Hypertension drug shown to extend lifespan and slow ageing – study

Hypertension drug shown to extend lifespan and slow ageing – study

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There is no secret to halting the ageing process, but researchers are edging ever closer to the answers. An emerging area of interest in ageing science is identifying drugs that mimic the beneficial effects of caloric restriction. The appeal to repurposing these medications is to find an alternative approach to cellular recycling that does not produce undesirable side effects.

According to recent findings, the hypertension drug rilmenidine may reduce the rate of ageing in worms.

Though it has yet to be established how these effects would impact humans, it’s been hypothesised that the life-prolonging effects may be replicable in other beings.

Professor João Pedro Magalhães, who led the research whilst at the University of Liverpool, said: “With a global ageing population, the benefits of delaying ageing, even if slightly, are immense.

“Repurposing drugs capable of extending lifespan and health span has a huge untapped potential in translational geoscience.

“For the first time, we have been able to show in animals that rilmenidine can increase lifespan. We are now keen to explore if rilmenidine may have other clinical applications.”

The study, conducted by the University of Liverpool, demonstrated that both health span and lifespan benefited from the hypertension drug.

The worms, at younger and older ages, showed signs of increased lifespan mimicking the effects of caloric restriction.

Caloric restriction has been considered one of the most promising interventions against ageing.

Studies of its effects in humans, however, have yielded mixed results, prompting researchers to find safer alternatives.

In general, calorie restriction results in weight loss, which means that less energy is required to maintain the reduced body mass.

As the metabolic rate is reduced, it is hypothesised that this could boost lifespan by decreasing the rate of free radical damage.

In previous research, it was shown that rilmenidine exerts autophagy and mitophagy in mice, and serves as a neuro-protector.

There is substantial evidence indicating that these activities have crucial roles in the regulation of animal lifespan.

The National Institute on Ageing explained: “Caloric restriction means reducing average daily caloric intake below what is typical or habitual, without malnutrition or deprivation of essential nutrients.

“In a fasting diet, a person does not eat at all or severely limits intake during certain times of the day, week, or months.

“These eating patterns are being studied as possible ways to maintain good health and live longer. They are not temporary weight-loss plans.”

Decades of research has been conducted on a variety of animals, including worms, crabs, snails, fruit flies and rodents.

“In many experiments, calorie-restricted feeding delayed the onset of age-related disorders and, in some studies, extended lifespan,” explained the National Institute on Ageing.

Though the results are promising in animals, researchers still have much to learn about the efficacy and safety of these regimens in the long run for humans.

There isn’t yet enough evidence to recommend any such eating pattern to the general public, so repurposing drugs with fewer side effects represents an immense potential ageing science.

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