first_img“Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging. Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically,” said Heather Weir, lead author of the study, who conducted the research while at Harvard Chan School and is now a research associate at Astex Pharmaceuticals. “Our findings open up new avenues in the search for therapeutic strategies that will reduce our likelihood of developing age-related diseases as we get older.”“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” said William Mair, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”Next steps for the researchers including testing the role mitochondrial networks have in the effect of fasting in mammals, and whether defects in mitochondrial flexibility might explain the association between obesity and increased risk for age-related diseases.Other Harvard Chan authors included Pallas Yao, Caroline Escoubas, Renata Goncalves, Kristopher Burkewitz, and Raymond Laboy.Funding for the study came from the Lawrence Ellison Foundation, the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Diabetes Association/Canadian Diabetes Association. The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Manipulating mitochondrial networks inside cells — either by dietary restriction or by genetic manipulation that mimics it — may increase lifespan and promote health, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.The study, published Oct. 26 online in Cell Metabolism, sheds light on the basic biology involved in cells’ declining ability to process energy over time, which leads to aging and age-related disease, and how interventions such as periods of fasting might promote healthy aging.Mitochondria — the energy-producing structures in cells — exist in networks that dynamically change shape according to energy demand. Their capacity to do so declines with age, but the impact this has on metabolism and cellular function was previously unclear. In this study, the researchers showed a causal link between dynamic changes in the shapes of mitochondrial networks and longevity.The scientists used C. elegans (nematode worms), which live just two weeks and thus enable the study of aging in real time in the lab. Mitochondrial networks inside cells typically toggle between fused and fragmented states. The researchers found that restricting the worms’ diet, or mimicking dietary restriction through genetic manipulation of an energy-sensing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), maintained the mitochondrial networks in a fused or “youthful” state. In addition, they found that these youthful networks increased lifespan by communicating with organelles called peroxisomes to modulate fat metabolism.last_img read more


first_imgTeam USA’s 2016 Olympics marathon times trials took place in Los Angeles on Saturday, with part of the course running through the USC campus.The course began on the south side of downtown L.A., close to the Staples Center and L.A. Live. Competitors ran down Figueroa Street and onto campus, traveling down 34th Street and up Child’s Way by Tommy Trojan. Participants continued to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Exposition Park before returning Downtown.Runners had to complete the six-mile Downtown to USC route four times, as well as doing a loop Downtown, totaling 26.2 miles.There were barricades at the intersection of 34th and Trousdale and Childs Way and Trousdale in addition to part of Figueroa being blocked off, with CSC workers and DPS manning the course to ensure no one crossed while runners were passing.“When people are on the track, they can’t come through – it’s a safety issue,” said a CSC worker.Despite the Department of Transportation sending out emails on Jan. 27 and Feb. 12 informing students of the closures. Many students felt this was not ample notification.Freshman Amy MacRae parked her car in PSX but was unaware that she would not be able to leave the parking structure between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.“We were supposed to be going to the USC Rugby game, and then because of my car lockdown, we couldn’t,” MacRae said. “So we thought we might as well just come over and watch, because this is a cool event to have on campus anyway.”Despite being happy to watch the event, MacRae expressed frustration about the closures of the parking structures.“I feel like they should have just had an exit route for people,” MacRae said. “They should have planned it better.”Macrae also felt that email was not the optimal way for the University to communicate the street closures to students.“I know there have been some emails and stuff, but do people really read them?” MacRae said. “I had no idea this was happening here — zero.”Despite the importance of the event — the first three runners from the men and women’s races will compete in Rio this summer — there were not many USC students among the spectators.“I expected a lot more people here, because this is the time trials for the Olympics, but it doesn’t seem too crowded,” said Tyler Matthews, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, who was watching the races.Some students did not even realize the event was on at all. Marissa Di, a junior majoring in biochemistry, was planning to meet a friend when she was forced to wait for the runners to pass.“I was just passing through, and they were like, ‘You can’t go through here,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s happening!’” Di said. “It would have been nice if I knew about it.”Though there was limited student turnout, the Spirit of Troy, the Song Girls and members of the Spirit of Troy were present to cheer on the runners.“It’s definitely exciting,” Matthews said. “I love hearing the band play too.”Supporters of the time trials were aware of the significance of the event because of the amount of talented marathoners competing for three spots.“It’s incredibly important; there are only three spots, and there’s a lot of talent out there,” said Eliza Peterson, who was on the USC marathon team for two years.It was the hottest Olympic marathon time trials in history, with temperatures reaching 73 degrees during the race.“It’s really hot today, and it’s not an easy run, but it looks like they’re going to try their best under the heat,” volunteer Sunny Pearson said.Galen Rupp won the men’s race with a time of two hours, eleven minutes and eleven seconds, with Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward also qualifying for Rio this summer.Amy Cragg took the women’s title with a time of two hours, 28 minutes and 20 seconds, and Desiree Linden and Shalane Flanagan came in second and third, respectively.last_img read more