Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Smelling shortens longevity?

Smelling food can reduce fly lifespan The Scientist 2/1/07 "Findings suggest the effects of caloric restriction on aging stem from both less food and less of a sensation of food...The smell of food can affect the lifespan of flies and even partially reverse the life-prolonging effects of dietary restriction..."This work provides an important first step into understanding how neural circuits may regulate lifespan in the fly," coauthor Scott Pletcher...While these results suggest olfactory regulation of aging in Drosophila may work largely independently of insulin signaling, they don't "rule out" that insulin plays some role, Pletcher said. Other pathways through which smells might help regulate aging include Sir2...The fact that knocking out the olfactory systems dramatically affects lifespan in worms and flies is fascinating, and suggests a striking conservation of the physiological mechanisms that impact lifespan across a wide range of species.""

It's note clear yet what is happening but one of the researchers, Sergiy Libert speculated "...that the smell of food may give organisms early information on whether they should devote resources to reproducing or to maintaining their bodies. While animals in a lush environment are more likely to reproduce, animals that sense that food isn't available tend to avoid reproduction and live longer..."

If you could extend your life by as much as 40%-50% by ditching your sense of smell... would you? And of course with that you lose a considerable amount of taste. In my mind I'd not have to choose because researchers will soon let me have my cake and eat it. I hope. Because I don't think I could get rid of smell and some taste. Take a pinky sure, maybe a toe, but smell?

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