Worms, flies and mice may help us age better

Scientist may have discovered the fountain of youth and it is not what you expect.

This week findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that chemicals made by intestinal bacteria help slow down the aging process in worms, flies and mice.

Experiments show that these chemicals, known as indoles, maintain mobility and resilience in these creates for longer in their life span. The Naked Scientist, Chris Smith says scientists hope this research can be adapted to help aging in humans as well.

Older people are less mobile, they're less independent, and if we can make people age better, the health burden of trying to look after a very considerably aging population could be reduced.

Chris Smith | The Naked Scientists

Smith says the the head researcher of this study, Daniel Kalman of Emory University is motivated by the fact that in the next 40 years or so the number of extremely old people living in the majority of countries around the world is set to rise by 350 fold.

According to Smith, the research is not looking at how to make people live for longer, rather how to make them healthier. This is so as they age, they will still have the vitality to do more without numerous health burdens.

They started looking at the chemicals inside microscopic worms first, as their biochemistry and many other process in their bodies are the same as ours, says Smith.

If you study a very rapidly growing worm that ages fast, then it tell you something about how we age. If we can cure these worms, then we can cure humans.

Chris Smith | The Naked Scientists

Smith says the experiment was done by feeding the worms bacteria, that either could or couldn't make that magic chemical called indoles. The worms who had bacteria that made indoles, aged much better than those who didn't.

The experiment was then repeated in flies, that are a bit bigger and complex. The results were the same. When it came to do the experiment on mice, they also found old mice behaving as if they were much younger.

Perhaps we can could use this sort of strategy as one way to keep people healthier into their old age and it suggests that the bugs that live in our guts have a strong influence on how well we age.

Chris Smith | The Naked Scientists

Listen to the full discussion below:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Is everything you say prefaced with your social labels? Listeners talk identity

Is everything you say prefaced with your social labels? Listeners talk identity

Can you express a view without announcing yourself as a member of a certain social group first? Eusebius opened a discussion.

[LISTEN] Sanitary towels added to proposed list of VAT zero-rated products

[LISTEN] Sanitary towels added to proposed list of VAT zero-rated products

An economist at Argon Asset Management Thabi Leoka explains how they came up with the proposed list for zero-rated products.

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

Every week The Naked Scientist offers listeners the opportunity to probe his brain on anything weird and quirky.

Plants have a body clock just like humans says The Naked Scientist

Plants have a body clock just like humans says The Naked Scientist

Every week The Naked Scientist offers listeners the opportunity to pick his brain on anything weird and quirky.

Why does alcohol keep us up at night and does sweat differ in the body?

Why does alcohol keep us up at night and does sweat differ in the body?

The Naked Scientist answers these questions and more with Eusebius McKaiser...

Naked Scientist explains why you 'shed' weight after a hot bath

Naked Scientist explains why you 'shed' weight after a hot bath

The Scientist explains why your scale may be an inaccurate way to measure weight loss and more.

Popular articles
The UAE is pumping billions into the Horn of Africa

The UAE is pumping billions into the Horn of Africa

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews Africa correspondent Lee Kasumba

Bob Martin’s new adverts celebrate how good pets are for humans

Bob Martin’s new adverts celebrate how good pets are for humans

Bruce Whitfield asks branding and advertising expert Andy Rice to critique the week’s advertising “heroes” and “zeroes”.

'Minnie understood he might become a target'

'Minnie understood he might become a target'

Marianne Thamm wrote the forward to 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' and worked with Mark Minnie in editing the controversial book.

[WATCH] Dad dresses up as a mom so his sons don't feel left out on Mother's Day

[WATCH] Dad dresses up as a mom so his sons don't feel left out on Mother's Day

Khabazela shares Facebook posts, YouTube videos that have gone viral including one with the smartest dogs.

[LISTEN] Is your phone listening in on your conversations?

[LISTEN] Is your phone listening in on your conversations?

MD at World Wide Worx Arthur Goldstuck explains how your phone may record your voice conversations.

JHB CBD muggings - Where are the police ?

JHB CBD muggings - Where are the police ?

City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba says undocumented people living in the city make it difficult to combat crime.

'Black Tax'... working hard, earning well, but struggling financially

'Black Tax'... working hard, earning well, but struggling financially

Young(ish) South Africans tell stories of the mixed emotions they feel when supporting family members, and tips from an advisor.

Castro bodyguard shares tales of dictator’s double life and breath-taking wealth

Castro bodyguard shares tales of dictator’s double life and breath-taking wealth

Juan Sanchez shares stories of Fidel Castro that’ll make you re-examine everything you thought you knew about the Cuban dictator.