Rejuvenating old organs could increase donor pool

93CB8473-70FE-4084-AE25-986243B1DF30

Despite the limited supply of organs available for patients on waitlists for transplantation, organs from older, deceased donors are frequently discarded or not utilized.

Available older organs have the potential to close the gap between demand and supply that is responsible for the very long wait-times that lead to many patients not surviving the time it takes for an organ to become available.

Older organs can also often provoke a stronger immune response and may put patients at greater risk of adverse outcomes and transplant rejection. But, as the world population ages, organs from older, deceased donors represent an untapped and growing resource for patients in need. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital are leading efforts to breathe new life into older organs by leveraging a new class of drugs known as senolytics, which target and eliminate old cells.

Using clinical and experimental studies, the team presents evidence that senolytic drugs may help rejuvenate older organs, which could lead to better outcomes and a wider pool of organs eligible for donation. Results are published in Nature Communications.

“Older organs are available and have the potential to contribute to mitigating the current demand for organ transplantation,” said corresponding author Stefan G. Tullius, MD, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at the Brigham. “If we can utilize older organs in a safe way with outcomes that are comparable, we will take a substantial step forward for helping patients.”

Continue reading… “Rejuvenating old organs could increase donor pool”

0

Getting old needs a new look

1FB063E9-1A89-4C9D-8D07-1A73CD480DFD

The pandemic has exacerbated issues like social isolation in U.S. nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. But problems with the living situations of older Americans long predate the coronavirus.

Covid-19 has exposed the lethal vulnerabilities of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Can better design make aging safer?

In at least one way, the United States’s tragic response to the coronavirus hasn’t been an outlier: Just like in the rest of the world, the consequences of the pandemic were amplified inside living facilities for older adults.

As of August 13, at least 68,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to New York Times research, a number that comprises more than 40% of the nation’s total. That percentage that’s been matched or exceeded by other countries across the globe. In Europe, half of all Covid-19 deaths happened in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, according to the World Health Organization. In Canada, which has been far more effective at containing the disease, 82 percent of the country’s deaths have been concentrated among these facilities.

The vulnerability of nursing homes was clear from the earliest stage of outbreak in the U.S., when the disease swept through the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington in February, claiming dozens of deaths. At Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts, at least 74 residents — a third of the facility’s population — died of Covid-19 in April. The summer resurgence of infections has found its way into care facilities in Texas, Florida, and Arizona, bringing the number of cases in nursing homes nationwide above its previous peak in May.

For the entire multibillion-dollar ecosystem of senior living in the U.S. — including the more than 15,000 nursing homes, nearly 29,000 residential care communities, and about the same number of assisted-living facilities — the pandemic is exposing a deadly dilemma at a challenging time. “We weren’t prepared for Covid,” says Dr. Robyn Stone, co-director of LeadingAge LTSS Center at University of Massachusetts Boston. “Nobody was, including the nursing homes.”

Continue reading… “Getting old needs a new look”

0

Can aging really be ‘treated’ or ‘cured’?

D545CB4E-7B3C-4E30-B004-AF84A7D22400

As time passes, our fertility declines and our bodies start to fail. These natural changes are what we call ageing.

 In recent decades, we’ve come leaps and bounds in treating and preventing some of the world’s leading age-related diseases, such as coronary heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

But some research takes an entirely unique view on the role of science in easing the burden of ageing, focusing instead on trying to prevent it, or drastically slow it down. This may seem like an idea reserved mainly for cranks and science fiction writers, but it’s not.

Continue reading… “Can aging really be ‘treated’ or ‘cured’?”

0

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice

3AA6C2E8-759A-4CD9-8233-A4FE92D157CC

Older mice grew significantly more new muscle fibers, shown as pink “donut” shapes, after undergoing a procedure that effectively diluted the proteins in their blood plasma (bottom) than they did before they underwent the procedure

 In 2005, University of California, Berkeley, researchers made the surprising discovery that making conjoined twins out of young and old mice — such that they share blood and organs — can rejuvenate tissues and reverse the signs of aging in the old mice. The finding sparked a flurry of research into whether a youngster’s blood might contain special proteins or molecules that could serve as a “fountain of youth” for mice and humans alike.

But a new study by the same team shows that similar age-reversing effects can be achieved by simply diluting the blood plasma of old mice — no young blood needed.

In the study, the team found that replacing half of the blood plasma of old mice with a mixture of saline and albumin — where the albumin simply replaces protein that was lost when the original blood plasma was removed — has the same or stronger rejuvenation effects on the brain, liver and muscle than pairing with young mice or young blood exchange. Performing the same procedure on young mice had no detrimental effects on their health.

Continue reading… “Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice”

0

Molecules identified that reverse cellular aging process

67EA03E1-0001-410A-8280-953C1EC5D83E

A new discovery paves the way for novel drugs that could help safeguard DNA and slow the aging process

Central to a lot of scientific research into aging are tiny caps on the ends of our chromosomes called telomeres. These protective sequences of DNA grow a little shorter each time a cell divides, but by intervening in this process, researchers hope to one day regulate the process of aging and the ill health effects it can bring. A Harvard team is now offering an exciting pathway forward, discovering a set of small molecules capable of restoring telomere length in mice.

Telomeres can be thought of like the plastic tips on the end of our shoelaces, preventing the fraying of the DNA code of the genome and playing an important part in a healthy aging process. But each time a cell divides, they grow a little shorter. This sequence repeats over and over until the cell can no longer divide and dies.

Continue reading… “Molecules identified that reverse cellular aging process”

0

Old human cells rejuvenated with stem cell technology

87D8D781-44FF-41CF-BE29-F67E5782CA93

Old human cells can become more youthful by coaxing them to briefly express proteins used to make induced pluripotent cells, Stanford researchers and their colleagues have found. The finding may have implications for aging research.

Old human cells return to a more youthful and vigorous state after being induced to briefly express a panel of proteins involved in embryonic development, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers also found that elderly mice regained youthful strength after their existing muscle stem cells were subjected to the rejuvenating protein treatment and transplanted back into their bodies.

The proteins, known as Yamanaka factors, are commonly used to transform adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells can become nearly any type of cell in the body, regardless of the cell from which they originated. They’ve become important in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

Continue reading… “Old human cells rejuvenated with stem cell technology”

0

Scientists pinpoint the age you’re most likely to find meaning in life

A896D3BC-84B5-4F28-A1C9-FC2C4762E858

What is the meaning of life? But if you’re still searching, take solace in the fact that scientists may have finally found the age when purpose becomes clear. Knowing the answer could be a boon to your physical and mental health — humans tend to thrive with a sense of purpose, their results suggest.

Interviews with 1,042 people aged 21 to more than 100 years old reveal that people tend to feel like their lives have meaning at around age 60. That’s the age at which the search for meaning is often at it’s lowest, and the “presence” of meaning is at it’s highest, according to a new paper published this week in the journal Clinical Psychiatry.

If you’re a twenty-something ruminating about your life’s purpose, that may seem like a long time to wait. But take heart: If this study tells us anything, it’s that the ennui-fueled search for meaning in your early life is normal, and, even after 60, it doesn’t actually ever end. Instead, people may readjust how they derive purpose as they age.

Continue reading… “Scientists pinpoint the age you’re most likely to find meaning in life”

0

Study finds aging tends to shift gears as you turn 34, 60 and 78

67498903-A9F8-4E9A-8AAE-23E3F75158A4

It’s possible to predict a person’s age from protein levels in their blood according to a Stanford study

 The blood-borne signs of aging – and indeed, perhaps the causes of aging – make three big shifts around the ages of 34, 60 and 78, a new Stanford-led study has discovered, potentially leading to new diagnostic tests and avenues of anti-aging research.

The study measured levels of nearly 3,000 individual proteins in the plasma of small blood samples from 4,263 people aged between 18 and 95, and found that 1,379 of these proteins varied significantly with a subject’s age. Indeed, with information about levels of just 373 of these proteins, the researchers found they could predict a subject’s age “with great accuracy,” and an even smaller subset of just nine proteins could do a “passable” job.

Continue reading… “Study finds aging tends to shift gears as you turn 34, 60 and 78”

0

Desperate for workers, aging Japan turns to robots for healthcare

5A4426CB-1C1A-4072-AAE1-1A58F2DDEE9A

A woman wearing a Cyberdyne lumbar robotic suit, which is designed to help her walk, gets an assist from caregiver Asami Konishi.

TSUKUBA, Japan — In America and other aging societies around the world, it has become common for the elderly to be cared for by their graying children or older workers. That’s largely because the younger labor force is shrinking, and few want to do such low-paying, back-aching work.

Japan sees an answer in robots.

At Minami Tsukuba nursing home near Tokyo, caregiver Asami Konishi wears a robotic device on her hips that cuts the stress on her back when she bends and lifts someone.

“It really helps when I have to pick up a heavier male patient,” said the 34-year-old.

Continue reading… “Desperate for workers, aging Japan turns to robots for healthcare”

0

End of ageing and cancer? Scientists unveil structure of the ‘immortality’ enzyme telomerase

 

IMG_6635

Making a drug is like trying to pick a lock at the molecular level. There are two ways in which you can proceed. You can try thousands of different keys at random, hopefully finding one that fits. The pharmaceutical industry does this all the time – sometimes screening hundreds of thousands of compounds to see if they interact with a certain enzyme or protein. But unfortunately it’s not always efficient – there are more drug molecule shapes than seconds have passed since the beginning of the universe.

Alternatively, like a safe cracker, you can x-ray the lock you want to open and work out the probable shape of the key from the pictures you get. This is much more effective for discovering drugs, as you can use computer models to identify promising compounds before researchers go into the lab to find the best one. Now a study, published in Nature, presents detailed images of a crucial anti-ageing enzyme known as telomerase – raising hopes that we can soon slow ageing and cure cancer.

Continue reading… “End of ageing and cancer? Scientists unveil structure of the ‘immortality’ enzyme telomerase”

0

At what age do you become ‘old?’ Here’s what four different generations think

old-age-start-chart 1

If age really is just a number, what number marks old age? Well, the answer to that depends on how old you are now.

Millennials hold the least generous views on aging, saying that you are old beginning at just 59, according to a new study by U.S. Trust. Older groups, however, put the starting point further out.

Continue reading… “At what age do you become ‘old?’ Here’s what four different generations think”

0

Only 3% of seniors wait until 70 to collect social security even thought it’d mean a 76% larger payment

social-security-benefit 5d3w2

Social Security is a program that forms the financial foundation for a majority of our nation’s retired workers, and that’s not expected to change anytime soon. We’re really dependent on Social Security income, and that could be a problem

Data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) shows that 61% of all current retired workers receiving benefits count on Social Security to provide at least half of their monthly income.

Continue reading… “Only 3% of seniors wait until 70 to collect social security even thought it’d mean a 76% larger payment”

0