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Scientists suggest that people's biological age turns years into groundbreaking study



Scientists may be able to reverse the aging process, a new study may suggest.

Volunteers who were given a cocktail of drugs for a year actually aged backwards, losing an average of 2.5 years of their biological age, according to a new study. The study showed that the marks on their genomes, which represent their "epigenetic clock", as well as their immune system, are actually improving despite the passage of time.

The scientists involved in the study were shocked by the results.

"I was expecting to watch a clock delay, but not a twist," says researcher Steve Horvath of the University of California, Los Angeles Nature who first reported the findings. "It was kind of futuristic."

Scientists warn that the study was done with a very limited number of participants: only nine people took the drug cocktail, and no control group. But if further research confirms it, it could have a huge impact on health, the treatment of the disease and how people think about abotu aging, they said.

In the study, participants received growth hormone and two diabetes medications. They then monitor the effect on people's epigenetic clock to understand the effect on how they age.

The epigenetic clock is measured by the epigenome in the body. As they age, chemical modifications or labels are added to people's DNA and they change throughout their lives – by looking at those labels, one can measure a person's biological age.

In fact, researchers intended to look at how growth hormone would alter tissue in the thymus gland, which helps the body's immune functions and sits in the breast. It usually shrinks after puberty, but they hoped to find out if it could be stimulated to regenerate by giving participants growth hormone.

The researchers checked only as a secondary consideration, after which the drugs changed their epigenetic clocks. The study was completed when the analysis began.

Professor Horvath looked at four different measures of the epigenetic clock to understand the different ages of each patient. And he found that each of them had changed significantly – so much so that he was optimistic about the results, despite the limited number of participants.

Scientists now hope to experience the same effects with more people through a controlled study and with different age groups, ethnicities and women.

The changes can still be seen in the blood of six participants who donated their blood long after the study was completed.

Some of the drugs used in cocktails are already being used as a way of combating age-related diseases. But finding the effect of the three can be of great importance to the ways different medicines are tested, scientists say.


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