There are few things in life that are certain but one of them is getting old. Part of life is growing older. This is an incredible gift as it allows us to mature, to try new things, to have a family, to have grandkids, and to see new life in the generations that follow us. One of the sad parts of growing older though is that it often comes with increased illness and neurological issues. There is a wide range of conditions that you are likely to encounter as you get older. Alzheimer’s is one of the most famous but there are so many that impact how the body and mind behave. A new study may be able to put a stop to these conditions.
While it is not a secret formula to keep people young forever or to reverse the process of aging it may be the key to making old age far more enjoyable. Scientists at MIT have discovered a new enzyme that may break the spell of aging. It has been found to help genes that are related to anything cognitive or memory-related that appears to deteriorate as we age.
The group of scientists has only researched mice to date but the findings are pretty exciting. They found that when this special enzyme called HDAC1 is removed the mice go through considerable damage to their DNA. However, the damage that was noticed was possible to be reversed if the mice were given a drug that reintroduces the enzyme.
The team looked at two groups of mice. Normal functioning mice and those that they had removed the HDAC1 from. In the beginning, there was no difference. As time went on though those who had the HDAC1 removed started to show increased damage to their DNA. As they got older, the damage increased. In tests these same mice performed worse over time in memory and spatial recognition tests. Clearly, the lack of HDAC1 was having an impact on their brain function over time. As HDAC1 was reintroduced to their system their cognitive function returned.
Of course, no one is removing HDAC1 from people who have Alzheimer’s but people who have the condition do show similar DNA damage. This suggests that HDAC1 may be a miracle drug in the future of Alzheimer’s and other neural diseases associated with old age. If this drug can repair the crucial DNA to allow cognitive functions to perform properly it may be a killer blow to some of these ailments.
Further tests are clearly required. In the test with mice, the HDAC1 was purposefully removed and then put back in. This is very different from some natural occurring breakdown of DNA and trying to replace it, but it does give hope. Whether this new drug can be the panacea for all old age mental diseases only time will tell but it a huge win for the science community already.
The majority of people don’t mind getting old. If you have lived a good and healthy life most of us welcome old age with open arms. However, it is sad when an incredible person who has lived a remarkable life is robbed of their memories and their knowledge. To take away the things that mean the most to someone at that age is truly cruel and if there is a drug that can put a stop to it then it will change to the whole idea of old age.
Let’s hope that the further studies required show positive results and that this treatment can be released quickly. This drug has the power to turn the idea of old age on its head.