Wednesday March 20, 2019

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

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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First-Of-Its-Kind Scientific Study Reveals, One Feels Old Early In India Than in Japan

"Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of ageing."

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old age
Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller work force, and higher health spending. Pixabay

If you live in India, you will begin to suffer the negative effects of ageing at an early age than if you live in Japan or Switzerland, says a first-of-its-kind scientific study.

According to the paper published in The Lancet Public Health, a 30-year-gap separates countries with the highest and lowest ages at which people experience the health problems of a 65-year-old.

Researchers found 76-year-olds in Japan and 46-year-olds in Papua New Guinea have the same level of age-related health problems as an “average” person aged 65.

The study, however, noted that countries such as China and India are performing better in all age-related disease burden rankings.

old age
Researchers found 76-year-olds in Japan and 46-year-olds in Papua New Guinea have the same level of age-related health problems as an “average” person aged 65. Pixabay

India ranks 159th on age-related burden rate and 138th on age-related disease burden rate.

France (76 years) was third, Singapore fourth (76 years) and Kuwait fifth (75.3 years) in the age-related disease burden rankings. At 68.5 years, the United States ranked 54th, between Iran (69 years) and Antigua and Barbuda (68.4 years).

“The findings show increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of population, depending on the ageing-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.” said Angela Y Chang, lead author from the University of Washington.

Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller work force, and higher health spending.

old age
India ranks 159th on age-related burden rate and 138th on age-related disease burden rate. Pixabay

“Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of ageing,” Chang said.

The negative effects, include impaired functions and loss of physical, mental, and cognitive abilities resulting from the 92 medical conditions analysed — five of which are communicable and 81 non-communicable, along with six injuries.

To reach the conclusion, the researchers measured “age-related disease burden” by aggregating all disability-adjusted life years — a measurement of loss of healthy life, related to the 92 diseases.

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Using global average 65-year-olds as a reference group, Chang and the team also estimated the ages at which the population in each country experienced the same related burden rate.

The study covered the period of 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries and territories. (IANS)