04 December 2015

Depression Is A Huge Problem For Roundworms. Who Knew?

In a new study, researchers administered an antidepressant called mianserin to Caenorhabditis elegans, a type of roundworm used frequently in research. In 2007, they discovered that the drug increases the lifespan of roundworms by 30-40 per cent.
From here.

The study also notes that most of the lifespan extension occurs during the prime of roundworm life, during their years of peak fertility.

Obviously, this drug probably isn't really treating depression in roundworms, but scientists aren't really certain why it does work either, although they'd love to know. The results sound somewhat less miraculous when you learn that roundworms reach adult level fertility at an age of about one day old and typically live in all until they are fourteen to twenty-one days old.

The title of the journal article in which this result is reported also deserves special credit for being utterly vacuous:
Rangaraju, et al., "Suppression of transcriptional drift extends C. elegans lifespan by postponing the onset of mortality." eLife, 2015; 4.
I ask you, is there a means of extending lifespan that does not involve the postponing the onset of mortality?

No comments: