Researchers claim that they have successfully reversed the biological aging process in a group of older adults.
In a first study, researchers from Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center used a form of oxygen therapy to reverse two key indicators of biological aging: telomere length and accumulation of senescent cells.
As the human body ages, it experiences the shortening of telomeres – the protective caps found at the end of chromosomes – and an increase in old, functioning aging cells.
A clinical trial of 35 adults over the age of 64 sought to understand whether a method called hyperbaric oxygen therapy could prevent the deterioration of these two characteristics of the aging process.
The subjects were placed in a pressurized chamber and given clean oxygen for 90 minutes a day, five days a week for three months.
At the end of the experiment, the researchers reported that participants’ telomeres had increased in length by an average of 20 percent, while their aging cells had been reduced by up to 37 percent.
This is similar to how their bodies were at the mobile level 25 years earlier, the researchers reported.
“As telomere shortening is considered the ‘holy grail’ of the biology of aging, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are widely studied in hopes of enabling telomere elongation,” said Shai Efrati, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University and co-author of the investigation.
“The marked improvement in telomere length shown during and after these unique HBOT protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation for understanding that aging can actually be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level.”
It is the latest in a series of radical anti-aging treatments that seek to increase life expectancy and even make people look and feel younger.
The idea is that aging is a disease that can be cured just like any other.
In 2015, the head of a biotech company made headlines after becoming patient zero in a new gene therapy that she claimed could make permanent changes to her DNA to combat muscle loss and other age-related conditions.
BioViva CEO Liz Parrish received criticism from researchers for her experimental drug trials, but claims to have increased the length of her telomeres in the five years ago and recently claimed that death is optional.
During the most recent trial in Israel, participants did not undergo any lifestyle, dietary, or medication adjustments that have previously been shown to have moderate effects on a person’s biological age.
It is understood that the effects were instead the result of the pressurized chamber inducing a state of hypoxia or hypoxia, causing cell regeneration.
“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle changes and intense exercise have been shown to have some inhibitory effect on the expected shortening of telomere length,” said Dr. Amir Hadanny, co-author of the study.
“What is remarkable about our study, however, is that in just three months of therapy, we were able to achieve such significant telomere elongation – at rates far beyond the currently available interventions or lifestyle changes.”