The secret of longer life

Mouse Hak atas foto SPL
Image caption Could this mouse help us to live longer?

Scientists believe they have found an area within the brain that controls the ageing process.

In a series of experiments on mice, they found that changes to this region could shorten or lengthen the animal's lifespan. The study is published in the journal Nature.

Reporter

Rebecca Morelle

Report

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The hypothalamus is a small structure located deep within the brain. It plays a critical role in controlling growth, reproduction and metabolism - but now it could hold the key to ageing too.

A team of scientists in the US looked at this region of the brain in mice. They found that blocking a chemical in this area increased the animals' lifespan. Healthy mice typically live for between 600 to 1000 days.

But the rodents in the study were living about a fifth longer without suffering problems that are common in old age, such as muscle loss or memory problems. Conversely, when the scientists boosted the substance in the hypothalamus, the animal's lifespan was shortened.

The researchers now want to fully understand the biological mechanism behind this process. They say the work could provide new insights into age-related diseases - and in the future even raise the prospect of drugs that could increase our lifespan.

Vocabulary

Listen to the words

a critical role: satu peran penting

reproduction: reproduksi

metabolism: metabolisme

lifespan: usia hidup

typically: biasanya

common: sering/biasa terjadi

conversely: sebaliknya

boosted: menambah

biological mechanism: mekanisme biologis, proses di dalam tubuh

prospect: prospek, kemungkinan

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