Speculation has emerged in recent years that young blood can reverse the ageing process, raising the prospect of an exciting new rejuvenation technique. A new study contradicts this claim, pointing to other factors that may be responsible for the perceived anti-ageing effects of youthful blood.
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It's seven in the morning on the beach in Santa Monica, California. The low sun glints off the waves and the clouds are still golden from the dawn. The view stretches out over thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean. In the distance, white villas of wealthy Los Angeles residents dot the Hollywood hills. Here by the shore, curlews and sandpipers cluster on the damp sand. A few metres back from the water's edge, a handful of people sit cross-legged: members of a local Buddhist centre about to begin an hour-long silent meditation.
A handful of girls seem to defy one of the biggest certainties in life: ageing. Virginia Hughes reports. Richard Walker has been trying to conquer ageing since he was a 26-year-old free-loving hippie. It was the 1960s, an era marked by youth: Vietnam War protests, psychedelic drugs, sexual revolutions. The young Walker relished the culture of exultation, of joie de vivre, and yet was also acutely aware of its passing.
Health kicks might help you feel better about yourself, but new research suggests that they could actually be reversing ageing at the cellular level too. A team of researchers from the University of California found that a strict regime of exercise, diet and meditation provides a genetic effect which equates to reversal of cell ageing.
Eternal or even elongated life is an idiotic thing to wish for. You don't want to get old, and then tack on 50 more years of wrinkles and Metamucil. But prolonged youth? Full body youth? More time being young and nubile and beautiful? Absolutely. And the key to that could lie right inside your brain.
People sometimes quip that children who have a tough time growing up are old beyond their years. New research, however, suggests that could be literally true: children who have suffered violence at a young age, it appears, actually suffer from premature ageing of their DNA.