Saturday, September 24, 2011

Red Wine May Not Extend Life Span After All

But why take chances?
This all has to do with some natural proteins called sirtuins. (That's pronounced sir-TWO-ins in American English, in case you're reading this out loud at a bar.) Yeast carry a version. So do worms, mice and people.

About 10 years ago, scientists noticed that an extra helping of sirtuins seemed to help living things live longer. And there was some evidence that a substance in red wine called resveratrol could crank up sirtuin production.

Then, in 2006, a Harvard researcher named David Sinclair reported that obese mice that got doses of resveratrol lived longer than fat mice who didn't — about 30 percent longer.

The study was published in Nature and reported by media around the world. The assumption was that what was good for fat mice would also be good for thin animals, or even people.

As a result, sales of red wine jumped and a biotechnology company founded by Sinclair and others to develop the substance as a drug became extremely valuable. In 2008, the drug company GlaxoSmithKline bought Sinclair's company, Sirtris, for $720 million.

But over the years, some scientists had begun to question whether sirtuins really were the key to extending life. Some studies of sirtuins even suggested they didn't affect lifespan.

And this week, Nature published research that offers a strong rebuttal to the idea...
Ah, Fritz's Law strikes again.  But just in case, I hear a bottle of Carmenere left over from the wedding singing to me...

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