Aging is a process that affects all functions of the human body, particularly brain function. However, aging can be delayed through lifestyle changes (physical exercise, restricting calorie intake, etc.). Researchers at the Institut Pasteur and CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) have elucidated the properties of a molecule in the blood - GDF11 (image) - whose mechanisms were previously unknown. In a mouse model, they showed that this molecule could mimic the benefits of certain calorie restrictions - dietary regimens that have proven their efficacy in reducing cardiovascular disease, preventing cancer, and increasing neurogenesis in the brain. The results of this research were published in the journal Aging Cell on October 22, 2019. The open-access article is titled “Systemic GDF11 Stimulates the Secretion of Adiponectin and Induces a Calorie Restriction-Like Phenotype in Aged Mice.” Today it is possible to maintain a healthy brain in the long term. For the past 30 years, it has been generally acknowledged that certain diet restrictions such as intermittent fasting can improve cognitive performance and extend life expectancy in several species. It has also been proven that calorie restriction (a reduction in calorie intake of 20% to 30% while preserving nutritional quality) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, while increasing production of new neurons in the brain. In a previous study using mouse models, scientists observed that injecting aged mice with blood from young mice rejuvenated blood vessels in the brain, and consequently improved cerebral blood flow, while increasing neurogenesis and cognition.
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