As we age, there is an increase in cells that are less effective at performing their functions. These cells are known as Senescent.
There are proteins inside these cells which are responsible for making decisions about the development of cells and tissues. The older we get the more of these decision-making proteins are turned off and so the cells become redundant.
It makes the body more susceptible to disease as it cannot respond as well to environmental stressors.
A team of scientists from Brighton, Exeter and Oxford Universities have been researching the possibility of reducing the aging process by turning the proteins back on.
They have taken a chemical commonly found in some worldwide favourites, red wine and dark chocolate and, applied it to the senescent cells. Soon after applying the treatment the senescent cells began to divide normally and the proteins were turned back on.
This new research could be the first step in enabling people to live to a normal age but with full health for the duration of their life. It would take the pressure off health care systems for the elderly and reduce the effects of age related disease