New Drinks from Korea – Light Bulb Soda

Soda Drink in a Light Bulb

The Anti-Aging Pill

Karen Weintraub wrote . . . . .

Everyone is getting older. Few are happy about it.

An anti-aging startup hopes to elude the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and death at the same time.

The company, Elysium Health, says it will be turning chemicals that lengthen the lives of mice and worms in the laboratory into over-the-counter vitamin pills that people can take to combat aging.

The startup is being founded by Leonard Guarente, an MIT biologist who is 62 (“unfortunately,” he says) and who’s convinced that the process of aging can be slowed by tweaking the body’s metabolism.

The problem, Guarente says, is that it’s nearly impossible to prove, in any reasonable time frame, that drugs that extend the lifespan of animals can do the same in people; such an experiment could take decades. That’s why Guarente says he decided to take the unconventional route of packaging cutting-edge lab research as so-called nutraceuticals, which don’t require clinical trials or approval by the FDA.

This means there’s no guarantee that Elysium’s first product, a blue pill called Basis that is going on sale this week, will actually keep you young. The product contains a chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a compound that cells use to carry out metabolic reactions like releasing energy from glucose. The compound is believed cause some effects similar to a diet that is severely short on calories—a proven way to make a mouse live longer.

Elysium’s approach to the anti-aging market represents a change of strategy for Guarente. He was previously involved with Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a high-profile biotechnology startup that studied resveratrol, an anti-aging compound found in red wine that it hoped would help patients with diabetes. That company was bought by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, but early trials failed to pan out.

This time, Guarente says, the idea is to market anti-aging molecules as a dietary supplement and follow up with clients over time with surveys and post-marketing studies. Guarente is founding the company along with Eric Marcotulli, a former venture capitalist and technology executive who will be CEO, and Dan Alminana, chief operating officer.

The company says it will follow strict pharmaceutical-quality production standards and make the supplements available solely through its website, for $60 for a 30-day supply or $50 per month with an ongoing subscription.

“You have high-end prescription drugs up here, which are expensive,” says Guarente, gesturing upward. “And you have the nutraceuticals down there, which are a pig in a poke—you don’t know what you’re getting and you don’t know a lot about the science behind them. There’s this vast space in between that could be filled in a way that’s useful for health maintenance.”

An anti-aging pill with an ivory-tower pedigree could prove profitable. The $30 billion supplements market is growing at about 7 percent a year overall, Alminana says, and at twice that rate for online sales.

Elysium declined to name its investors, but it has some high-level endorsements. Its board includes Daniel Fabricant, former director of the FDA’s division of dietary supplements and now CEO of the Natural Products Association, a trade association. The company also has five Nobel Prize winners advising it including neuroscientist Eric Kandel, biologist Thomas Südhof, origin-of-life theorist Jack Szostak, and the 2013 laureate in chemistry Martin Karplus.

Karplus, now an emeritus professor at Harvard, said in a telephone interview that he was turning 85 this year and had asked the company to send him a supply of Basis as soon as it’s available. “I want to remind myself whether I really want to take it or not,” says Karplus.

Scientists have shown they can reliably extend the life of laboratory mice by feeding them less, a process known as “caloric restriction.” That process seems to be mediated by biological molecules called sirtuins. NAD is important because it’s a chemical that sirtuins need to do their work and is also involved in other aspects of a cell’s metabolism. In worms, mice, and people, NAD levels fall with age, says Guarente, so the idea is to increase levels of the molecule.

“NAD replacement is one of the most exciting things happening in the biology of aging,” says Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who has coauthored scientific papers with Guarente but is not involved in Elysium. “The frustration in our field is that we have shown we can target aging, but the FDA does not [recognize it] as an indication.”

Other experts said while NAD may decline with age, there is limited evidence that aging can be affected by restoring or increasing NAD levels. “There is enough evidence to be excited, but not completely compelling evidence,” said Brian K. Kennedy, CEO of the California-based Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Guarente says Elysium’s pill includes a precursor to NAD, called nicotinamide riboside, which the body can transform into NAD and put to use. In addition, the pill contains pterostilbene, an antioxidant that Guarente says stimulates sirtuins in a different way. Both ingredients can already be found in specialty vitamins. “We expect a synergistic effect [from] combining them,” he says.

Guarente says Elysium plans to gradually add to its product line with other compounds shown in academic labs to extend the healthy lifespan of worms, mice, or other animals. The company will do preliminary testing to make sure the products are not toxic but will not follow the arduous FDA approval process. Vitamins and supplements can be sold over the counter as long as they contain ingredients known to be safe and don’t make overly specific health claims.

Marcotulli says the company has some anecdotal evidence that Elysium’s pills make a difference. “For older demographics, we’ve heard really interesting feedback related to levels of energy. It’s very, very useful and restorative,” he says. And he takes the pills himself. “When I don’t have a supply, I feel actually fuzzy,” he said. “It’s become a staple of my routine.”

Guarente also says he takes Basis every day, along with 250 mg of resveratrol, the red-wine compound. Guarente also exercises—though not, he says, as often as he should.

He says it doesn’t trouble him that he sees no obvious benefits yet from his supplement regimen. Too many studies in the anti-aging field, he says, are too short-term to show real benefits. Or else they study people who are already unhealthy. “I think that’s the way it would be if something is really acting to slow your progression into decrepitude—you’re not going to notice that,” Guarente says.

Source: MIT Technology Review


Read more:

An MIT Scientist Claims That This Pill Is the Fountain of Youth . . . . .

Fried Prawn with a Blend of Moroccan Spices

Ingredients

1 lb raw king prawns in their shell
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
lemon wedges and fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Keeping one prawn whole, to use as a garnish, pull the heads off the rest and then peel away the shells, legs and tails. Using a sharp knife, cut along the back of each prawn and pull away and discard the dark thread.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter and fry the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the ground spices. Cook and stir for a few seconds, then add the prawns. Cook for 2-3 minutes over a high heat, until they turn pink, stirring frequently.
  3. Serve the prawns with the spicy butter poured over and garnished with lemon wedges and coriander.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Best of Morocco

In Pictures: Dishes of Vietnamese Restaurants in Tokyo, Japan

Beware of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure When Treating Hypertension

By analyzing medical records gathered over three decades on more than 11,000 Americans participating in a federally funded study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have more evidence that driving diastolic blood pressure too low is associated with damage to heart tissue.

The researchers caution that their findings cannot prove that very low diastolic blood pressure — a measure of pressure in arteries between heartbeats when the heart is resting and also the “lower” number in a blood pressure reading — directly causes heart damage, only that there appears to be a statistically significant increase in heart damage risk among those with the lowest levels of diastolic blood pressure.

“The take-home message is there is increased likelihood that if we use blood pressure drugs to push patients’ systolic blood pressures down to 120, which is a strategy supported by recent clinical trials, the consequence in those starting out with low diastolic blood pressures (e.g., below 80) may be that the diastolic number falls so low that we risk doing damage,” says J. William McEvoy, M.B.B.Ch., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine and member of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our key finding suggests that for some patients, there should perhaps be modification of intensive anti-hypertensive treatment recommendations issued last year as a result of the SPRINT trial, and that physicians shouldn’t look at driving down the top blood pressure number (the systolic number) in isolation without considering implications of lowering the bottom number.”

A summary of the findings was published Aug. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and coincides with the release of a similar analysis at the European Society of Cardiology Meeting by physicians from Hôpital Bichat in Paris, France.

Released last fall, the SPRINT trial showed protective cardiovascular benefits to patients when physicians aggressively treated high blood pressure down to 120/80 millimeters of mercury, with a primary emphasis on keeping systolic pressure — the top number, representing arterial pressure when the heart is pumping — at no more than 120.

“Although the SPRINT trial gave good, solid results that lower systolic pressure may benefit some high-risk patients, we wanted to check for potential unintended adverse outcomes that might come with such aggressive blood pressure treatment in patients with low diastolic blood pressure,” says McEvoy.

Although they called the SPRINT recommendations praiseworthy, particularly for patients at a high risk for cardiovascular disease, the Johns Hopkins team undertook the new analysis because there were some prior indications that people with very low diastolic blood pressure may suffer from inadequate pumping pressure through the coronary arteries that nourish the heart muscle itself.

For the analysis, McEvoy’s group used patient data gathered from 11,565 people in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a National Institutes of Health epidemiological project started in 1987. Participants at the start of the project had an average age of 57; some 57 percent were female, and 25 percent black.

Researchers followed the participants for 21 years in a series of five visits, with the last check-in in 2013. Each visit included blood pressure measurement, and several included blood testing.

From the blood samples, the ARIC scientists performed high-sensitivity cardiac troponin testing, a way of measuring a protein involved in muscle contraction levels, which rise when there is heart damage from a heart attack or blocked artery.

A troponin value greater than or equal to 14 nanograms per liter of blood indicates heart damage. After controlling for age, race, sex, diabetes, drinking, smoking and other factors, the researchers found that some 1,087 people with diastolic blood pressure below 60 millimeters of mercury were statistically twice as likely to have troponin-indicated heart damage, compared to participants with higher diastolic blood pressures ranging from 80 to 89 millimeters of mercury.

Some 3,728 people with a diastolic blood pressure between 60 and 69 millimeters of mercury were 52 percent more likely to have heart damage as measured by the high-sensitivity troponin test, with some 120 people in this range showing elevated troponin levels. People with a diastolic blood pressure range from 70 to 99 millimeters of mercury showed no greater risk of troponin-associated heart damage.

The Johns Hopkins team also looked for evidence of a link among low diastolic blood pressure and coronary heart disease — characterized by a buildup of fatty plaque that blocks blood flow — stroke and overall mortality risk.

Of those with the lowest diastolic blood pressure (under 60 millimeters of mercury), 165 had coronary heart disease events, like heart attacks; 56 had strokes; and 345 people died. On average, those with the lowest diastolic blood pressure below 60 millimeters of mercury were 49 percent more likely to have heart disease and 32 percent more likely to die of any cause.

As expected by the researchers, there was no apparent link between stroke risk and low diastolic blood pressure because evidence is strong that elevated blood pressure overall is a major risk factor for stroke, and the bottom value alone doesn’t particular contribute to risk of this outcome.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million American adults, or one in three, have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease, and controlling blood pressure with diet, exercise and medicines have vastly improved cardiovascular health, McEvoy says.

McEvoy says further research into the links between very low diastolic pressure and heart damage risk must be done, but he believes the evidence is already suggestive enough to warrant caution in further lowering diastolic pressure in some individuals.

Source: The Johns Hopkins University


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