Researchers now know key genes that extend life-span and protect health - Resveratrol improves life-span by promoting these processes

June 16, 2005

Recent technical and conceptual advances in genomics (the study of genes) brings us to the point of understanding the precise molecular events that make us age. Key genes and intracellular pathways have recently been discovered that are responsible for aging and longevity. This heralds an era when manipulation of these processes will enable us to live a longer, healthier life.

FOXO factors (transcription factors belonging to the forkhead/winged helix box gene) regulate genes that repair damaged cellular DNA, regulate the cell cycle, and contribute to a longer life. Excessive insulin release due to obesity and high caloric intake suppress FOXO, speed up aging and shorten the life span in many species. Large quantities of oxidizing free radicals are also generated that are pivotol for the onset of diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions, each of which shortens the life-span. FOXO factors prevent the suppression of FOXO and prevent the life shortening effects of insulin.

In humans, FOXO3a, FOXO1, and FOXO4 could hold the key to counteracting aging and common diseases. Just like caloric restriction, Resveratol, the plant derived polyphenol, improves the activity of these FOXO factors. Sirtuins are enzymes that extend life-span. Resveratrol activates sirtuins in cells. The sirtuins work by increasing FOXO activity and preventing the aging effects caused by insulin. Resveratrol by activating sirtuin enzymes and FOXO genes may increase life-span and help preserve health by decreasing the risk of life-shortening illnesses. The research review is published in the July 2005 edition of the Journal of Hypertension.

NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors increase the risk of heart attack in patients with arthritis - the very people who need these drugs the most

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine explored the risk of heart attack and the use of anti-inflammatory, pain relieving medication in 650,000 adults diagnosed with arthritis. The NSAID indomethacin (Indocin) increased the risk of heart attack by 71%, sulindac (Clinoril) increased the risk by 41%, and ibuprofen by 11%. The COX-2 inhibitors rofecoxib (Vioxx) increased the risk by 32%, and the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) increased the risk by 9%. However, the higher the dose with some of these anti-inflammatory drugs the greater the risk of heart attack. For instance, Vioxx if taken at 50mg or more each day, increased the risk of heart attack by a whopping 240%. Cardiovascular risk is an inherent risk in most anti-inflammatory drugs. The research was presented at the current Annual European Congress of Rheumatology.