Aging is the number one cause of suffering and death globally, as noted by Dr. Andrew Steele, who authored a book on longevity. Steele, who’s majored in physics, argues that people could live to 200 if we came up with pharmacological solutions to eliminate the cells that degrade tissue function.
One study carried out by scientists at Harvard Medical School found that epigenetics could drive aging in an organism. The research, which used mice models, demonstrated that a breakdown in epigenetic data caused the animals to age. The researchers also observed that reinstating the integrity of the epigenome reversed these signs of aging.
Professor David Sinclair of the Blavatnik Institute at the Harvard School of Medicine stated that this finding supported the theory that cells in mammals possessed a copy of epigenetic data that could be used to reboot aged cells into healthy, youthful states when accessed. Sinclair is also the codirector of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research. His company, Life Biosciences, is focused on the development of therapies to treat, prevent or reverse various aging-related illnesses, with the objective being to extend a human’s lifespan.
The company plans to include psychedelics in its studies, as the applications for these drugs in mental health treatments continue to grow. The company recently secured $158 million in funding for its research.
Last year, the Longevity Science Foundation committed $1 billion to institutions, research and projects to advance healthy human longevity. The nonprofit organization is focused on funding psychedelics companies that will look into the use of new or existing psychedelics in delaying, managing or reversing age-associated brain and mental illnesses.
Thus far, studies have proven that psilocybin and ketamine can regrow neural connections, which will be useful in the development of therapies for aging-related neurodegenerative illnesses in the future. It is common knowledge that aging is linked to reductions in neuroplasticity, with researchers noting that age-related decline in neuroplasticity may significantly contribute to neuronal and synaptic loss in Alzheimer’s.
Researchers have already identified drugs that can extend lifespans in animals. One of these medications, rapamycin, has demonstrated characteristics to prevent aging in animal models. This is in addition to showing that the drug can delay Alzheimer’s onset and reduce cognitive decline. Metformin, a diabetes treatment, has also shown promise in this field of research. Sinclair expects that reversing aging in an individual could become a reality in the next two or three years.
Given that significant research resources are being devoted to psychedelic studies by the likes of companies such as Seelos Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SEEL), more information is likely to be revealed about other benefits and possible risks of different psychedelic compounds.
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