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The same four molecules that revolutionized research on stem cells can also reverse aging in mice, scientists reported Thursday, a finding that could herald new approaches to trying to extend human life.

Mice genetically modified to have a devastating human disease of premature aging lived longer after getting the molecular mixture, and mice that grew old normally became more youthful.


Although the discovery is unlikely to find its way into medical practice for years, if ever, it is a significant advance in understanding the basic biology of aging at the molecular and cellular level, experts said, and might eventually lead to ways to slow that process in a way that not only extends lifespan but also “healthspan,” the number of years someone can live without the usual diseases that accompany multiplying birthday candles.

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