Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Of Mice and Men (and wine … )

If we’re looking for something to cheer us up, scientists have found a way to keep fat mice living longer, healthier lives.

Of course, we should be cheering on the news, especially if the research proves to be applicable to humans.

But if it isn’t — and the mice find out about this — we’re in trouble. And the last thing we want is obese, healthy mice with an attitude and ultimate new goal in life.

According to an Associated Press story, “Huge amounts of a red wine extract seemed to help obese mice eat a high-fat diet and still live a long and healthy life… The study by the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute of Aging shows that heavy doses of red wine extract lowers the rate of diabetes, liver problems and other fat-related ill effects in obese mice.

“Fat-related deaths dropped 31 percent for obese mice on the supplement, compared to untreated obese mice, and the treated mice also lived long after they should have, the study said.

“Astoundingly, the organs of the fat mice that got the wine extract looked normal when they shouldn’t have, said study lead author Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. And Sinclair said other preliminary work still being done in the lab shows the wine ingredient has promise in lengthening the life span of normal-sized mice, too.”

The red wine extract is called resveratrol, and it’s found on the skins of grapes but also peanuts and some berries have it, according to the story.

Best of all, the mice — and presumably humans if more research proves to be correct — “get the good effects of cutting calories without having the pain of actually doing it.”

Forget jogging! Dieting! Suffering through all those other things hurled at people to lose weight and be healthier. Wine for everyone!

The researchers have been working their way up the research chain. So far, they have helped turn out healthier worms, fruit flies and mice, and next on their list is rhesus monkeys before presumably humans are scientifically tested.

When they’re looking for volunteers, there may be a line up. The mice were given doses of resveratrol that would “be the equivalent of an adult drinking 100 bottles of wine daily” said AP.

There might be some volunteers who just want smaller doses of the wine in bottles rather than be given the high dose extracts. Hold the hangover.

The winners of course are the grape producers who might have a new, healthy market for their product. And they’ll be the first to drink to that.

Link
http://www.nature.com/nature


1 comment:

threecollie said...

I saw the photo of the mice in the paper here yesterday. Not only did the fat wino mouse look healthier, I swear he was grinning from ear to ear.

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