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Altering genes through calories

It's never too late to diet. Cutting calories for only a few weeks late in life causes anti-aging changes in mouse genes.Even those averse to weight watching might have their cake and eat it if researchers can find drugs that mimic dieting’s effects. Cutting calories is known to increase lifespan and reduce age-related disease in experimental mammals.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside probed how gene activity changes when an elderly mouse diets.Over half the changes that usually occur with aging were absent from mice that were given 44 per cent fewer calories, the team found.//

To their surprise, cutting calories for only four weeks in old mice mimicked most of the genetic effects of a lifetime of calorific abstinence.Even old people may be able to benefit rapidly from switching to a calorie-restricted diet they speculate.Drugs could be rapidly screened for those that reproduce the gene-expression profile of calorie restriction, the team hopes.


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