Aging is one of the Big Mysteries of science. We all know it happens, and has certain symptoms, and leads to death, but the question of which symptoms are actually causes remains. New research, however, has pointed in an interesting direction: mitchondiral DNA. Swedish researchers have found
that mice with deficient mtDNA repair enzymes age faster than control mice. Hmm. Very, very interesting. I'll be interested to read more about this, as that press release doesn't give any detail as to why the effect might be necessary or sufficient as a cause of aging. It may cause it in fact, but does it do so in life?
It's a very strange idea, particularly because of what mitochondria are
in the first place: not exactly part of us. I actually don't remember...do prokaryotes age?
Duke researchers have done something very cool. They've found that fat cells (adipocytes) seem to be able to be converted into nerve cells
, and in fact seem to act as nerve cells, reacting to Glutamate via NMDA. Well, they should just let me know and I'll happily donate some adipocytes for their research!!