Monday, December 31, 2012

Diet and Healthy Aging

A NEJM article points out that calorie restriction promotes longevity in many creatures, including dogs, monkeys, fish, mice, spiders, beetles, nematode worms, fruit flies, and yeast. Understanding the common mechanisms that seem to exist might lead to improved healthy aging for humans, and the evidence so far suggests that reduced caloric indicate is the key. For example, a 20-year study in monkeys showed that experimental animals receiving 30% less of the unrestricted diet of the controls were healthier as they aged (less diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain atrophy) and had fewer age-related deaths. This sounds good, but the probability that we would not be able to stick to such a restricted diet means we’re never likely to know if dietary restriction can extend healthy human life.

Monday, December 24, 2012