Imagine a physiological love triangle: in one corner, a force with the weight of millions of years of evolutionary programming trained on preventing runaway replication; in the other, the set of epigenetic regulators that must maintain the ability of stem cells to churn out whatever kind of cell they need to. At first glance, the…

Since the world of Alzheimer’s therapeutics hasn’t seen much practical benefit from targeting harmful proteins like amyloid-beta, maybe other approaches like targeting dysfunctional mitochondria are worth exploring in more depth. Apparently, improving mitochondrial function can decrease plaque burden and improve cognition in a mouse model. Why do cancer survivors have shorter lifespans than the rest

All cells in your body have the same DNA, yet they express different proteins and do different things. How does that happen?  Various alterations in your cells affect the expression of genes, without altering their contents.  This is known as epigenetics. Cells of different tissue types have different epigenetic alterations that lead them to produce…

Keeping one eye on your calories, and the other on that delicious-looking pumpkin pie? Don’t worry–your Thanksgiving sins probably won’t hurt your longevity as long as you’re fasting sometimes. You can thank your gut bacteria. What do insulin resistance and 17th century Prague have in common? The first rare variant that dramatically increases human lifespan…

For much of the 20th century, the prevailing wisdom was that once cells were fully differentiated, their identities were crystallized eternally–a neuron was a neuron forever, and that was that. Then in 1987, something almost magical happened for the first time: with the help of a single transcription factor, a mature fibroblast was completely remade…

(Part I of II.) Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill had an interesting mission: first, transform scar tissue (like the kind that forms after heart attacks) into ordinary cardiac muscle. Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill Of course, that wasn’t the interesting part. We’ve been able to transform cells of one type into cells of another, completely…

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