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A new startup backed by an anti-aging wunderkind is taking cues from animal hibernation to help humans recover from heart attacks and strokes

A new startup backed by an anti-aging wunderkind is taking cues from animal hibernation to help humans recover from heart attacks and strokes

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  • Fauna Bio, a new biopharmaceutical startup backed by venture capitalist Laura Deming, is researching hibernating animals to unveil clues about how the human body can protect itself in emergency medical conditions like trauma, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Hibernating animals have the ability to manipulate their metabolic rates, control blood flow levels, protect tissues against damage, and put on and lose a large amount of weight safely.
  • The company is working to re-create a hibernation-like state in patients by using a combination of repurposed drugs that are used now for other indications, and natural compounds like melatonin.

Hibernation allows bears to sleep through entire winters – now a new startup wants to replicate this state in humans to help protect the body against severe injuries.

Ashley Zehnder, Katie Grabek, and Linda Goodman started Fauna Bio in June after they met studying different, but very complementary projects at a post-doctoral lab in Stanford.

Their company is backed by 24-year-old venture capitalist Laura Deming, who runs The Longevity Fund, which principally invests in aging-related research and discoveries.

Hibernating animals are excellent at healing themselves after suffering the equivalent of a heart attack or a stroke. The reason is because these animals are adept at manipulating their metabolism.

Hibernation as a trait can be a spectrum. True hibernators, like bears, drop their body temperature by 2-6°C for 6-9 months.

Smaller animals, like pet hamsters, go into something called torpor, which is a light form of hibernation that can occur daily. Their small size forces them to lower their body temperature more drastically in order to achieve the same metabolic processes. By proxy, they have to re-warm their bodies more periodically.

This dynamic physiology allows them to control blood flow to their heart, function in low oxygen settings (hypoxia), and protect tissues against damage and deterioration.

The Fauna team is mapping and analyzing hibernators’ RNA and DNA, and linking important genes into a network that can be activated pharmacologically. These genes span across networks in charge of energy metabolism, circadian rhythm, and insulin management.

These also overlap with the mTOR, one of the pivotal pathways implicated in aging, and AMP Kinase, a cellular metabolic pathway that’s activated by diabetes drug Metformin.

How hibernation can improve medical outcomes in emergency rooms

Emergency rooms use therapeutic hypothermia to lower patient metabolic rates and improve their survival rates in cases of traumatic brain injury, strokes, and heart attacks. This cools the body artificially from outside inwards.

“We’re forcing the body to cool when it doesn’t really want to, and that causes problems. It causes deficiencies in immune function so people get really bad pneumonia, they have issues with blood clotting,” Zehnder told Business Insider. “Part of what we’re doing is trying to figure out what are the exact initiating factors to be able to allow you to lower metabolic rate, without having to be cooled from the outside. That’s something a lot of the model hibernators do.”

Mimicking short term hibernation or creating a synthetic torpor – accounting for caveats like maintaining immune function, preventing blood clots, and stopping muscle deterioration – can help patients safely cool, heal, and re-warm. Heart attack patients can recover without suffering heart damage, and stroke therapy can be enhanced.

It can also be given long-term to patients with diabetes or silent ischemic heart attacks to resist damage from severe cardiac or metabolic events.

Further research can aid obese patients in losing weight safely, since hibernators have mastered the craft.

“We have a couple of avenues for advancing the work that we’re doing for human trials,” Zehnder said. “Each of those have different development paths and different levels of capital efficiency.” These include repurposing drugs that are already on the market, using natural compounds, and inventing new drugs.

In a recent experiment, combining the natural compounds beta-hydroxybutyrate and melatonin improved survival in animals suffering from a 60% blood loss. This combination will enter human trials sometime this year as a form of trauma therapy.

Currently, the company’s 12-18 month timeline involves a mix of experiments that they’re kicking off in the following weeks. One or two of the products will advance to pre-approval stages by late 2019.

“It’s a great time to be doing this type of work,” Zehnder said. “We’re really sitting on the precipice of being able to take advantage of new genetic drug discovery tools.”

See also:

‘There is no reality here’: Researchers whose work inspired a startup to charge $8,000 to fill patients’ veins with young blood say it’s putting lives at risk

‘There is no reality here’: Researchers whose work inspired a startup to charge $8,000 to fill patients’ veins with young blood say it’s putting lives at risk

A bag of red blood cells.

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A bag of red blood cells.
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Joern Pollex/Getty Images
  • A startup called Ambrosia Medical that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with the blood of young people plans to launch its first clinic in New York City at the end of this year.
  • Researchers who study blood transfusions called the procedure “dangerous” and said the idea behind it is based on “incorrect interpretations” of their work.
  • Founded by Stanford graduate Jesse Karmazin, the company recently completed the first clinical trial designed to assess the benefits of young blood transfusions. Those results have not been published.

Does young blood hold the keys to a long and healthy life? Startup founder and and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin believes it might, so he launched a startup called Ambrosia Medical that fills older people’s veins with fresh blood from young donors.

But researchers who study the procedure say it poses major risks for patients, including an elevated risk of developing several serious conditions later in life, such as graft-versus-host disease, which can occur when transfused blood cells attack the patient’s own cells, and transfusion-associated lung injury.

Irina and Michael Conboy, two University of California at Berkeley researchers who’ve published research on young blood transfusions in mice, called Ambrosia’s plans “dangerous.”

“They quite likely could inflict bodily harm,” Irina Conboy told Business Insider.

The Conboys’ concern stems from an awareness of what happens in the body when it receives foreign blood from a donor.

“It is well known in the medical community – and this is also the reason we don’t do transfusions frequently – that in 50% of patients there are very bad side effects. You are being infused with somebody else’s blood and it doesn’t match,” Conboy said. “That unleashes a strong immune reaction.”

Karmazin told Business Insider that the Conboys’ statements “are not supported by data or clinical experience.”

“Millions of plasma transfusions are performed safely in the US each year and the FDA monitors the safety of the blood supply and transfusions closely. We agree with the Conboys that exposure to young plasma has potential beneficial effects. Further research in this field at Stanford and Harvard, amongst other institutions, indicates that ‘blood dilution’ is not responsible for the observed effects, so it is not clear what the basis for that statement is.”

The first clinical trial of its kind

blood

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Getty Images/Joern Pollex

In 2017, Ambrosia enrolled people in the first US clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with blood from the young.

While the results of that study have not yet been made public, Karmazin told Business Insider the results were “really positive.”

Because blood transfusions are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Ambrosia’s approach has the green-light to continue as an off-label treatment. There appears to be significant interest: since putting up its website last week, the company has received roughly 100 inquiries about how to get the treatment, David Cavalier, Ambrosia’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider. That led to the creation of the company’s first waiting list, Cavalier said.

“So many people were reaching out to us that we wanted to make a simple way for them to be added to the list,” Cavalier said.

With that in mind, Cavalier and Karmazin are currently scouting a number of potential clinic locations in New York City and organizing talks with potential investors. They hope to open the facility by the end of this year.

“New York would be the flagship location,” Karmazin said.

Blood tranfusions are already approved by federal regulators, so Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.

So far, the company has already infused close to 150 patients ranging in age from 35 to 92 with the blood of young donors, Cavalier said. Of those, 81 were participants in their clinical trial.

The trial, which involved giving patients 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over two days, was conducted with physician David Wright, who owns a private intravenous-therapy center in Monterey, California. Before and after the infusions, participants’ blood was tested for a handful of biomarkers, or measurable biological substances and processes that are thought to provide a snapshot of health and disease.

People in the trial paid $8,000 to participate. The company hasn’t settled on a commercial pricetag for the procedure, Karmazin said.

Young blood and anti-aging: ‘There’s no reality here’

Conboy’s research was one of a handful of studies that initially inspired Karmazin to pursue young blood transfusions for anti-aging benefits.

But she told Business Insider that Karmazin’s work was based on an “incorrect interpretation.”

“Not only is it incorrect, it’s dangerous,” Conboy said.

In 2005, Conboy pioneered a study using parabiosis, a 150-year-old surgical technique that connects the veins of two living animals, to see whether the blood from a younger mouse could have benefits on an older mouse.

And while she did observe some benefits as a result of the procedure, she pointed out to Business Insider that the animals weren’t simply swapping blood – the older rodent was also reaping the benefits of the younger one’s more vibrant internal organs and circulatory system too. Conboy believes that – not the young blood itself – is likely what accounted for the positive effects she saw.

“When old and young mice are sutured together they share organs too – including their kidneys and all the important filtering organs,” Conboy told Business Insider. “Imagine you had a new liver. You’d probably see benefits too.”

Conboy followed up that work with a more recent study in 2016 to see what would happen if she merely exchanged the rodents’ blood without connecting their bodies in any way. She found that while the muscle tissue in the older mice appeared to benefit slightly from the younger blood, they still couldn’t say for sure that these modest benefits were coming from the young blood itself. After all, the experiment had also fundamentally changed the older mouse blood by diluting it.

“Something about the old blood seemed to be having a negative effect, yes, but young blood was not capable of rejuvenation,” Conboy said.

Michael Conboy said part of the problem is simply the fact that there’s too much old blood for the young blood to have a substantial effect on its own.

“Is there really something in the young blood that would override all the negative effects from the old blood?” Conboy said. “Until someone repeats that I’m not sure that I believe it. Even scientists with the best of intentions can observe something that’s a fluke.”

Meanwhile, the Conboys said there are substantial risks with giving older people the young blood of donors. Those include a heightened immune response which is triggered with increasing magnitude every time the procedure is completed.

A 2012 study published in the journal Transfusion outlines the risks of blood transfusions and includes these risks, as does published work from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

“Every time you do it you’re magnifying your immune response,” Michael Conboy said. “Reputable physicians who do this for life-threatening conditions know this risk.”

A controversial startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood is opening its first clinic

A controversial startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood is opening its first clinic

source
Getty Images/Joern Pollex
  • A startup called Ambrosia Medical that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with the blood of young people plans to launch its first clinic in New York City at the end of this year.
  • Founded by Stanford graduate Jesse Karmazin, the company recently completed the first clinical trial designed to assess the benefits of young blood transfusions.
  • Although his team has not yet published the results of the trial, Karmazin said the results were “really positive.”

To startup founder and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin, blood is the next big government-approved drug.

Karmazin recently launched Ambrosia Medical – a startup that fills the veins of older people with fresh blood from young donors – in the hopes that the procedure will help conquer aging by rejuvenating the body’s organs. The company plans to open its first clinic in New York City by the end of this year, Karmazin told Business Insider.

In 2017, Ambrosia enrolled people in the first US clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with blood from the young.

While the results of that study have not yet been made public, Karmazin told Business Insider the results were “really positive.”

Because blood transfusions are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Ambrosia’s approach has the green-light to continue as an off-label treatment. There appears to be significant interest: since putting up its website last week, the company has received roughly 100 inquiries about how to get the treatment, David Cavalier, Ambrosia’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider. That led to the creation of the company’s first waiting list, Cavalier said.

“So many people were reaching out to us that we wanted to make a simple way for them to be added to the list,” Cavalier said.

With that in mind, Cavalier and Karmazin are currently scouting a number of potential clinic locations in New York City and organizing talks with potential investors. They hope to open the facility by the end of this year.

“New York would be the flagship location,” Karmazin said.

The first clinical trial of its kind

A bag of red blood cells.

caption
A bag of red blood cells.
source
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Because blood tranfusions are already approved by federal regulators, Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.

So far, the company has already infused close to 150 patients ranging in age from 35 to 92 with the blood of young donors, Cavalier said. Of those, 81 were participants in their clinical trial.

The trial, which involved giving patients 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over two days, was conducted with physician David Wright, who owns a private intravenous-therapy center in Monterey, California. Before and after the infusions, participants’ blood was tested for a handful of biomarkers, or measurable biological substances and processes that are thought to provide a snapshot of health and disease.

People in the trial paid $8,000 to participate. The company hasn’t settled on a commercial pricetag for the procedure, Karmazin said.

“The trial was an investigational study. We saw some interesting things and we do plan to publish that data. And we want to begin to open clinics where the treatment will be made available,” Cavalier said.

Karmazin added that the trial showed the treatment to be very safe.

“The safety profile was essentially perfect, or as good as plasma transfusions are,” Karmazin said.

Young blood and anti-aging: Are there any benefits?

Karmazin is right about the safety of blood transfusions and their capacity to save lives.

A simple blood transfusion, which involves hooking up an IV and pumping the plasma of a healthy person into the veins of someone who’s undergone surgery or been in a car crash, for example, is one of the safest life-saving procedures available. Every year in the US, nurses perform about 14.6 million of them, which means about 40,000 blood transfusions happen on any given day.

But as far as young blood is concerned – and its alleged potential to fight aging – the science remains unclear.

“There’s just no clinical evidence [that the treatment will be beneficial], and you’re basically abusing people’s trust and the public excitement around this,” Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who led a 2014 study of young plasma in mice, recently told Science magazine.

Karmazin is still optimistic. He got the idea for his company as a medical student at Stanford and an intern at the National Institute on Aging, where he watched dozens of traditional blood transfusions performed safely.

“Some patients got young blood and others got older blood, and I was able to do some statistics on it, and the results looked really awesome,” Karmazin told Business Insider last year. “And I thought, this is the kind of therapy that I’d want to be available to me.”

So far, no one knows if young blood transfusions can be reliably linked to a single health benefit in people.

Karmazin said “many” of the roughly 150 people who’ve received the treatment have noted benefits that include renewed focus, better memory and sleep, and improved appearance and muscle tone.

But it’s tough to quantify these benefits before the study findings are made public. There’s also the possibility that simply traveling to a lab in Monterey and paying to enroll in the study could have made patients feel better.

Studies in mice don’t necessarily translate to results in people

Karmazin was inspired to create his blood infusion treatment after seeing seeing several mouse studies that involve parabiosis, a 150-year-old surgical technique that connects the veins of two living animals. (The word comes from the Greek words para, or “beside,” and bio, or “life.”)

Irina Conboy, a bioengineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley who pioneered one of these parabiosis studies in mice in 2005, found evidence that the exchange had done something positive for the health of the older mouse who received the blood of the younger mouse. But the animals weren’t simply swapping blood – the older rodent was also reaping the benefits of the younger one’s more vibrant internal organs and circulatory system.

In other words, the researchers couldn’t say for sure whether it was the blood itself that was doing the apparent reviving or if the fact that the animals were linked in other ways was responsible for those perceived benefits.

In 2016, Conboy and her team ran another study to see what would happen if they merely exchanged the rodents’ blood without connecting their bodies in any way. They found that while the muscle tissue in the older mice appeared to benefit slightly from the younger blood, they still couldn’t say for sure that these modest benefits were coming from the young blood itself. After all, the experiment had also fundamentally changed the older mouse blood by diluting it.

“The effects of young blood on old tissue seems to be rejuvenating; however, there is no concrete evidence that young blood is what is causing the change in results. It may very well be the dilution of old blood,” Ranveer Gathwala, a UC Berkeley stem-cell researcher in Conboy’s lab who co-authored the 2016 paper, previously told Business Insider.

Nevertheless, Karmazin remains hopeful that the benefits he said he’s witnessing are the result of young blood transfusions.

“I’m really happy with the results we’re seeing,” he said.

At 112, America’s oldest man has the secret to a long life

At 112, America’s oldest man has the secret to a long life

THE oldest living man in America wakes on his couch at 4:25am and wonders if it’s still raining.

On May 11, he turned 112, “And I have no pains, no aches.”

The blinds of his home are drawn shut. The trickles from an overnight storm fall onto the trees.

“Turn on the lights,” he says to his caregiver, who has sat by his side all night, waiting for Richard Overton to open his eyes.

He’s helped onto a scale, which says his frail figure is a perfect 56kg. His blood pressure is a solid 110 over 80. His body temperature is 37 degrees.

On this morning, the supercentenarian sits on his favourite recliner. He reaches for his cigar box and unwraps two Tampa Sweet Perfectos with his long fingernails – one for now, one to tuck in his shirt pocket for later.

The neighbours are still asleep. The sun has yet to rise. The birds aren’t singing. And the rain, that darn rain, is still drizzling. He hopes today won’t be like yesterday, when a constant storm prevented him from doing the thing he loves most.

If the weather is nice, Overton sits on his front porch. His friends call it his “stage”. He’ll hum with the birds, snoop on his neighbours and wave at honking cars.

Best of all, it’s where he smokes most of his 12 daily cigars.

For now, the dark sky is still a mystery. So Overton reclines in his seat, passing the time with three cigars until the first glimmer of blue sky sneaks between the blinds.

“There she is,” he says with a smile, smoking one more Tampa Sweet before putting in his teeth.

Oldest US veteran, too

Life has slowed year by year for the lifelong Austin resident.

He was born in 1906, the same year as the first wireless radio broadcast and a year before Oklahoma became a state.

He fought in World War II in a segregated Army unit and, after returning from war, spent the bulk of his career working at furniture stores, then at the Texas Department of Treasury.

Now he’s the oldest man in the United States, verified by the Gerontology Research Group, and the oldest veteran.

Every day, strangers stop by the house on Richard Overton Avenue to take his picture or shake his hand. He’s even featured on a mural down the street from his home.

Life has slowed down, year by year, for Overton, the oldest man in the US at 112.

Life has slowed down, year by year, for Overton, the oldest man in the US at 112.

Unlike most celebrities, Overton lived an entire life of anonymity before acquiring his fame. In 2006, at age 100, Overton was just a retired man who liked garage sales, yard work and driving his Monte Carlo.

Then he got to 106. He met President Barack Obama, politicians, athletes and celebrities. Comedian Steve Harvey once asked him his secret. Overton’s reply?

“Just keep living, don’t die.”

Every morning, his caregivers make him multiple cups of coffee. Overton takes it with three spoonfuls of sugar and a plastic straw.

He likes sweet things. He eats waffles, pancakes or cinnamon rolls for breakfast. He enjoys ice cream and peach cobbler for dessert. He loves Dr Pepper, which he calls “sweet juice”.

His four caregivers switch between 12-hour shifts. They do anything Overton wants. Massage his feet. Pull up the blinds. Pour him his favourite drink, a whiskey and Coke.

He can be demanding, because even with his loss of independence, he’s still the man of the house.

Last year, he woke in the middle of the night to a new male caregiver he didn’t recognise. So, he got his loaded .38. When the police arrived, they gently asked Overton to put the gun down. No charges were pressed, and the gun was unloaded and hidden in a safe spot.

Now, the caregivers let him know who’s coming.

Americas oldest man, Overton, has four nurses who rotate on 12-hour shifts, during his 24-hour home care, and his cousin, Volma Overton, and family friend, Martin Wilford, spend most of the day with him.

Americas oldest man, Overton, has four nurses who rotate on 12-hour shifts, during his 24-hour home care, and his cousin, Volma Overton, and family friend, Martin Wilford, spend most of the day with him.

Just another day

Overton likes routines. He listens to the Isley Brothers and wears his favourite WWII veteran hat.

He exercises, swinging his legs back and forth as he sits.

And he still travels. Last summer, he flew to Memphis with his cousins for a family reunion.

But there was a problem with his ticket. The computer misread his birth year of 1906, which they learned at the airport when the person at the check-in counter looked at their reservation and asked about the 11-year-old.

Overton likes to mess with people. He has terms of endearment for those he loves, words that aren’t appropriate for a family newspaper. He’s also a ladies’ man, always flirting with caregivers and nurses.

He outlived his six sisters, three brothers, wife and ex-wife. He never had kids.

He has a first cousin who lives down the street and a third cousin who stops by daily.

In December 2016, a family member created a GoFundMe page to finance his 24/7 in-home care. The page has raised more than US$234,000 (RM930,000), but much of that money has already been spent.

Once it’s gone and the caregivers go, they fear he will, too.

Overton doesn’t worry about death. “I didn’t know when I came here, and I don’t know when I’m going,” he said. “That’s God’s work.”

His main concern is the weather. And by 10 am, the forecast of sunny is perfect for the stage.

His day has already included six cigars, a cinnamon roll and a glass of milk. Now comes the best part. He’s helped to his feet and grips his walker.

A lit cigar is folded between his fingers with three more tucked in his shirt pocket.

He shuffles toward the front windows, leaving behind a smoky trail. When the door opens, a breeze, his first in two days, kisses his cheek. He exhales.

“It always feels good out here.”

He sits in the only lawn chair that’s bathing in the sun. The birds are singing, so he hums along. He smiles at the blue sky, and waves at his neighbour.

This is where he’ll be when he turns 112. Last year on his birthday, there was a party on his front lawn, where 200 people lined up to take a photo with him like kids waiting to meet Santa Claus.

This year, there’ll be two DJs, food, drinks and T-shirts that say, “Keep living, don’t die.”

Overton knows the celebration is for them.

For him, it’s just another day – hopefully a sunny one, with three packs of Tampa Sweet Perfectos. – The Dallas Morning News/Tribune News Service

Caretakers do everything for Overton, whose care is financed by a crowdsourced fund, set up by a family member.

Caretakers do everything for Overton, whose care is financed by a crowdsourced fund, set up by a family member.

New evidence suggests that a diet with key benefits for your body and brain may also shield against aging

New evidence suggests that a diet with key benefits for your body and brain may also shield against aging

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Instead of combing grocery store aisles for miracle diet ingredients, consider this: the healthiest eating plan is mind-blowingly simple. It involves consuming more vegetables, fruits, and protein, and fewer processed carbohydrates.

That’s the conclusion of a growing body of research, which suggests the best way to eat to maximize your chances of a long and healthy life is to seek out whole foods. There are a variety of names for this type of eating plan. Some call it Mediterranean, others call it “plant-based.” But the gist is the same: a regimen that centers around vegetables, incorporates some types of protein and fat, and limits heavily processed foods and refined carbohydrates like the kind found in bagels and breakfast bars.

Fill your plate with plants like spinach, tomatoes, and beans, studies suggest. Top that off with proteins and fats from salmon, nuts, and eggs, and you’ll be more likely to see benefits including weight loss, a stronger heart, fewer depressive symptoms, and even a longer life.

In the latest study highlighting the benefits of this diet, researchers at Italy’s Neuromed Institute found that those who ate the most like Mediterraneans were significantly less likely to die from any cause than their peers who did not. Their research, published last week in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at data on close to 12,000 people and found that the Mediterranean diet could be a powerful protective shield.

“The more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the greater the gain in terms of mortality risk reduction,” Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at the Neuromed Institute, said in a statement.

Eating like a Mediterranean for a longer, healthier life

avocado smoked salmon blueberries healthy food meal bowl tomatoes lunch

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For the latest study, scientists performed two analyses. First, they scored the diets of 5,200 people over age 65 to determine how closely they followed a Mediterranean eating plan, based on a widely used dietary questionnaire. Each participant got a score from 0-9 (9 being the most Mediterranean-like; 0 being the least). Then the researchers followed the participants for eight years, noting any deaths and their causes.

The team found that people who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to die. Those who ate the least like a Mediterranean, on the other hand, faced a higher risk of death.

For the second part of the study, researchers analyzed six additional studies on diet and mortality. Including the participants in their own study, the total number of people analyzed amounted to nearly 12,000. Collectively, that analysis also found a link between sticking to the Mediterranean diet and living longer.

In addition to potentially prolonging life, eating like a Mediterranean also appears to help protect against some of the mental declines that come with age, such as slowed cognitive performance, according to a study published last summer in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

For that research, scientists analyzed the diets of 6,000 older people against their performance on a range of cognitive tests like word lists and counting exercises. Those whose eating plans lined up with Mediterranean-style diets did significantly better than the people who didn’t eat like Mediterraneans.

In fact, the more closely aligned people’s diets were with a Mediterranean-style plan, the lower their risk of scoring poorly on the quizzes.

“These findings lend support to the hypothesis that diet modification may be an important public health strategy to protect against neurodegeneration during aging,” Claire McEvoy, the lead author of the paper and a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of California San Francisco, wrote in the paper.

Adding ‘life to years, not just years to life’

woman running stretching fitness exercise jogging

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Researchers still aren’t sure why Mediterranean-style eating plans are so beneficial for the brain and body, but they have some clues.

The diet is rich in antioxidants and two types of healthy fat: monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have found a link between these ingredients and a reduced risk of dementia, as well as higher cognitive performance.

The green vegetables and berries emphasized in one version of the Mediterranean diet called the MIND diet have also been shown to help protect against progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. This loss, known as neurodegeneration, is a key characteristic of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Mediterranean-style diets also do a good job of satisfying all of your body’s needs – the eating plan satiates muscles that crave protein, soothe the digestive system with fiber, and supply tissues and bones with vitamins.

“We think that our data launch an important message in terms of public health,” Giovanni de Gaetano, another author on the recent paper, said in a statement. “We must add life to years, not just years to life.”

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