Human ageing process reversed in unique study, Israeli scientists say
"Ageing can indeed be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level," study co-author says.
In a potentially sensational breakthrough, scientists in Israel have claimed that they have successfully reversed the human ageing process following a study involving a group of elderly people.
Scientists reportedly used oxygen therapy to reverse two key hallmarks of biological ageing - telomere shortening and a growing number of senescent cells that had stopped working.
In a unique study, oxygen treatment altered the elderly people's bodies at a cellular level to how they were 25 years previously, researchers claimed.
As humans age, their bodies endure the diminishing of telomeres - the protective caps on chromosomes - which causes diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Senescent cells, or zombie cells as they are otherwise called, prevent regeneration as they build up in the body as we age.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel discovered that breathing in oxygen whilst sitting in a pressurised chamber enabled telomeres – the protective caps on chromosomes – to regrow.
"Since telomere shortening is considered the 'Holy Grail' of the biology of ageing, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are being extensively explored in the hopes of enabling telomere elongation," said Professor Shai Efrati, a Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, and co-author of the study.
"The significant improvement of telomere length shown during and after these unique protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that ageing can indeed be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level," Efrati added.
The study's findings, which have been published in the journal Ageing and which were reported by Britain's MailOnline on Friday, showed how the trial enabled telomeres to regrow by more than 20 per cent, while their senescent cells had been reduced by up to 37 per cent.
This is equivalent to how their bodies were in cellular terms 25 years earlier.
The study involved 35 healthy adults aged 64 and older, who entered pressurised oxygen chambers and breathed in pure oxygen through a mask.
The sessions lasted 90 minutes each and took place five days a week for three months.
The pressurised chamber echoes a state of oxygen deprivation, or 'hypoxia', allowing tissues to dissolve more oxygen to boost the regeneration process.
Researchers employed a technique called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in a bid to stop the deterioration of these two characteristics of ageing.
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