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Hypothalamus Controls Aging

Posted Jun 13 2013 10:08pm
Posted on June 11, 2013, 6 a.m. in Aging

The hypothalamus, a small almond-sized structure located deep within the brain, has been found to control aging in mice. Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and colleagues studied hypothalamic inflammation in mice by focusing on a protein complex called NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells). Results showed that activating the NF-κB pathway in the hypothalamus significantly accelerated the development of aging, as shown by various physiological, cognitive, and behavioral tests, and shortened the lifespan. On the other hand, blocking the NF-κB pathway was shown to slow aging and increase median longevity by approximately 20%. "It's clear from our study that many aspects of aging are controlled by the hypothalamus. What's exciting is that it's possible – at least in mice – to alter signaling within the hypothalamus to slow down the aging process and increase longevity," said Professor Cai.

Guo Zhang, Juxue Li, Sudarshana Purkayastha, Yizhe Tang, Hai Zhang, Ye Yin, Bo Li, Gang Liu, Dongsheng Cai. Hypothalamic programming of systemic ageing involving IKK-β, NF-κB and GnRH. Nature. 2013;497:211-216.

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Tip #175 - Circumvent A Cold
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, USA) studied 153 healthy men and women, ages 21 to 55 years, who reported daily on their sleep duration and quality for two weeks. Participants were then quarantined in separate rooms for 5 days and exposed to rhinovirus (the virus that is responsible for the common cold). As a result, 35.3% of subjects developed a clinical cold and 43.1% self-reported the presence of cold symptoms. The researchers found that those study subjects with shorter duration of sleep and poorer sleep efficiency were at significantly increased risk of developing a cold.

The restorative role of sleep is often underestimated. In that too little sleep has been found to compromise many of the body’s biological processes, including immune function, be sure to achieve sleep of a sufficient duration that is followed by a spontaneous awakening and leaves you feeling refreshed and alert for the day.

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