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Worms Discover a Fountain of Youth
HealthJolt
Nov 25
2007

Worms Discover a Fountain of Youth

Worms Antidepressant

Not quite the place we thought we would find the fountain of youth, but a worm study might help us find a way of living longer.

US researchers experimented with 88,000 different drug compounds searching for ones that extended the life of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They found that the antidepressant drug mianserin extended the life span of the worms by about 30 percent. While it's a big step from a worm to a person, the biology of this roundworm is very similar to humans and other animals.

The research seems to show that the antidepressant extends life by tricking the brain into thinking the body is starving. The drawback to the life extending benefits of the drug is the side effects of weight gain and increased appetite. The findings are interesting to compare to previous studies which have shown that reducing food intake in certain animals by 30% can cause them to live longer.

The researchers now want to find out if the same mechanism can help people live longer as well without the misery of going hungry.

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