Researchers say that in a scientific first they have been able to correct age-related damage in an animal's organ, which could offer hope for further research into human age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
They were able to prevent age-related build-up of damaged protein in the liver of mice, which meant that the organ in older animals could function just as effectively as when the animals were much younger, according to the study published in the online edition of Nature Medicine.
Now, the researchers intend to investigate Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other nerological diseases in animals to find out whether a similar clearance of protein build-up in the brain may help with treating the conditions.
Senior study author Dr Ana Maria Cuervo said: "Our study showed that functions can be maintained in older animals so long as damaged proteins continue to be efficiently removed - strongly supporting the idea that protein build-up in cells plays an important role in ageing itself."
A separate study recently published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggested that statins, which are used to lower cholesterol, may offer protection against dementia.
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