Evolutionary Biology

Articles

Clearing Senescent Cells For Health and Longevity (Interview with Judith Campisi)

Why do we age? As we have discussed before, natural selection tends to favor molecular processes that enhance health and reproductive fitness in youth. However, these genetic programs can also come with unselected negative effects on physical function later in life.

A good example of this is cellular senescence. When exposed to certain forms of stress (like DNA damage), normal cells enter a senescent state, in which they no longer divide. This, generally speaking, is a good thing – cellular senescence probably evolved as a protective mechanism against cancer.

However, senescent cells tend to accumulate as people get older, and they cause all kinds of trouble. They release inflammatory molecules and other factors that speed up the aging process. Not so great.

In this episode of humanOS Radio, I interview Judith Campisi. Dr. Campisi is a professor of biogerontology at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Recently, she and a team of researchers found that selectively removing senescent cells from the joints of injured rodents enhanced cartilage repair in the damaged site and prevented the development of osteoarthritis. What other age-related conditions might be responsive to this therapeutic approach? Listen below to find out more!


Brainy Beds? Professor David Samson on Sleeping Platforms, Sleep Quality, and Thinking Speed, plus News!

Did our brains evolve as they have due to how we slept? In part, likely yes. In this episode of the humanOS Radio podcast, I speak with Professor David Samson about his research looking at primate sleeping platforms and their potential role to increase the cognitive abilities of certain great apes beyond the capacities of other primates. How does this connection work? The primates who create more comfortable beds for themselves appear to achieve substantial amounts of deep and REM sleep over the night. This is turn may have lead to the expansion of cognitive abilities over time. Can you benefit from the information shared in this discussion to improve your own sleep?


A meta-analysis of the Paleolithic nutrition pattern; an interview of authors

Just today, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – the most prestigious nutrition journal in the world – published a systematic review and meta-analysis of the paleolithic nutrition pattern (the Paleo diet).

The audio interview below is with study authors, Hanno Pijl, M.D., Ph.D., and Ester van Zuurin, M.D., both of Leiden Unversity in the Netherlands. They, along with authors Eric Manheimer and Zbys Fedorowicz, first performed a systematic review of six online publication libraries for all possible qualifying research. From there, they winnowed the list to four studies, pooling together 159 subjects for their analysis, looking for mean differences in primary endpoints related to metabolic syndrome: 1) Waist circumference, 2) Blood pressure, 3) Triglycerides, 4) HDL cholesterol, and 5) Blood sugar concentration. Secondary endpoints included change in body weight, even though some of the studies included in the analysis tried to prevent weight change so that the results would be less confounded by it. Weight loss, while healthy for someone who is overweight, can also improve these endpoints independently, making it harder to know if it is the nutritional properties of the diet or the weight loss that influenced results. We discuss this specifically in the interview, which you can listen to it here in its entirety.