Friday, October 14, 2011

Naked mole rat genome may point way to long, healthy life

Since Charlie Munger has talked about the naked mole rat, I figured this was fitting. Found via the Naked Capitalism blog. This comment from Yves Smith after she linked to this article was interesting:

“Yes, but I saw Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. They have hive minds too. Just undereat and lift weights big time. One of my past endocrinologists was an anti-aging guy (he eventually turned his entire practice over to anti aging, which is why I quit seeing him). He went to an anti-aging conference and one of the presenters gave a list of 20 biomarkers, stuff like resting pulse, lung capacity, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, body mass index, body fat %, cholesterol, cortisol (stress hormone). They were asked if they could rely on only one measure, which was the best predictor of biological, as opposed to chronological, age. #1 was strength. #2 was muscle mass.”

I’ve posted quite a few things from Art De Vany, and when talking about muscle mass and aging he basically says that if you age, you don't lose muscle mass, it is the opposite: if you lose muscle mass, you age; and when you lose it all, you die. It looks like Mark Sisson has also touched on this topic HERE.

The upside is you live a ridiculously long and healthy life, can’t develop cancer, feel very little pain, never get lonely and have great skin right to the end.

The downside is you breathe stinky air, rarely go outside, tend to get cold, don’t see well, live in a monarchy and can’t count on having sex. (Also, you’re a naked mole rat.)

How this collection of traits and behaviors came to exist in a strange rodent found only in the Horn of Africa has been a mystery. Now biologists have a tool for unraveling it — and what they find may one day prove useful to human medicine.

A team of 36 scientists working on three continents published the genome Wednesday of the naked mole rat, the latest and perhaps most exotic organism to have its entire DNA sequence transcribed.

“It’s a treasure-trove for cancer and Alzheimer’s research. It’s got so much information that we can now go and mine to test all kinds of theories about aging and disease,” said Rochelle Buffenstein, a researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio who participated in the project.

“Having the genome raises the possibility of finding treatments that may prevent cancer in people and possibly even extend life span,” said Vera Gorbunova, a cell biologist and mole rat researcher at the University of Rochester, who was not involved in the work.