- The Conboy laboratory in Berkeley is responsible for some of the best work in aging research. In 2005, they showed that by connecting the blood vessels of an old and a young mice, they could rejuvenate the old mice (via a process called parabiosis). This earlier work showed that there are probably “aging factors” in one’s blood. Of course, this suggests that old people could benefit from blood transfusion coming from younger people, but that is not expected to be effective. In their latest paper, the Conboy lab shows that by inhibiting something called ALK5 and by increasing oxytocin, they could rejuvenate old mice.
Alk5i plus OT quickly and robustly enhanced neurogenesis, reduced neuro-inflammation, improved cognitive performance, and rejuvenated livers and muscle in old mice. Summarily, simultaneously re-normalizing two pathways that change with age in opposite ways (up vs. down) synergistically reverses multiple symptoms of aging.
This looks like a major breakthrough. The authors find that the treatment (which is relatively mild in dosage) reduces the number of senescent cells which might reduce inflammation. Senescent cells are old cells that will not die and they cause all sorts of problems as we age.
- If you want to motivate teachers to improve student scores with bonuses, you might think to give the bonuses at the end of the year. Yet it is more effective to give the bonus at the start of the year and collect it back if the students did not meet the required targets. Also it is better to reward students for completing tasks (e.g., homeworks) rather than for achieving good results.
- The pharmaceutical industry has a surprisingly high carbon footprint, larger than that of the automotive industry.