body fat. However, they still died early because killing the senescent cells in the eyes, muscles, and fat did not protect the heart or blood vessels — those tissues aged as usual. (For the latest information on how to protect your heart, see my report "New Heart Revelations.")

In a second part of the study, the researchers administered the drug when the animals were already old and had already developed cataracts, suffered shrunken muscles, and had lost a great deal of fat. The idea was to find out if the damages of aging could actually be reversed once they had occurred.

While the cataracts did not go away, the animals did regain muscle mass and fat tissue. It appears that the benefits of this “wonder drug” are limited — some tissues are protected and others not.

One big disappointment with the study was that the researchers did not examine the nervous system. With aging, we develop a number of senescent cells in our brain; killing them could have serious consequences.

We must also keep in mind that senescent cells are not the only source of inflammation. In fact, there are a number of reasons for chronic inflammation to occur in people, including latent infections, toxic chemical exposure, toxic metals, stress, and poor diets. These factors would not be changed by this “wonder drug.”

This was a very early study, and much needs to be done concerning safety and benefits in more complex animals and man. It is exciting and could offer tremendous benefits in the future. Yet, there are ways to make senescent cells less toxic and to reduce the harmful effects of chronic inflammation now.

For more of Dr. Blaylock’s weekly tips, go here to view the archive

© HealthDay

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