Active members of the Calorie Restriction Society have had a positive influence on the degree and direction of calorie restriction (CR) research in humans for a number of years now, helping scientists who have demonstrated that fewer calories mean less age-related disease and quite probably more healthy life. As is true of many of the best patient advocate and pro-research advocacy groups, the Calorie Restriction Society has close ties with the scientific community; members have stepped up to the plate to help human studies happen more rapidly. You can find links to a number of more recent results at the Longevity Meme, including these:
Now the society is stepping up again, this time to raise funding for further CR research. This initiative will build upon existing relationships with talented, well known scientists to correlate gene expression and cell signaling indicators in human calorie restriction practitioners to clinical markers of health and aging. In essence, this work will continue to raise the bar in proving beyond a doubt that CR in humans is very beneficial to healthy longevity. You can find more information about the researchers in a PDF format release at the society website:
Luigi Fontana, M.D., Ph.D.
A key aspect of this new CR study will be to build on the CR study reported by Dr. Fontana in 2004, thus establishing a longitudinal aspect to the evaluation and adding many further tests. The major objective of the proposed research is to determine whether long-term CR with adequate nutrition results in some of the same metabolic, hormonal and gene expression changes in humans that have been shown to be made by CR in rodents.
This study may also help to characterize in humans new markers of aging and longevity that can help physicians contribute to the prediction of mortality and morbidity of the general population.
Dr. Fontana says, "It is the hope of those of us studying CR that, once its mechanisms of action are understood, it will be possible to mimic the effects of CR on aging using less drastic interventions."
One of his great contributions to aging science is the genetic profiling of calorie restriction effects on animals. Dr. Spindler in one of his famous CR studies ("Use of microarray biomarkers to identify longevity Therapeutics," Aging Cell, 2006. PMID: 16441842) writes, "CR acts rapidly, even in late adulthood, to begin to extend life- and health-span in mice. We have linked these effects with rapid changes in the levels of specific gene transcripts in the liver and the heart. Our results are consistent with the rapid effects of caloric intake on the lifespan and/or biochemistry and physiology of Drosophila, rodents, rhesus macaques and humans."
Building on years of work on animals, Dr. Spindler and his lab will provide insights into how calorie restriction affects genetic expression in calorie-restricted humans.
Shin Imai joins the study to focus on the function of mammalian Sir2 NAD-dependent deacetylase. Dr. Imai writes: Sir2 has been demonstrated to play key roles in regulating aging and longevity in lower eukaryotes and also implicated as a mediator for caloric restriction, which retards aging and extends life in variety of organisms.
To move forward with the work, Calorie Restriction Society activists are seeking to raise $230,000 in donations. You can help support this work:
We need to raise $230,000 to make this project happen. This means we need contributions large and small. Make an investment that is priceless and learn more about slowing aging - what works and what doesn't. Please send your donation directly to the Society Treasurer,
David R. Stern
7223 S Rt 83 #142
Willowbrook, IL 60527
Bob Cavanaugh at the Calorie Restriction Society
187 Ocean Drive
Newport, NC 28570
For other payment options, please contact The Calorie Restriction Society by phone at:
914-923-1605 or toll-free at 866-894-1812
The Calorie Restriction Society is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Contributions are fully tax deductible.