Is it possible to reverse human ageing? New, pathbreaking research suggests so

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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In a potentially sensational breakthrough, Israeli scientists have reported that they have successfully reversed the human ageing process, following a study involving a group of elderly people.

Scientists reportedly used oxygen therapy to reverse two key hallmarks of biological ageing and they are telomere shortening and a growing number of senescent cells that had stopped working.

The researchers stated that this remarkable study shows how oxygen therapy altered the bodies of older people at a cellular level to how they were 25 years ago.

As humans age, their bodies suffer from a decrease in telomeres which are the protective caps on chromosomes and this shortening can lead to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Senescent cells which are also called as zombie cells, prevent regeneration as they build up in the body as we age.

Scientists at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel found that breathing in oxygen while sitting in a pressurized chamber allowed telomeres to regrow.

Prof. Shai Efrati
Prof. Shai Efrati
Tel Aviv University

“Since telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of ageing, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are being extensively explored in the hopes of enabling telomere elongation. The significant improvement of telomere length shown during and after these unique protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that ageing can indeed be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level.”

The findings of the study, which is published in the journal called Ageing and reported by Britain’s MailOnline, showed how the research allowed telomeres to regrow by more than 20 percent, while their senescent cells were reduced by up to 37 percent. This is similar to how their bodies were 25 years ago in cellular terms.

Oxygen Chamber
Pressurized oxygen chamber used for the research.

The study included 35 healthy adults aged 64 and older. For the study, they were led to a pressurized oxygen chamber and allow to breathe pure oxygen through a mask.

The sessions lasted 90 minutes each and took place five days per week for three months.

The compressed chamber resonates with a lack of oxygen or ‘hypoxia’, which allows the tissues to dissolve more oxygen to enhance the regeneration process. Researchers employed a procedure called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in an attempt to avoid the degradation of these two ageing features.