Researchers have discovered that Stem Cells found in a certain region of the brain could possibly slow down aging and extend Human Life. The breakthrough involves the neural part of the hypothalamus which is responsible for emotions, hunger, sleep cycle, sex drive, temperature regulation and other homeostatic activities.

Many theories have been discussed about aging but the specific causes have yet to be discovered. One popular theory suggests that the accumulation of damage over the years will cause the biological system to falter. Another theory points out that the internal processes will eventually cause the body to decline.

Major organ of the body greatly affects aging

The researchers from Albert Einstein University in New York lead by Dongsheng Cai has discovered the role of the hypothalamus, the almond-shaped region in the brain, in the aging process. The team was also able to test the depth of the stem cell’s influence.

In their research, Cai’s team learned that the mice’s stem cells, specifically found in the hypothalamus, are actively creating new neurons in their early life. However, when they reached middle age – that is 10 to 11 months old - they start losing the neurons. Not surprisingly, the mice’s stem cells are almost non-existent when they reach two years old. In human age, that is about 70 years old.

Two theories dispelled

After the researchers’ discovery, they gave the group of mice a toxin which destroyed 70 percent of stem cells. A few months later, the mice died and some lost their cognitive and physiological abilities and social behavior skills. This proves that the cause of aging was not attributed to the popular damage or the program aging theory mentioned.

When the researchers introduced a group of genetically-engineered stem cells to the mice, they were reported to have enjoyed 15 percent longer life span. In humans, this means that life could be extended to more than a decade. The challenge the researchers are facing now is how to introduce the stem cells from the newborn mice to the middle-aged mice.

The cells were reported to have been destroyed by the aging mice whose hypothalamus is already inflamed.

David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School thinks that Cai’s discovery was a breakthrough. He is excited to see the day when stem cells can improve the health of the people and even extend human life. Researchers are now looking into clinical trials after they harvest a vast of human neural stem cells.