'Youth' Chemical Reverses Muscle Aging in Mice

Research team wants to begin clinical trials in 2015
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2013 1:41 PM CST
'Youth' Chemical Reverses Muscle Aging in Mice
A laboratory mouse looks over the gloved hand of a technician.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

If you have a few unwanted wrinkles, this study may pique your interest: Harvard scientists reversed a part of the aging process in mice with a muscle-rejuvenating chemical the BBC dubs "youth-medication." The chemical, NAD, decreases in cells as the body ages, but when mice were given boosted levels of it, the muscle of 2-year-old mice transformed into that of 6-month-old mice. "In human years, this would be like a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old in these specific areas," a researcher tells the Telegraph.

One caveat: Muscle strength didn't improve, though researchers think it could over time. "If started at 40, you would probably have a much nicer window of health aging," says a researcher, "but I would guess that, we have to do clinical trials." They hope to start those in 2015. While some doctors call the find "intriguing and exciting," others were more cautious. It's "a long and tough way to go from these nice mouse experiments to showing real anti-aging effects in humans without side effects," says one. (Read more aging stories.)

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