How Can We Boost Lifespan & Healthspan?:
So for a long time now, people have been searching for every way you can think to escape the ravages of aging.
Whether it’s the mystical regimen of Yazemeenah Rossi, Queen of the Silver Foxes,
The Mediterranean Diet, Centenarian-habits, or something as out-there as a “Superfood”, like the Açaí craze a few years back.
Well believe it or not, !SCIENCE! has found one more non-calorie-restriction source for youth-magic.
And it’s probably been sitting in a mug on your desk, saving your life one day at a time…
(no, it’s not tea; sorry British people. You should have learned something from that little freedom party we threw back in
Finding Out What The Winners Do To Win:
For the past few years, science has been moving past a drugs-first approach and instead following the spirit of the centenarian-study.
Ie: Testing the people who actually have the results to find out what their common-patterns and habits are.
Then tease out some fixes to apply to regular folks like you and me for hopefully the same benefit.
-Which of-course will absolutely explode when machine-learning and big-data become more-prevalent and smarter.
Machines like Watson will find things that no researcher ever dreamed of.
Early Non-Machine Big Data Pattern? Coffee Drinkers Live Longer:
And one of these common-patterns research-docs have observed for at least a little while?
Coffee drinkers tend to live longer.
And if Stanford docs are going to have any say about it, they also just figured out why.
So the second part of the coming big-data testing wave is not to just test people who have the Results people want, but also the Problems they don’t.
And the one that keeps cropping-up in study after study, especially with aging populations?
The Biggest Future Health-Risk To Solve? Inflammation:
Inflammation of all kinds. Generally bad unless your body has something very specific to do with it, like heal a sprain or a cut.
So much so that lead-author David Furman says that “More than 90 percent of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation.”
And that’s where curious geeks, scientific health studies, and coffee all intersected.
In a completely-different study on aging which looks at how the whole system changes with time, called the Stanford-Ellison cohort, the doctors went over blood samples, personal health surveys, and medical histories.
The 4 Accidental Discoveries That Show Coffee Is King:
And they discovered 4 things:
1) The older a participant was, the higher the level of a protein in their blood called IL-1B.
2) The people with the elevated levels of IL-1B had stiffer arteries, higher blood-pressure, a higher level of inflammation, and higher mortality.
3) People who were routine coffee-drinkers had a significantly-lower level of this protein and inflammation.
4) They had higher levels of caffeine and its breakdown products in their blood.
4a) One of the protective breakdown products is also one of the most famous compounds found in Chocolate! (theobromine)
The 2 Tests That Prove The Stanford Team Right:
Now to confirm their findings & test the causality, the docs came up with a few tests.
1) They injected mice with substances that greatly increase the body’s production of IL-1B proteins, and sure-enough their inflammation and hypertension skyrocketed.
2) They tried a real acid test. They took human immune cells in a test medium and surrounded them with stuff that causes inflammation.
But then they also added caffeine into the test-dishes, too.
And the results showed that the caffeine stopped the compounds from causing inflammation in the cells! –BOOM!
Caffeine Lowers Both Inflammation & Blood-Pressure:
Among all the other positive-effects, this is also the likely reason that caffeine-intake is associated with lower blood-pressure, too.
Note also, that there are several parties out there that say there is no supplement you can take that will improve your health or work as an effective anti-oxidant as well as a drug.
-I guess that just depends on how much you take-in and how much the effects are actually studied by scientists. Because it’s looking like coffee and chocolate both violate that “rule”.
A “Superfood” That Surprised Even University Researchers:
Even Mark Davis was shocked. “That something many people drink — and actually like to drink — might have a direct benefit came as a surprise to us.”
Now all we need is a combination-pill that people can take at different-doses that lowers exactly the types of inflammation that gets out of hand at each stage of life,
Kind of like Aspirin 2.0.
Interesting Note On The Inflammatory Compounds:
The substances in-question that caused inflammation in these experiments come from DNA proteins that break-down over time.
Sounds a lot like those pesky senescent-cells, right?
I guess those crazy blood-transfusion people were on to something after-all…
Check out the invigorating details in the Links:
Photo Credits: “I heart coffee”, by Jojo77
• Source: Stanford
• Hat-Tip: TheVerge
• Source Study: Nature Medicine-Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states