Enhanced Longevity: When Is It Real, and How Can We Be Sure

Via the Gerontology Research Group mailing list, my attention was directed to the upcoming 2009 San Antonio Nathan Shock Conference on Aging:

Lifespan/Healthspan Extension in Aging Research: When Is It Real and How Can We Be Certain?

Conference Dates: October 15 - 18, 2009
Conference Location: Mayan Ranch, Texas Hill Country, Bandera, Texas

A look at the PDF program will show you that researcher Peter Rabinovitch is amongst the speakers with a talk entitled "Lifespan Extension by Catalase Overexpression: Here, Gone, and Back Again…". You might recall that he is one of those to have demonstrated a significant increase in mouse life span by targeting an antioxidant - the naturally produced catalase in this case - to the mitochondria. Others in this select group include Skulachev, associated with the Russian Science Against Aging initiative, and some folk at the University of Missouri who used a different approach to Rabinovitch but also increased catalase in the mitochondria.

The interesting question is why this works while generally increasing catalase - or indeed any other type of antioxidant - without specifically targeting mitochondria has no effect or even detrimental effects on life span. This is no doubt related to the importance of mitochondrial damage in degenerative aging.

Scientists generally concur that accumulated damage throughout the body due to free radicals is one important root cause of age-related degeneration - but the devil is in the details. The vast, overwhelming majority of those free radicals are generated by your own [mitochondria] as an unavoidable byproduct. The rate of free radical generation increases greatly with age as the basic mechanisms of your of [mitochondria] are themselves damaged by the free radicals they created.

But back to considering the conference: you should also recognize many of the other speakers from the gerontology community. It looks like being an interesting event.

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