Dec 21, 2013 01:08 PM EST
Scientists Discover Anti-Aging Compound That Restores Youth
A type of fountain of youth on Earth may have been discovered by scientists, the Digital Journal reported.
Researchers from Harvard University and The University of New South Wales have conducted studies on mice to test the effectiveness of an anti-aging compound. Researchers intend to test it on humans sometime in 2014.
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In mice, the compound restored the efficiency of cells and reversed the aging process in muscles.
In their study, scientists injected 2-year-old mice with a chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) for one week. NAD, a compound that is reduced as the aging process moves along, moved "key indicators" of age back dramatically. Researchers said the mice "were testing as if they were but six months old."
"We mapped the pathway to aging carefully," Dr. Nigel Turner of the University of NSW, told media in Australia. "But it was a real surprise to see the markers of aging move back so quickly in just a week."
Researchers wrote that this change is the equivalent of a 60-year-old human reverting back to feeling as if he or she was 20. Researchers are not calling this compound the fountain of youth yet, but they are optimistic that they are on to something.
Turner said his team is not simply driven to make people live longer.
"People think anti-aging research is about us wanting to make people live until they are 200, but the goal is really to help people be healthy longer into old age," he said. "We know that this cell communication breaks down in diseases such as dementia, cancer and type-two diabetes."
He added that although his research is focused on muscles, it could benefit multiple organs and delay and prevent a lot of diseases associated with old age from occurring.
"Whether that means we'll all live to 150, I don't know, but the important part is that we don't spend the last 20 to 30 years of our lives in bad health," Turner added.