I prefer to think of aging as a slow graceful process, occurring over years. Well, that may not be so, say researchers at Northwestern University. Their studies in flatworms called C. Elegans have uncovered particular genetic switches that turn on the aging process. You may be thinking, what the heck do worms have to do with humans?

Well, many characteristics are common to animals and humans. In this case C. elegans is very similar, biochemically speaking, to us. When reproduction takes place, switches are activated that send particular messages to cells. The messages say to turn off the protective power of the stress response that keeps particular proteins folded, thus helping the aging process along. The researchers call it a quality control mechanism, and feel it may present another way to explore aging related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders.

Knowing how the cells switch on stress could even lead to delay of age related diseases and help improve quality of life.

Read more at www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2015/07/genetic-switch-determines-longevity-in-animals.html

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