The largest study to date of sustained calorie reduction in adults shows that it does not produce all of the metabolic effects associated with longevity that have been found in animal studies. Severely cutting calorie intake, however, did appear to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and make people more sensitive to insulin, according to John O. Holloszy, MD, principal investigator at the study’s Washington University clinical site.
An enzyme secreted by the body’s fat tissue controls energy levels in the brain, according to new research led by Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, of the School of Medicine. The findings, in mice, underscore a role for the body’s fat tissue in controlling the brain’s response to food scarcity, and suggest there is an optimal amount of body fat for maximizing health and longevity.
More efforts should be directed at promoting interventions that have the potential to prevent multiple chronic diseases and extend healthy lifespans. School of Medicine and other researchers write in Nature that economic incentives in biomedical research and health care reward treating disease more than promoting good health.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are studying whether fasting from food a few days a week provides some of the same health benefits as severely limiting calories every day of the week.
People who restrict their caloric intake in an effort to live longer have hearts that function more like those in people who are 20 years younger. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a key measure of the heart’s ability to adapt to physical activity, stress and other factors, doesn’t decline nearly as rapidly in people who have significantly restricted their caloric intake.
The Longer Life Foundation is seeking applications for research funding in 2012. The group plans to fund four or five grants in 2012. Letters of Intent are due by Feb. 20.
Nutrition and longevity researchers, including Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, have found more evidence that eating less may help people live longer. They report that individuals who significantly reduce their calorie intake have lower core body temperatures. Mice and rats consuming fewer calories also have lower core body temperatures, and they live significantly longer than littermates eating a standard diet.
Organisms from yeast to rodents to humans all benefit from cutting calories. In less complex organisms, restricting calories can double or even triple lifespan. But researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and two other centers report in the journal Science that they are less interested in calorie restriction for longer life than for its ability to promote good health throughout life.
The Longer Life Foundation has awarded grants to six research projects on issues related to aging at Washington University School of Medicine. Over the last 10 years, the foundation has awarded more than $2 million to the university to fund independent research into improving methods for predicting long-term mortality.