Elevated levels of a newly discovered molecule responsible for aging bones

As we age, our bodies increasingly produce a molecule that suppresses certain functions. As levels of this regulatory molecule rise, key signalling molecules that mediate bone growth decline. Older bodies suppress stem cell production on a molecular level, scientists report.

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have uncovered exciting evidence of systemic alterations that occur with age. Their work has revealed how bones weaken and deteriorate in the aging body. One molecule in particular – microRNA-141-3P – appears to accumulate in bone tissue over time. Scientists have found that elevated levels of microRNA-141-3P are associated with osteoporosis and assorted bone pathology. The problematic molecule inhibits the absorption of vitamin C by various bone cells. It prevents the skeleton from effectively utilizing vitamin C – slowly starving bones of a much needed nutrient. This systemic shift in nutrition limits the resources available for normal bone growth. Over time, aging bones weaken and osteoporosis can develop.

Researchers suspected that suppressing microRNA-141-3P could keep bones processing vitamin C and regenerating themselves for far longer than they would under normal aging conditions. Rodent test subjects were treated with a clinical grade inhibitor of microRNA-141-3P; the result was younger, stronger bones. Scientists theorize that a similar inhibiting medication could be used in human subjects to reverse and prevent bone deterioration. The research is compelling and paints an optimistic picture of beneficial anti-aging therapy.

Development and distribution of this drug are likely far in the future. Nevertheless, the research indicates that scientists may be able to keep bones younger, for longer. By regulating a single key component of a complex cellular network, bone aging may be prevented.

  1. Sudharsan Periyasamy-Thandavan, John Burke, Bharati Mendhe, Galina Kondrikova, Ravindra Kolhe, Monte Hunter, Carlos M Isales, Mark W Hamrick, William D Hill, Sadanand Fulzele. MicroRNA-141-3p negatively modulates SDF-1 expression in age dependent pathophysiology of human and murine bone marrow stromal cellsThe Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/gerona/gly186

Gene mutation associated with hair loss and wrinkles

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been experimenting with mouse mitochondrial DNA. When they introduce a mutation into this gene sequence, mice develop hair loss and wrinkles. When this gene mutation is reversed and turned back on to normal, the mice returned to smooth skin and normal fur again. They also noticed that the mice seemed to have less energy and move more slowly. What is interesting is that these external signs of aging were able to be reversed.

Bhupendra Singh, Trenton R. Schoeb, Prachi Bajpai, Andrzej Slominski, Keshav K. Singh. Reversing wrinkled skin and hair loss in mice by restoring mitochondrial functionCell Death & Disease, 2018; 9 (7) DOI: 10.1038/s41419-018-0765-9

Eat Raw for a Mental Boost

A healthy diet can sometimes be simple to prepare. Researchers at the University of Otago have published a paper indicating that eating raw fruits and vegetables may have a more positive effect on your mental health than cooking them first. They speculate cooking some of these foods may diminish the nutrient content making them unavailable to your body. Some of the foods they suggest are carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens such as spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit.

 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00487/full

Illinois Medical Society

For many years now Dr Cummings has been invited to attend the Illinois State Medical Society House of Delegates Meeting. Here, policy for the state society is developed and voted upon. Important issues are discussed and implemented which can have an impact on health care and access to health care in our state. This year’s convention was held this past weekend in Oak Brook.

Skin problems can affect the quality of life

In this study researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine compared two questionnaires to evaluate the impact of sun spots on a patients’ quality of life. Both tools were effective in evaluating the quality of life, which was affected by dark spots. Understanding this can help guide treatment choices.

Mayra B. C. Maymone, Hind H. Neamah, Eric A. Secemsky, Neelam A. Vashi. Correlating the Dermatology Life Quality Index and Skin Discoloration Impact Evaluation Questionnaire tools in disorders of hyperpigmentationThe Journal of Dermatology, 2018; 45 (3): 361 DOI: 10.1111/1346-8138.14172

Obesity Management

Dr Cummings recently attended an education meeting on the “Complexity of Obesity and Steps for Effective Management” Bernie Ranchero, MD from Sarah Bush Lincoln Medical Center gave a comprehensive review of the physiologic pathways responsible for obesity with an emphasis on Glucagon Like Peptide- 1 (GLP-1). This is a gut hormone that is released by the body in response to a meal. It inhibits the liver’s release of glucagon, enhances the body’s release of insulin and suppresses the appetite. GLP-1 helps stabilize sugar levels in the blood and can help with weight loss in certain patients.