Reduced insulin signaling may halt aging, disease

Genetically engineering mice to reduce the insulin signaling between the brain and the rest of the body increased their longevity as well as their quality of life, according to a new study. And finding a drug that can accomplish the same task in humans may well signal a new approach to combating the effects of age. A team of researchers at Children's Hospital Boston tested their hypothesis by engineering mice to reduce the level of the protein Irs2 in their brains. Those mice lived 18 percent longer even though they weighted more and had higher blood insulin levels. The scientists believe that by reducing insulin-like signaling in the brain, but not in the rest of the body, they postponed cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions linked to shorter life spans.

"The easiest way to keep insulin levels low in the brain is old-fashioned diet and exercise," says team leader Morris White. But any drugs that would be developed to mimic that effect would have to target the brain only, as Irs2 is vitally needed in other parts of the body.

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- this is the report from Xinhuanet

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