Thursday November 15, 2018

Stem Cells May Help To Stay Strong In Old Age

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle's stem cells (satellite cells)

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Stem cells
As we grow older, our muscular function declines. So, according to the researchers, this discovery may result in new medication to build stronger muscles even when in old age. Pixabay
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Researchers have found how an unexpectedly high number of mutations in the stem cells of muscles impair cell regeneration.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle’s stem cells (satellite cells).

ALSO READ: Treating blindness with stem cell therapy

“What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random but there are certain regions that are better protected,” said co-author Maria Eriksson, professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.

Stem cells
The study was performed using single stem cells cultivated to provide sufficient DNA for whole genome sequencing. Pixabay

The mutations occur during natural cell division, and the regions that are protected are those that are important for the function or survival of the cells. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to identify that this protection declines with age.

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“We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell’s capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs,” said Eriksson.

“We achieved this in the skeletal muscle tissue, which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is a very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden,” the researcher noted. (IANS)

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Here’s How Marriage Can Protect You From Malnutrition in Old Age

According Volkert, a lack of appetite, which is often perceived as a key cause of malnutrition, was of no relevance.

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Marriage
Can marriage protect against malnutrition in old age? Check it out here. Pixabay

While malnutrition can occur at any age, elderly people, aged 65 and above, who are particularly prone to it can safeguard themselves with marriage, according to a study.

The findings showed that people who are unmarried, separated or divorced are most often affected, whilst men and women who are either married or widowed tend to take better care of themselves.

The consequences of malnutrition are manifold. They range from weight loss to a weakened immune system or functional impairment of muscles and all organs. The body falls back on all its reserves.

“The older the people are, the more likely it is that they will suffer from malnutrition. The risk increases a little with every year that passes,” said Dorothee Volkert, from Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU) in Germany.

“Malnutrition in the elderly appears to be caused by a surprisingly narrow range of factors. Only age, marital status, difficulties with walking and coping with stairs and stays in hospital had a significant role to play,” Volkert added.

Marriage
Married couple. Pixabay

In the study, appearing in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the team set out to explore which of a total of 23 variables — ranging from aspects such as difficulties with chewing and swallowing or cognitive impairments to loneliness and depression or moving into a care home — were decisive for malnutrition.

The researchers took six existing sets of data which included 4,844 participants, aged between 72 and 85, from Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Also Read- Exercising Too Little Puts Your Health At Risk: WHO

According Volkert, a lack of appetite, which is often perceived as a key cause of malnutrition, was of no relevance.

She recommended carrying out further studies to obtain a common definition of malnutrition. (IANS)