DNA damage is common to our cells, but when we’re young our bodies can fix it pretty easily. Unfortunately we lose that ability over time, leading to many of the symptoms of aging that we know all too well. A new study from MIT has found that reactivating a certain enzyme improves repair of DNA damage in neurons, which helps Alzheimer’s patients and others with cognitive decline.__ NA
The Key is Maintaining Normal DNA Repair Mechanisms
Scientists at MIT and Harvard have discovered a drug that reinstates normal DNA repair mechanisms that had been lost in aging mice. The principle should be the same for humans — in fact the same drug was once used in Europe for age-related dementia.
Here is the logic trail, starting in 2013:
In 2013, Tsai’s lab published two papers that linked HDAC1 to DNA repair in neurons. In the current paper, the researchers explored what happens when HDAC1-mediated repair fails to occur. To do that, they engineered mice in which they could knock out HDAC1 specifically in neurons and another type of brain cells called astrocytes.
For the first several months of the mice’s lives, there were no discernable differences in their DNA damage levels or behavior, compared to normal mice. However, as the mice aged, differences became more apparent. DNA damage began to accumulate in the HDAC1-deficient mice, and they also lost some of their ability to modulate synaptic plasticity — changes in the strength of the connections between neurons. The older mice lacking HCAC1 also showed impairments in tests of memory and spatial navigation.
The researchers found that HDAC1 loss led to a specific type of DNA damage called 8-oxo-guanine lesions, which are a signature of oxidative DNA damage. Studies of Alzheimer’s patients have also shown high levels of this type of DNA damage, which is often caused by accumulation of harmful metabolic byproducts. The brain’s ability to clear these byproducts often diminishes with age.
An enzyme called OGG1 is responsible for repairing this type of oxidative DNA damage, and the researchers found that HDAC1 is needed to activate OGG1. When HDAC1 is missing, OGG1 fails to turn on and DNA damage goes unrepaired. Many of the genes that the researchers found to be most susceptible to this type of damage encode ion channels, which are critical for the function of synapses. __ MIT
The researchers tested a drug (Exifone) which reactivated HDAC1 causing stimulation of OGG1 — leading to the renewed repair of DNA damage, just as in the younger mice.
Although use of Exifone for dementia was discontinued due to signs of liver damage, other drugs capable of reactivating this type of DNA repair are certain to be discovered, which do not have that problem with the liver.
Loss of DNA repair mechanisms with aging is a central factor in degenerative diseases and the increased vulnerability to injury and disease that comes along with aging. The anti-aging programs being pursued by the SENS Foundation and other modern anti-aging research groups attempt to deal with the widespread fallout that results from loss of DNA repair integrity. But the process can be a lot like reversing the course of the Amazon River.
Healing DNA is one thing, but healing the normal pain and upset of daily living is something else again. Beyond the staple advice of “eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink sufficient fluids, etc. yada yada yada” I would like to suggest treating that tender spot at the center of your chest with the greatest care.
Many of us wrap our hearts up in steel plate so that they cannot be hurt — or so we think. But there are better ways to protect and heal our torn and broken hearts than to lock them up with chains. Have you ever heard of a “heart orgasm?”
My body was completely filled with bliss to the point that I literally could not move a muscle. It felt like my heart expanded 3 feet larger, extended outside of my body, and the entire room seemed to be filled with tremendous light. I felt more healed, whole and at peace on every subtle level of my existence! __ How To Have a Heart Orgasm in 3 Easy Steps
I first experienced this curious state just before falling asleep while in graduate school. I had been working through some relaxation exercises from Dr. Herbert Benson’s book “The Relaxation Response” while lying flat on my back in bed. Suddenly my chest was filled with a warm golden feeling, and a feeling of physical pleasure spread to fill my head and my torso. It lasted for about five minutes, and before the afterglow had completely faded, I was asleep. I hadn’t been trying to reach any type of state, it just happened.
After reading about mystical training in eastern religious disciplines, I connected this phenomenon with the chakra concept, and the mystical energy concepts of kundalini yoga and tantra. I did not pursue the religious aspects much further, but I have learned more — in fits and starts — about the heart-centered approach to emotional well-being that has been passed down from those traditions. My favorite author connected to this practice is the late Steven Levine. I particularly recommend his book, Healing into Life and Death.
I consider the lessons that can be learned in the process of taking care of one’s heart to be every bit as important as whatever can be done to take care of one’s DNA repair mechanisms. Pristine DNA repair promotes longer and clearer life. Pristine “heart care” promotes the will to live and expands the meaning of one’s life.
Meanwhile, Remember that SARS CoV-2 is Among the Least of Problems
We never used to be such pathetic sissies:
Do you remember the 1957-58 Asian flu? Or the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu? I do. I was a teenager during the former, an adult finishing law school during the latter. And I followed the news much more than the average person my age, yet I cannot dredge up more than the dimmest memory of either of those epidemics.
I don’t have any memory of schools closing, though apparently a few did here and there. I have no memories of city or state lockdowns, of closed offices and factories and department stores, of people banned from parks and beaches.
Yet these two influenza epidemics had death tolls roughly comparable to COVID-19. Between 70,000 and 116,000 people in the United States are estimated to have died from Asian flu. That’s between .04% and .07% of the nation’s population, somewhat more than the .03% COVID-19 death rate so far.
The Asian flu, such as COVID-19, was rarely fatal for children and more deadly for the elderly — but it was also a special risk to pregnant women.
The Hong Kong flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, had a more precisely estimated U.S. death toll of 100,000 from 1968-70 (years that included the Woodstock festival), or .05% of the total population. Both flus had high death rates among the elderly, but apparently not as high in proportion as COVID-19 has had now.
Once again, there were no nationwide school closings, no multi-month lockdowns, no daily presidential news conferences. Apparently, neither the nation’s leaders nor the vast bulk of its people felt that such drastic measures were called for.
Perhaps some of this calm reaction can be ascribed to confidence that a vaccine would be developed, as other flu vaccines had been developed after the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic. But flu vaccines are never entirely effective, and none was widely available until after the Asian and Hong Kong flus had swept over the nation.
Fundamental attitudes can change in a nation over half a century, and the very different responses to this year’s coronavirus epidemic and the influenzas of 50 and 60 years ago suggests that people today are much more risk averse, much more willing to undergo massive inconvenience and disruption to avoid marginal increases in fatal risk… __ Source
Read the whole, thought-provoking thing.
We seem to have been trained by our media, government schools, and a dumbed down intellectual class, to live in fear and outrage. A society drowning in fear and anxiety, in grievance and outrage, is a society ripe for decay and conquest.
Obsessively focusing on a China-derived coronavirus as if it were the only thing in the world we needed to concern ourselves with, is a clear sign of deprived education and upbringing.
Remember, it is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. But you really have to want it.