From the Editor; January 2012; Scientific American Magazine; by Mariette DiChristina; 1 Page(s)
“And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” as the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln goes. Although we humans have never been satisfied with the biblical allotment of threescore and ten, neither do we want to extend our life span only to pass the time in a decrepit state. No, we want a longer health span.
Might we be on the trail of one? The cover story, “A New Path to Longevity,” by David Stipp, describes intriguing research into a billion-year-old mechanism that slows aging and could postpone the diseases of old age, letting us live healthier lives for longer. The work centers on studies of a protein called mammalian TOR, or mTOR. Interference with mTOR in mice by a drug called rapamycin in three parallel experiments extended life for the rodents by 9 to 14 percent—showing that the molecule plays a central role in aging.