Scientific American last week published an online article, Anti-Aging Pill Targets Telomeres at Ends of Chromosomes. If this is for real, anyone know a good broker I can call?
New York-based T.A. Sciences claims to be the only company in the world manufacturing a supplement in a pill form that has been lab tested and shown to stop telomeres from shortening, in hopes of halting the aging process. The product, TA-65, comes from extracts of the Chinese herb astragalus, which has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 1,000 years, says Noel Patton, chief executive officer of the company.
The telomore is the matter located at the protective ends of chromosomes, and each chromosome has two telomores at its ends.
They protect chromosome ends from being mistaken for broken pieces of DNA that would otherwise be fixed by cellular repair machinery. But every time our cells divide, the telomeres shrink. When they get short enough, our cells no longer divide and our body stops making those cells. Over time, this leads to aging and death.
The telomere shortening mechanism normally limits cells to a fixed number of divisions, and animal studies suggest that this is responsible for aging on the cellular level and sets a limit on lifespans. Telomeres protect a cell's chromosomes from fusing with each other or rearranging – abnormalities which can lead to cancer – and so cells are normally destroyed when their telomeres are consumed.
Forensic Science has written about a connection between telomore length and aging: "A 2002 Japanese study found that an individual's age can be roughly estimated from the length of their telomeres, making it possible to determine the age of any forensic sample that contains well-preserved DNA."
And, "Formerly, forensic scientists were forced to rely on morphological characteristics (such as the growth and decay of bones) to determine an individual's age."
Read more here.