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The fountain of youth found: researchers reverse biological ageing process

Israeli scientists claim to have found the “holy grail” of medical breakthroughs and reversed the ageing process.

The study from Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to reverse two indicators of biological aging and is said to be the first study of its kind.

Published in the journal Aging, the researchers say they turned back the biological clock for 35 adults aged 64 and older by reversing two key indicators of aging; telomere length and senescent cells accumulation.

Telomeres shorten as people age causing DNA to be damaged, while at the same time senescent cells are building up and stopping the body from regenerating.

The participants were placed in a pressurised chamber and given the pure oxygen treatment for 90 minutes a day, five days a week for three months. 

The results showed that the length of their telomeres increased by 20 per cent and senescent cells reduced by up to 37 per cent.

The researchers say that the cells of participants were equivalent to what they would have been 25 years earlier.

Professor Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center at Shamir Medical Center, said: “Since telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of ageing, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are being extensively explored in the hopes of enabling telomere elongation.”

“The significant improvement of telomere length shown during and after these unique protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that ageing can indeed be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level.”

The participants did not change any other lifestyle factors, such as diet or medication adjustments, that may also be associated with slowed ageing.

“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibition effect on the expected telomere length shortening,” said Dr Amir Hadanny, co-author of the study.

“However, what is remarkable to note in our study, is that in just three months of therapy, we were able to achieve such significant telomere elongation – at rates far beyond any of the current available interventions or lifestyle modifications.”

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