An Overblown Claim of Skin Aging Reversal

I can see this item from EurekAlert! getting much press, due to the nature of the claim: researchers "have reversed the effects of aging on the skin of mice, at least for a short period, by blocking the action of a single critical protein." That is greatly overstating the case. The researchers have identified a linked network of changes in gene expression that occur with age, and demonstrated that they can reverse those changes through a comparatively simple feat of engineering. The result looks positive at first, but what about the wear and tear and biochemical damage of age? What about the buildup of AGEs and other harmful compounds? What about damaged mitochondrial DNA and oxidized lipoproteins? What about the prospects for cancer when damaged skin cells are restored to full operation? This is a good technology demonstration, and a good investigation of the complex genetic mechanisms of a single organ - but it is not a general reversal of skin aging, as will no doubt be trumpeted in the general press.


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