Are cancer prevention and cellular reprogramming really enemies?

Imagine a physiological love triangle: in one corner, a force with the weight of millions of years of evolutionary programming trained on preventing runaway replication; in the other, the set of epigenetic regulators that must maintain the ability of stem cells to churn out whatever kind of cell they need to. At first glance, the…

Research roundup: The microbiome in neurodegenerative disease, and more

It’s looking increasingly likely that our little bacterial buddies have a major influence on neurodegenerative disease, from producing extra amyloid, to regulating inflammation, to generating free radicals. In mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, a protein complex that forms part of the nervous system’s innate immune system binds to toxic amyloid-beta, promoting the formation of plaques.

Evolution eats the old to feed the young

Part II of III in a series on the evolution of aging. (Part I, Part III) Sex and death have been friends for a long time. Many people would tell you that death–or rather, aging–wasn’t around until we started reproducing sexually, and if you examine the tree of life you’ll see a lot of evidence

The Aging Immune System

The immune system degrades as we age. The elderly get sick more often, take longer to recover from illness or injury, are more prone to cancer, and more prone to autoimmune issues. Why this happens is a question scientists are just beginning to answer.   Like other cells, your immune cells are subject to telomere…

Research roundup: The Hippo in your heart, and more

The Hippo pathway controls cellular regeneration, so why not modify it to heal the heart after the scarring caused by a heart attack? Six weeks later, mouse hearts were good as new. modify it Cytomegalovirus (a herpes virus) infects over 90% of humans, often silently, but this mostly harmless little viral companion takes up far…

Research roundup: Untangling ApoE4, and more

It’s been known for ages that individuals with two ApoE4 alleles were virtually destined to develop Alzheimer’s, but its link with the hallmark Alzheimer’s protein amyloid-beta was obscure, and it wasn’t clear what ApoE really did in the brain. Now researchers think that the culprit is the inflammatory response it triggers in the presence of…

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