#20: 🧓🏻 Loss of Epigenetic Information Causes Aging
By manipulating the epigenome, aging can be accelerated and reversed
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🧓🏻 Loss Of Epigenetic Information Causes Aging
🇦🇺 Australia Changes Classification Of Psilocybin & MDMA To Enable Prescription
🧠 Human Mini-Brains Grafted Into Injured Rats Restore Their Sight
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🐁 Loss Of Epigenetic Information Causes Aging
An international study more than 13 years in the making was published on January 12, 2023 in the journal Cell by Dr. David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard. The study demonstrates that epigenetics drives aging independent of changes in the DNA genetic code. Dr. Sinclair explains his latest findings in this 4 minute video.
Previously aging was thought to be due to an accumulation of DNA mutations which cause cells to age, lose functionality and die. This study found that epigenetic change is a primary driver of aging in mammals. The researchers demonstrated that a loss of epigenetic information causes mice to age, and that restoring the integrity of the epigenome reverses the signs of aging.
The experiments were conducted on laboratory mice and involved creating temporary, fast-healing cuts in their DNA. This mimicked the low-grade, ongoing breaks in chromosomes that mammalian cells experience every day in response to things like breathing, exposure to sunlight, and contact with certain chemicals. The researchers sped up the number of breaks to simulate life on fast-forward.
As time passed, the proteins and enzymes which control epigenetic factors were relocated along the chromosome after repairing breaks, leading to a disorganized epigenome which lost its original information. As the mice lost their epigenetic function, they began to look and act old.
Then, the team gave the mice a gene therapy to reverse the epigenetic changes they caused. The therapy delivered a trio of genes - Oct4, Sox2 and Klf4, together named OSK. After treatment, the mice’s organs and tissues resumed a youthful state. Exactly how the OSK treatment works remains unclear.
The results offer a new way to explore the role of epigenetics in aging and a turning point in our ability to control aging.
Who’s working on epigenetic reprogramming?
1️⃣ Rejuvenate Bio is “unlocking the power of gene expression and epigenetic reprogramming to reverse pre-existing heart disease, metabolic disease, and kidney failure in humans.”
2️⃣ Epic Bio has engineered a miniature CRISPR-Cas system to create a compact, efficient and specific system for epigenetic engineering.
🇦🇺Australia Becomes First Country To Reclassify Psilocybin And MDMA And Enable Prescription
Starting July 1st, 2023, MDMA and psilocybin will be rescheduled and legalized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for prescription by authorized psychiatrists for the treatment of PTSD and Treatment Resistant Depression in Australia.
Psilocybin can be used to treat treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as there is sufficient evidence for potential benefits in certain patients. Only psychiatrists approved under the Authorized Prescriber Scheme by the TGA can prescribe these treatments to ensure the safety of patients.
This decision recognizes the lack of options for patients with treatment-resistant mental illnesses and is a major step forward in using psychedelics in a controlled medical setting.
For these specific uses, psilocybin and MDMA will be listed as Schedule 8 (Controlled Drugs) in the Poisons Standard. However, for all other purposes, they will remain in Schedule 9 (Prohibited Substances) and largely restricted to clinical trials.
The decision was the result of applications to the TGA to reclassify the substances, extensive public consultation, a report from an expert panel, and advice from the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling.
🧠 Human mini-brains grafted into injured rats restore their sight
Brain organoids or ‘mini-brains”, are a cluster of brain tissue with the potential to rebuild areas of the injured brain, according to a recent study published in Cell Stem Cell led by Dr. Han-Chiao Isaac Chen at the University of Pennsylvania.
The study is one of the first to show that human mini-brain tissue can integrate with an injured rat brain and perform its intended function.
The researchers found that these mini-brains can merge with adult rats' brains and perform functions such as supporting vision. The organoids developed a preference for light shone at a particular orientation, indicating a sophisticated level of visual processing.
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8 Facts About the Platypus
The platypus does not have a stomach.
The platypus does not have teeth and uses gravel to chew
Their bills can detect electric fields, allowing them to hunt with their eyes, ears and nose closed.
The platypus is a monotreme, with one hole that serves as both an anus and urino-gential opening.
The platypus lays eggs and nurse their young without nipples but through mammary gland ducts in their abdomen.
The male platypus has venomous spurs.
The plurals for platypus are platypuses, platypodes or platypi, but the latter two are rarer in use.
Scientists thought the first known platypus was a hoax. When the first platypus specimen was sent back to England from Australia in the late 18th century, zoologist George Shaw thought someone had put parts of different animals together - the webbed feet, a bill like a duck, a body like an otter and a tail like a beaver. Jokes on them because the platypus is real and awesome.