Sunday, December 23, 2007


Bipolar Drug Increases Worm’s Lifespan

‘A recent study has found that an older, commonly prescribed bipolar drug — lithium — can significant increase the lifespan of a certain type of worm. Researchers at the Buck Institute said nematode worms treated with lithium showed a 46 percent increase in lifespan.

It is not yet known whether people taking lithium might also benefit in a similar manner with an increased lifespan.

In the study, scientists discovered the worms’ longevity increased when the lithium reduced the activity of a gene that modulates the basic structure of chromosomes.

“Understanding the genetic impact of lithium may allow us to engineer a therapy that has the same lifespan extending benefits,” said Gordon Lithgow, the lead researcher in the study. “One of the larger questions is whether the lifespan extending benefits of the drug are directly related to the fact that lithium protects neurons.”‘

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