Researchers in the US believe they found the part of the brain which controls the ageing process.
This could lead to age-related diseases being better understood and new strategies for combating against such conditions created.
Professor Dongsheng Cai from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York believes that the hypothalamus regulates ageing in the body after studies were conducted on mice.
"What's exciting is that it's possible - at least in mice - to alter signalling within the hypothalamus to slow down the ageing process and increase longevity," he stated.
It was already known that the hypothalamus plays a key role in people's development and metabolism, but this is the first study to link it with ageing.
Researchers found that they could accelerate the ageing process by activating complex pathways in the hypothalamus. By blocking these pathways, they were able to slow down ageing in mice by 20 per cent.