LongevityWe all feel uncomfortable when hearing the word ‘aging’, and a great deal of modern people are trying to make all possible efforts for living longer. The most popular approaches for achieving longevity include eating a healthy diet with large amounts of organic foods and natural antioxidant sources, leading an active lifestyle and getting involved in plenty of physical activities during the day, maintaining a healthy body mass, quitting smoking and getting rid of other bad habits, preventing stresses by using meditation, aromatherapy, relaxation, and other effective stress management techniques, taking full benefits of regular good sleep, having healthy sexual relationships, achieving spiritual balance, using natural solutions and herbal remedies for strengthening our immune system and preventing various diseases, doing regular health check ups, learning a much as possible information on healthy lifestyle, including the latest findings of related scientific studies and researches, and so on.

At the same time, our Mother Nature knows plenty of secrets to help people live a longer and healthier live, and a great deal of scientists have been working for many years to open those secrets to living longer. For example, an expert group at the Institute of Health Aging at University College London has been doing research and trying to develop new interesting approaches to providing healthy aging and possibly combating the diseases linked to aging. For the last few years their work has been focused on studying the effects of diet as a factor to slow down aging and help aging people stay healthier. They carried out a series of experiments with warms, yeast, and, finally, fruit flies. The latter share 60 per cent genetics with humans. Living LongerThe primary experiments have shown that the pattern of aging in fruit flies are very similar to the ones in humans: aging files suffer from poor appetite and eat less, they do not walk and move too much, their sex drive and memory are on decline, etc.

The scientists used specially developed diet plans and medication treatment in order to improve health condition and extend the lifespan of the aging flies. Similar ‘anti-aging programs’ were also tested on mice and lab rats. A group of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dementia like brain disorders were taken as the main symptoms of aging, and the objective of the study was to reduce these symptoms. After experimenting with the diet and offering various diet plans to the lab animals, the scientists came to the following conclusions: “If you reduce the diet of a rat by 40 per cent it will live for 20 or 30 per cent longer. So we would be talking 20 years of human life. This has shown on all sorts of organisms, even labradors,” said Dr. Matthew Piper, one of the leaders of the study group. He underlines that the findings are the first in their nature and require further research to be fully explained, but they should be considered an interesting and a new direction to get to the secrets to living longer and enjoying healthy aging.

Genetics has become another important factor which was also thoroughly researched by the British experts. The scientists managed to achieve positive results and substantially prolong healthy lifespan of lab insects and animals by making certain genetic modifications. It is obvious that genetics plays a key role in longevity, and new studies are on the way to fully understand the links between these two concepts. Dr. Piper said that the findings of his colleagues can totally be applicable to humans, but only after the theoretical findings will go through proper practical tests and clinical trials. Right now, another team of the researchers from the University of Leicester is working on establishing the links between genetics and lung cancer risk in people who have family history of smoking. The findings of the expert group at the Institute of Health Aging were presented this summer in the annual Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, 2012, and received very positive reviews of the experts and the finest scientific minds of the UK.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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