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How human body ages?
Tokyo : Japanese researchers have discovered metabolites that are specifically related to aging and shed light on how the human body ages.
 
Metabolites, substances that are created during metabolism, can provide a wealth of information about an individual's health, disease, diet, and life-style. 
 
The results of the study identified some metabolites in the blood that increased or decreased in the older adults.
 
The researchers found 14 age-related metabolites. Half of these decreased in elderly people and the other half increased.
 
Antioxidants and metabolites related to muscle strength decreased in the elderly, whereas metabolites related to declining kidney and liver function increased.
 
"Of the 14 compounds, half of the them had decreased in elderly people. The decrease was found in antioxidants and in compounds related to muscle strength. Therefore, elderly people had less antioxidants and less muscle strength," said lead researcher Yanagida, professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan.
 
In addition, some of the age-related metabolites found on the same metabolic pathways have connected changes, which suggests that age affects them simultaneously.
 
"Functionally related compounds show the same tendencies to increase or decrease with age, or in other words, they show similar correlations," Yanagida noted, in the study published in the journal PNAS.
 
The decline in antioxidants and muscle strength suggest that it is important for individuals to consume foods high in antioxidants and to continue exercising, especially after the age of 65. 
 
This could help increase the levels of the related metabolites in the body and improve body conditions, the researchers stressed. 
 
"Longevity is a great mystery for us...We want to find how elderly people can live a happy final stage of life. This is the way we can contribute to human health," Yanagida maintained.
 
To find and analyse the metabolites, the team obtained blood samples, including red blood cells (RBCs), from 30 healthy individuals: 15 young adults and 15 older adults. 
 
Then, they used Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), a technique that separates liquids and detects substances, to identify the metabolites within the blood. 
 
From there, they could calculate the coefficients of variation, or the standard deviation of metabolite abundance divided by the average, to identify which compounds had increased or decreased in the older adults.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Not just asteroid impact, deadly malaria too killed dinosaurs
New York : Malaria -- often thought to be of more modern origin -- may have killed dinosaurs and the origin of this deadly disease may have begun in an insect such as the biting midge more than 100 million years ago, researchers reveal.
 
A new analysis of the prehistoric origin of malaria suggests that it evolved in insects at least 100 million years ago, and the first vertebrate hosts of this disease were probably reptiles, which at that time would have included the dinosaurs.
 
Malaria, that still kills more than 400,000 people a year, is often thought to have been originatd 15,000-eight million years old - caused primarily by one genus of protozoa, Plasmodium, and spread by anopheline mosquitoes.
 
“But the ancestral forms of this disease used different insect vectors and different malarial strains, and may literally have helped shape animal survival and evolution on Earth,” said George Poinar, Jr, researcher at Oregon State University.
 
Scientists have argued and disagreed for a long time about how malaria evolved and how old it is.
 
“I think the fossil evidence shows that modern malaria vectored by mosquitoes is at least 20 million years old, and earlier forms of the disease, carried by biting midges, are at least 100 million years old and probably much older,” Poinar suggested in a paper appeared in the journal American Entomologist.
 
In previous work, Poinar and his wife Roberta, implicated malaria and the evolution of blood-sucking insects as disease vectors that could have played a significant role in the extinction of the dinosaurs.
 
Understanding the ancient history of malaria evolution, Poinar said, might offer clues to how its modern-day life cycle works, how it evolved, and what might make possible targets to interrupt its transmission through its most common vector - the Anopheles mosquito.
 
Understanding the evolution of malaria also takes one on a worldwide journey, according to evidence found in insects preserved in amber.
 
Poinar was the first to discover a type of malaria in a 15-20 million-year-old fossil from the New World, in what is now the Dominican Republic.
 
It was the first fossil record of Plasmodium malaria, one type of which is now the strain that infects and kills humans.
 
The team argues that insects carried diseases that contributed to the widespread extinction of the dinosaurs around the “K-T boundary” about 65 million years ago.
 
There were catastrophic events known to have happened around that time, such as asteroid impacts and lava flows.
 
“But it's still clear that dinosaurs declined and slowly became extinct over thousands of years, which suggests other issues must also have been at work. Insects, microbial pathogens and vertebrate diseases were just emerging around that same time, including malaria.,” the authors noted.
 
Avian malaria has been implicated in the extinction of many bird species in Hawaii just in recent decades, especially in species with no natural resistance to the disease.
 
“Different forms of malaria, which is now known to be an ancient disease, may have been at work many millions of years ago and probably had other implications affecting the outcome of vertebrate survival,” Poinar noted.
 
The first human recording of malaria was in China in 2,700 B.C., and some researchers say it may have helped lead to the fall of the Roman Empire.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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