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September 27, 2014

Coffee boost could help aging muscles, study finds

Coffee boost could help aging muscles
By zirconicusso on

Score another point for coffee in the debate over its health effects.
A study  released at the Society of Experimental Biology, argues that caffeine can help boost older muscles and could thereby help prevent falls and injuries among the elderly. The aim of the study was to determine whether the age of a muscle was a factor in how it reacted to caffeine.
Using two different types of muscles from mice – the diaphragm and a leg muscle – sports-medicine researchers from Coventry University in Britain observed that elderly muscles were still stimulated by caffeine, though less so than younger adult muscles. The study’s main author Jason Tallis said that “despite a reduced effect in the elderly, caffeine may still provide performance-enhancing benefits.”
This comes after a U.S. study published in The New England Journal of Medicine indicated that coffee drinkers were less likely to die from various diseases such as stroke or respiratory illness. As The New York Times reported in 2012, this could be because of various antioxidants found in coffee (although some coffee drinkers often have other habits which aren’t so good, such as smoking).
Researchers urge caution in drawing major correlations in these studies between coffee and health. The point of the Coventry University study’s results is the boost, though diminished, caffeine provides to elderly muscles. But as a stimulant, it still carries the risk of higher blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
The debate is likely far from over.

September 18, 2014

$1 Million Prize for Engineering a Fountain of Youth

Joon Yun, benefactor of the prize. Screenshot: YouTube/Palo Alto Prize
Joon Yun, benefactor of the prize. Screenshot: YouTube/Palo Alto Prize
The Palo Alto Longevity Prize was launched on  September 9th 2014  by physician, life-enhancing advocate, and hedge fund manager Joon Yun.  11 teams have taken up the gauntlet (the deadline for team registration is in January 2015).
The rules of the challenge are pretty simple: Every team has to pursue two longevity-increasing objectives, each of which is worth $500,000. The deadline to present their results is set at September 2018. 
"Cracking the code on the fundamental aging process may allow us to influence the actual biology of aging, thereby slowing or resolving the process of aging and many diseases and issues related to aging. If we solve this, we all win," competition organizers said in the announcement. The prize will be divided into two $500,000 awards, given to the first teams to unlock the secrets of a foundational trait known as "homeostatic capacity." Homeostatic capacity is the ability of the body's systems to stabilize in response to stressors.
As the body ages, its ability to recover from diseases, injuries and lifestyle stresses such as a late night or loss of sleep becomes more difficult. In youth, blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels can return easily to normal levels. But as homeostatic capacity erodes with age, the body no longer is able to regulate these changes as effectively, resulting in diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.Increased homeostatic capacity could in theory allow people to live perhaps 120 years, organizers said.

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