How simple painkillers may make one forever young

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Researchers at Newcastle University say that chronic inflammation may accelerate ageing and trigger diseases by preventing the body’s cells from regenerating. Scientists believe that cheap anti-inflammatory drugs, namely ibuprofen, can boost the chances of older people staying fit and healthy, as they cure age-related type two diabetes, arthritis and dementia. The drug, taken by millions of people every day to treat headaches, muscle pains and flu, ‘rescued’ inflammation-prone mice and stopped their ageing process. Radio VR discusses the medical issue with experts in the field from Newcastle University: Dr. Diana Jurk, Research Associate at the Institute for Ageing and Health and Professor Derek Mann, Head of the fibrosis laboratories
Whatever positive prospects the finding may open up for the mankind, it's unlikely that ageing is impacted by one factor only, argue both experts in an interview to radio VR. "The length to which we live is different between different people and that is likely to be multifactoral, including differences in the types of genes that we have, the way in which those genes are expressed, how we react to our environment". We all indeed grow up in a variety environments and surroundings that differ significantly from one another, the Mr. Mann says. There are some regularities in the ageing process, though, notably those suffering from some chronic diseases that typically have to do with inflammation seem on the whole top age faster than all the rest. "And so, this has led to the idea that the ageing process may be accelerated if there is also an inflammatory process going on in the background." With the study enjoying much scientific attention, there's recently been many interuniversity tests focusing among others on "the role of inflammation in cancer". Research is all-embracing in the area, said Mr. Mann, specially singling out Pr. Zglinicki’s laboratory that currently works on ageing issues. Early results are rather far-fetched and do not really prove that a simple drug of ibuprofen taken in alone could make wonders and make one younger. Take note: Ibuprofen serves as a simple painkiller by affecting body chemicals called prostaglandins, released in the body in response to an illness or injury. The chemicals may cause pain and swelling, or even a high temperature, if released in the brain. A dose intake guarantees a relief from pain, but the anti-inflammatory effect will take longer – up to three weeks- to arrive. "It is too early to say that if one was to take ibuprofen, say on a daily basis, that it would extend your life or prevent you from having age-related diseases." Still, Ms. Jurk states anti-inflammation treatment does not just cure the illness, but has an overall favorable impact as it adds to regenerating such organs as liver or small intestine. Healthy ageing is another issue to consider. As Prof. Mann notes, what needs more thorough studying is how inflammation relates to ageing, so as to find the way a person can get older feeling no burden of typical age-related health conditions. "If we can understand better how inflammation interacts with the ageing process, we may be able to find ways of improving healthy ageing. That is – people will still get old, but maybe they would get old without having a lot of the debilities that are associated with aging and that have an inflammatory basis." The expert continues by adducing an example from real medical practice of curing arthritis. As far as arthritis goes, there are drugs that target specific components of the inflammatory response, like TNF╬▒ (tumor necrosis factor alpha), and IL-6 (Interleukin 6) now widely used for therapy. "Now, this same sort of drugs, which will be a lot more specific than ibuprofen, with less side-effects might be able to be used to ease the ageing process. And these drugs are already available clinically," comments Mr. Mann. The drugs that the scientific community has lately been working on still have a number of side-effects that may rightly discourage medical workers from widely prescribing them: "I would hope that would not be the case and I think that the majority of general practitioners are aware of the side-effects of being on this class of drugs long term, in particular in the gastrointestinal system in which they can have quite severe effects causing bleeding, for example," sums up Prof. Mann. Besides, the so positive sounding results of the survey apply basically to those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, points out Ms. Jurk. So, the findings do not embrace a whole wealth of possible medical cases related to inflammation. The proven idea behind the study is, however, priceless, as it may give impetus to new approaches in dealing with age-related problems and boosting a nation's health at large, namely by drawing everybody's attention to natural anti-inflammation treatments. Beetroots, berries and carrots are well-known for their healthy properties and it's not for nothing that these enjoy wide use in the pharmaceutical industry. 
Top inflammation-fighting foods:
  • -fatty fish 
  • -whole grains 
  • -dark leafy greens
  • -soy
  • -beets
  • -tomatoes
  • -nuts
  • -low-fat dairy
  • -peppers, onion and garlic 
  • -olive oil
"I think what doctors would be better to do, would be using this information to advise patients, who are getting a bit older, to improve their lifestyle and to look for natural way of combating inflammation. We know that there are a lot of fruits and vegetables – beetroots, cranberries, other types of berries, carrots etc. – that have natural anti-inflammatory properties. And furthermore, exercise as well has anti-inflammatory property." Take note of a wealth of recipes available online to succesfully battle inflammations and swellings, and,as it follows from the above-described research, add considerably to your fitness, general well-being..and good looks. Source: Voice Of Russia, Image: flickr.com

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