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Watch out for "gerontogens".

A review published online in Trends in Molecular Medicine discusses the dangers associated with gerontogens: environmental factors that promote physiologic (as opposed to chronologic) aging. *

Potential gerontogens include benzene, arsenic, ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, chemotherapy, psychological stress, and cigarette smoke. Although exposure to some of these factors may be unavoidable, the concept of gerontogen-generated aging leaves room for optimism because it views physiologic aging as predominantly preventable. (Gerontologist Tom Perls has estimated that the rate of aging is 50 to 75% determined by nongenetic factors.) The research team from the University of North Carolina plans to further study the effects of gerontogens via a novel mouse model.

Author Norman E. Sharpless and colleagues predict the development of blood tests to evaluate a number of molecular age biomarkers in order to understand individual differences in the rate of aging and to assess the age-promoting effect of gerontogens.

Editor's Note: "We believe just as an understanding of carcinogens has informed cancer biology, so will an understanding of gerontogens benefit the study of aging," Dr. Sharpless stated. "By identifying and avoiding gerontogens, we will be able to influence aging and life expectancy at a public health level."


* Trends Mol Med. 2014 May 28.

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Title Annotation:In The News
Author:Dye, D.
Publication:Life Extension
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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