Longevity: Cold Plays a Role in the Genes

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If you’ve had to scrape ice off your windshield morning after morning, and are looking for a reason to appreciate winter, you may want to consider the research of University of Michigan scientists, which explains a link between cold environments and longer lifespans (published here in the journal Cell).

While it’s no secret to scientists that cold-blooded creatures (including worms and fish) experience greater longevity in cold places, U-M scientists have just discovered through a study of roundworms the genetic program that makes this possible. The same program is found in humans and other warm-blooded animals.

“This raises the intriguing possibility that exposure to cold air—or pharmacological stimulation of the cold-sensitive genetic program—may promote longevity in mammals,” said Shawn Xu, LSI faculty member and the Bernard W. Agranoff Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences at the U-M Medical School.

via University of Michigan News Service | Stay cool and live longer?.

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