Greenland Shark

Oldest Vertebrate Lifespan? The Greenland Shark at 400 years.

Original Article Here

A new record has been set for the oldest vertebrate, and it’s not a giant tortoise orBowhead whale. Instead, the record-holder appears to be the Greenland shark, which new evidence suggests lives can live for 400 years, with average adults exceeding two centuries.

Greenland sharks live in the North Atlantic at both the surface and to depths of around 2 kilometers (at least 1.3 miles). They are poorly studied, although their status as among the slowest of sharks has been known for a while. A slow-moving lifestyle usually goes with a long lifespan, but no one knew just how long this meant for Somniosus microcephalus until Julius Nielsen of the University of Copenhagen collected the eye lenses of 28 female sharks caught as bycatch during scientific surveys of Greenland.

The ages of fish are usually calculated from calcified tissues, but Greenland sharks don’t have any that could be tested. The center of the eye is formed during embryonic development, and being made of inert crystalline proteins, does not experience a change of atoms through an individual’s lifespan. Consequently, radiocarbon dating of these proteins has been used to estimate the age of animals where this is hard to measure through other means.Females were chosen because they outgrow males, reaching typical sizes of 4 to 5 meters (13 to 17 feet).

A Greenland shark caught as by-catch by the research vessel Palmut. Julius Nielsen

In Science, Nielsen has revealed the average lifespan of the sharks was 272 years, and that they did not reach sexual maturity until 156 ± 22 years.

The oldest individual was estimated to be 392 years old, give or take 120 years. However, as this individual was 5 meters (17 feet) long, which is average for an adult female, some sharks almost certainly exceed four centuries.

Despite living on the other side of the world from most test sites, the younger sharks showed evidence of radioactive isotopes released during nuclear testing in the 1950s and ’60s. However, the eyes of sharks longer than 2.2 meters (7.3 feet) showed no such signs. The isotopic ratios at the center of the eye are consistent with the diet of an adult shark, rather than a young one that would feed on smaller prey. Together, these findings confirmed the theory that the proteins contain atoms laid down before the shark was born, and that the age estimates are reliable.

Although the Greenland shark is widespread across the North Atlantic, and only classified as “near threatened”, long-lived animals usually have low birthrates and struggle to recover from population shocks, suggesting the sharks may be vulnerable.

The findings make the Greenland shark easily the current record-holder for the oldest vertebrate, almost doubling the previous record of 211 years for a Bowhead whale. Invertebrates such as a clam named Mingand deep sea corals, still have the advantage, however, living for more than 500 years.

Not bad for a species whose Latin name means tiny brain.

A Greenland Shark in Disko Bay, Greenland. Julius Nielson


XX protection against age-related mutations

Original Article Here Via ScienceDaily

Rendering of hromosomes. A protective effect of the second X chromosome has been identified in fruit flies. Credit: © Giovanni Cancemi / Fotolia

Rendering of hromosomes. A protective effect of the second X chromosome has been identified in fruit flies.
Credit: © Giovanni Cancemi / Fotolia

Researchers at the University of Valencia’s Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology have put the ‘unguarded X hypothesis’ to the test and confirmed that differences in lifespan between the sexes, a widespread phenomenon in nature, may indeed be due to the protective effect of having two copies of the X chromosome.

In this study, carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford, researchers analysed the lifespans of male and female fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), having subjected both to different levels of inbreeding. The work, published in the journal ‘Biology Letters’, brings some much-needed empirical evidence in support of the ‘unguarded X hypothesis’, proposed 30 years ago to explain why, for instance, XY males ages faster than XX females. Specifically, the study targets one of its fundamental predictions: that inbreeding shortens lifespan more in females than in males.

Pau Carazo, director of the research team at the UV, explains: “the differences in lifespan between the sexes can be partly explained by the fact that the accumulation of mutations over the course of a lifetime, or passed on from generation to generation, has a larger affect on the sex that has just one ‘unguarded’ copy of the X chromosome; generally males, including in human beings.”

He adds, “if the guard effect is important, we can expect inbreeding to affect the lifespan of the homogametic sex (individuals with two of the same sex-determining chromosomes) to a greater extent than the heterogametic sex (with two different sex-determining chromosomes). This is because, in the latter group, the X chromosome is always ‘unguarded’, with or without inbreeding, while in the former group the X chromosome is only ‘guarded’ if the two X chromosomes are different, which is not the case after repeated inbreeding.”

The findings were consistent with this prediction.

The explanation for this ‘guard’ effect lies in the fact that most genetic mutations are by nature recessive. For XX individuals, this means they are only harmful when the same mutation occurs in both copies of the X chromosome, otherwise they are simply not expressed. However, in the case of XY individuals, with no ‘guard’, any recessive mutation present in either the X or the Y chromosome would be expressed unconditionally. So by making the two X chromosomes in female fruit flies the same through inbreeding, the researchers essentially cancelled out the protective effect of the second X chromosome, meaning that recessive mutations were expressed at the same rate among males as among females.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Asociación RUVID.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Pau Carazo, Jared Green, Irem Sepil, Tommaso Pizzari, Stuart Wigby.Inbreeding removes sex differences in lifespan in a population ofDrosophila melanogaster. Biology Letters, 2016; 12 (6): 20160337 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0337
Basis by Elysium

This could be the beginning of More Years and Less Tears – Basis by Elysium Health

Time will prove the validity of this supplement, but time is ticking. I submit to you the first major commercial anti-aging supplement to be introduced by anti-aging research scientist since the inception of this blog.

Link to the product here.


Science has enabled us to focus on the cellular level to achieve optimal health, beyond what can be accomplished with diet and exercise. Basis is designed to optimize NAD+ levels and sirtuin function in our cells to support our most critical metabolic processes like cellular detoxification, DNA repair and energy production.


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For decades, scientists have been searching for answers to what internal mechanisms lead to ongoing health as well as health decline. This led to the discovery of a critical coenzyme called NAD+, which controls cellular communication, and sirtuin proteins, which play a key role in our long-term health. Sirtuin proteins require NAD+ to function, and our NAD+ levels naturally decline over time, leading to a decline in cellular health. With a focus on NAD+ and sirtuins, we can help to sustain their function over time and support the health of the building blocks of our body — our cells. This is the purpose of Basis.


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Nicotinamide Riboside Pterostilbene

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One’s ability to identify different smells may impact longevity

Original Article Here Via EurekaAlert!

In a recent study of older adults, those with a reduced ability to identify certain odors had an increased risk of dying during an average follow-up of 4 years. The mortality rate was 45% in participants with the lowest scores on a 40-item smell test, compared with 18% of participants with the highest scores.

The study included 1169 Medicare beneficiaries who scratched and sniffed individuals odorant strips and chose the best answer from 4 items listed as multiple-choice.

“The increased risk of death increased progressively with worse performance in the smell identification test and was highest in those with the worst smelling ability, even after adjusting for medical burden and dementia,” said Dr. Davangere Devanand, lead author of the Annals of Neurology study. “This was a study of older adults–the question that remains is whether young to middle-aged adults with impaired smell identification ability are at high risk as they grow older.”


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

under construction

Change to Site – Forums Gone – Papers Added

The forum section of the site has not yet taken off the way I had hoped. Also, when I switched hosts, I lost some of the more aesthetically pleasing attributes on the forum. I have also come to realize the site could benefit from a collection of published anti-aging papers. I have decided to replace the forum with this repository. I will return to the forum in the future.


Joao Pedro De Magalhaes

Dr. João Pedro Magalhães SPOTLIGHT

Bio From His Personal Website Here  – His Lab Can Be Found Here  – His Twitter Here

In Addition to this spotlight, permanent links can now be found on our links page.

Dr. João Pedro Magalhães

I am originally from Porto in Portugal but have lived in Belgium and in Boston in the US, and I’m also of Spanish ancestry. Professionally, and following training at Harvard Medical School, I am now a Senior Lecturer (equivalent to an Associate Professor) at the University of Liverpool in England. My lab studies aging and longevity, in particular at the genetic level. As detailed on my website dedicated to the biology of aging, I would ultimately like my work to help people live longer, healthier lives by contributing to retard, stop or reverse human aging. I have published dozens of scientific papers, including in top journals (e.g.,Nature– and Cell-family journals), and have given over 100 invited talks, including a TEDx talk. My research and I have been widely featured in scientific outlets (Science, Scientific American,New Scientist, etc.) and in the popular press (BBC, CNN, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and many others). I am also an advisor/consultant for various organizations, including nonprofit foundations and biotech companies. My academic work is further described on my lab’s website. I live in Heswall, Wirral, United Kingdom.

I think the human condition is only the beginning of the extraordinary journey of the mind through the universe. Technologies like genetic engineering, stem cells, cybernetics, and nanotechnology will allow us to ‘hack’ biology and evolve beyond our current human limits. As such, I am a so-called “transhumanist” in that I defend that humankind stands a better chance of survival if we understand and employ technology rather than if we try to ban it. I’m also an atheist with a life philosophy merging humanism, utilitarianism, and objectivism. May the dreams of today become the future.

Music is one of the greatest joys in my life. I started to play guitar in high school and in 1999 made a symphonic metal demo-album entitled The Legend of Hrothgar. All my songs are available for download in MP3 format.

I’m also an amateur stand-up comedian. You can find some of my older humor attempts in my news satire and cartoons sections, though nowadays I tend to use more Facebook and Twitter for this.

Among my other hobbies, I must highlight science fiction and football.

Please browse around my website to learn more about me, follow me on Twitter for the latest news, or skim through the FAQs. I am always open to suggestions, ideas, and criticisms, so please feel free to contact me.

Via and their youtube account. Thank you!

How Old Are You, Really? Biological Age Is Harder to Pin Down Than You Think

BY  ON JAN 24, 2016

Original Article Here

In less than a month, I’ll be leaving my roaring 20s behind.

Like anyone crossing into a new decade of life, it feels surreal. I don’t look 30. I don’t feel 30. My health is better than it’s ever been. I tell my doctors I’m hitting the big 3-0 simply because that’s what the calendar — my only yardstick for the passage of time — is telling me.

how-old-are-you-really-31But what if there’s a better measure for age? A number that reflects how well your body is functioning as a whole, that predicts how rapidly you’re aging, that informs physicians when to expect medical issues, that aids the search for anti-aging therapies?

That number is a person’s biological age.

Scientists are increasingly making the distinction between your chronological age — the number of years that you’ve lived — and your biological age.

It’s not just an academic curiosity. A 2015 study, which comprehensively analyzed the function of multiple body systems of nearly 1,000 young adults, found that a 38-year-old’s biological clock can read anywhere from a spritely 20 to a feeble 60.

Even more frightening is this: although none of the participants had overt health issues, some were aging three times faster than expected.

Most people think aging happens only later in life, but — not to be macabre — our life expectancy clocks are constantly ticking down, said first author Dan Belsky, a researcher at the Duke University Center for Aging.

If we want to prevent age-related disease, we’re going to have to start treatments young, he explained. The problem is: what is “young”? How do we tell a person’s true biological age?

It’s a surprisingly hard question to answer.

Belsky took the clinical route, repeatedly giving their participants the ultimate full body workup over multiple years.

His team measured the function of the liver, kidney, heart and immune system. They tracked metabolic rate, cholesterol levels, aerobic fitness and lung function. They measured memory, reasoning and creativity. They even looked at the length of telomeres — protective “caps” at the end of chromosomes that safeguard our DNA and chip away with age.

Using these data, the team was able to construct a monster algorithm that calculates a person’s biological age and predicts the pace of deterioration.

The study made waves, and for good reason: for the first time, scientists are able to quantify aging in a younger population before the first hint of diabetes, Alzheimer’s or other age-related diseases appears. Imagine if your biological age is 10 years older than what you expected, said Belsky. It’s like a tap on the shoulder, letting you know that you need to exercise, to try caloric restriction and take better care of yourself.

Yet Belsky stresses that his study is proof-of-concept only. It took years and a fortune, he laughed. For a test for biological age to go mainstream, we need “better, faster and cheaper” markers and methods.

The dream is to take a sample of your skin or blood and tell you what your biological age is, much like a saliva sample sent to 23andMe can tell you (among other things) what kind of earwax you have.

While researchers still disagree on what constitutes a good marker, recent advances have yielded a group of candidates.

All are related to molecular processes that correlate with aging.


Chromosomes are capped with repeating nucleotide sequences called telomeres that get shorter over time.

Discovered in the 1980s, telomeres are extra ATCG bits that trail off the end of chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, telomeres get chopped shorter, until they reach a critical length and prohibit the cell from dividing further. Subsequent population-wide studies found correlationsbetween telomere length, disease and mortality, further increasing its worth as a marker for biological age.



Backed by decades of research and a Nobel Prize, telomere length — a measure in Belsky’s study — is perhaps the leading candidate.

Scientists and investors alike have taken notice.

In 2010, Elizabeth Blackburn, one of the discoverers of telomeres, started a company in Menlo Park, California that provides analyses of telomere length from a person’s saliva sample. Life Length, a startup based in Madrid, claims to calculate a person’s biological age by the median length of their telomeres — if you’re willing to shell out $395 a pop.

Geron, another Silicon Valley company initially backed by Blackburn’s protégé, Carol Grieder, promised substantial clinical benefits of its telomere tests before abruptly switching gears. It now focuses on cancer therapies, and Grieder has long left her role as advisor to the company.

Geron’s switch away from telomere-based aging assays is telling. Telomere tests are fast, easy and cheap, but there’s one problem — they don’t particularly reflect age accurately when it comes to each individual person.

Honestly, the value of such tests is their “cocktail party” appeal, said Jerry Shay, a biologist at the Texas Southern Medical Center and advisor to Life Length. The variation in telomere length among people of the same age is huge, he explains. Besides, longer is not always better — recent studies have revealed a tradeoff between long telomeres and a higher risk of cancer.

Despite these caveats, telomere length still remains a highly valuable marker. “There’s going to be a huge amount of heterogeneity in any marker,” said Grieber. Telomeres are just part of the puzzle — the question is, what other markers can help complete the puzzle?


Human red blood cells.

Eline Slagboom, a molecular epidemiologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, has her money on blood.

Blood provides oxygen vital nutrients to every tissue in our body and in turn receives their waste products. We’ve known for years that the levels of some types of waste go up with age and correlate with declining organ function, said Slagboom.

For example, a 2011 study from Tony Wyss-Coray and Saul Villeda, then at Stanford University, found that injecting a young mouse with blood collected from an aged mouse throttles its brain function. Subsequent studies also showed negative effects of old blood on the liver and heart of younger recipients.

There’s a wealth of information hidden in blood, said Slagboom. Her team is running a massive study of 3,500 people aged between 40 to 110, looking at molecules in the blood that associate with age-related diseases, including cardiovascular health, dementia, diabetes and depression.

Slagboom and others’ efforts have already led to several pro-aging candidates.

Surprisingly, many are linked to the body’s immune function, which goes into overdrive with age. One candidate, with the unwieldy name of alpha1-acid-glycoprotein, is known to increase with age and independently predicts a higher risk for mortality. Another, B2M (beta-2-microglobulin), floods the body in old age and disrupts learning and memory.

Without a doubt, the race for identifying pro-aging (and pro-youth) factors is heating up.

Earlier last year, Wyss-Coray snapped up $50 million to fund his startup Alkahest, which hopes to reverse brain deficits by inhibiting pro-aging factors that accumulate with age. Although focuses on developing blood-based therapies, it’s not hard to imagine that the slew of pro-youth and pro-aging factors it uncovers could be used to measure a person’s biological age.*

In the end, no single factor — telomere, alpha1-acid-glycoprotein, B2M or other harder to measure markers such as DNA and protein damage — can paint a complete picture of a person’s true age. It’ll take multiple factors and a lot of trial and error.

But the stakes are sky high; for startups in the game of measuring biological age, literally so.

Objective age-related markers could push the anti-aging field into a whole new era, said Luigi Fontana at Washington University. They give us a way to test promising anti-aging drugs such as rapamycin andmetformin using short-term clinical trials. Instead of decades, we could be looking at months.

I can’t stress this enough, said Fontana. Knowing someone’s biological age is “very, very important.”

* Disclosure: The author works as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Saul Villeda, an advisor to Alkahest, at UCSF to study pro-youth factors in young blood.

Image Credit: sergign/Shutterstock.comunderworld/Shutterstock.comAJC; MdougM/Wikimedia Commons