"Anti-Aging Hormone" Found in Mice; May Help Humans

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"I don't think that klotho will turn out to be a master control gene for aging," Dietz, the Johns Hopkins geneticist, said.

"But I do think that klotho is clearly a regulator of many phenotypes [gene-related observable traits] that are associated with aging and that we'd like to alter," he said.

"If they could be manipulated, they would increase not only the length of life but the quality of life."

Body, Heal Thyself

Fifteen years ago scientists didn't even know that certain genes play a key role in regulating the aging process. But today scientists are using that knowedge to dramatically lengthen the life spans of worms, yeast cells—and now mice.

"We used to think of aging as if our bodies were cars that would wear out and break down," said pathologist David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School.

"But we now realize that, because we're biological organisms, we have cell-repair capacity, Sinclair said. "In every cell it's as if we have a mechanic who can be brought into action to slow the processes of deterioration and decay that lead to aging."

"We're just learning how to control those mechanics. The potential of the body to heal itself is huge."

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