Beyond physical aging, which many seek to fight with botox and aesthetics, there is cellular aging. It causes the emergence of many diseases, including dementia, affecting 47.5 million people worldwide. Of these, 70% suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. In France, according to the WHO, one in four people over the age of 65 will be affected by 2020. To try to curb the scourge of aging, researchers are multiplying experiences. Here are the most conclusive to date.
Blocking an enzyme to reverse memory loss
In the case of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, the enzyme HDAC2 is responsible for “blocking” what prevents memory formation. In MIT News, researcher Li-huei Tsai said in August that she managed to target this enzyme without affecting the rest of the genes: “If we can stop this blockage by hindering HDAC2 enzyme activity, then we can restore the enzyme function of all genes, such as learning and memory”.
Could we give our cells a kick?
Published on March 24, 2017 in the journal Science, a study by the University of New South Wales in Australia claims to have identified a cellular mechanism that reverses the effects of aging in mice. After this step, scientists have developed a drug capable of repairing the DNA of redness. “The cells of old mice were impossible to distinguish from those of young mice after only one week of treatment”, says David Sinclair, one of the researchers. The next objective is to extend the findings to the human scale and, if everything goes well, “put a drug on the market in three to five years”.
Could we give our cells a kick (with cannabis)?
“A small chronic dose of THC restores the cognitive functions of an old mouse”. The title of the study published on May 8 in Nature Science cannot be more eloquent. Researchers from the German University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem administered treatment for mice aged 12 to 18 months for four weeks. Two-month-old mice were used as the reference group. The main element of this treatment was none other than THC, the cannabinoid responsible for “tripping”. The results are stunning: “It’s as if the THC had reversed the molecular clock!” said scientist Andreas Zimmer. If there’s a long path to go from rodent to man, these researchers may have found a new way to fight degenerative diseases of the brain, linked to cell aging.
All cyborgs, tomorrow?
“So you do not want to die?” asked The Atlantic to Zoltan Istvan on February 18, 2017. The man, then running as the Transhumanist Party candidate for the presidency of the United States, simply answered “never”. If he has made a flop in the presidential elections, Istvan is nevertheless the spokesman of a current whose limits are still unknown to this day. Several media, including L’Express and Tracks, go so far as to wonder whether transhumanism would ultimately allow immortality. As a reminder, the principle is simple: when a limb of the human body is deficient, it is replaced by an artificial limb, which would greatly improve the physical and/or mental capacities of its wearer. The ultimate remedy for old age?