Hyperbaric chambers used to reverse aging in "Holy Grail" study
21 November, 2020
- Israeli scientists reversed two major processes involved in
- Their new therapy counteracted the shortening of telomeres and
the accumulation of old and dying cells.
- The study participants underwent oxygen treatments in
Amid all the turmoil 2020 has brought us
(and it's not over yet), is there suddenly news that human aging
has been reversed? Scientists from Israel carried out a study that
might prove groundbreaking in the human quest to slow the
biological march of time. Researchers used oxygen treatments in
hyperbaric chambers to stop blood cells from aging, actually
making them grow younger.
The scientists devised a novel program
that uses high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber to reverse
two key processes that stem from aging. They were able to
counteract the shortening of telomeres,
which are protective regions at the ends of every chromosome, and
the body's aggregation of old and poorly-functioning cells.
As we get older, our cells continue to
divide, while the telomeres keep getting shorter. If they become
too short, the cells stop replicating (becoming "senescent") and
eventually die. This results in genetic aging. Analyzing the study
participant immune cells, the researchers saw a lengthening in 38% of
the telomeres, while the senescent cells decreased by 37%.
This is similar to the cellular state of their bodies 25
years earlier, the researchers noted.
The study involved 35 healthy people over 64
years old, who underwent 60 hyperbaric sessions in 3 months. With
the air pressure in the chamber twice that of normal, the subjects
would breathe pure oxygen, saturating their blood and bodily
The research team was led by Professor
Shai Efrati from Tel
Aviv University, who is also the
Founder and Director of the Sagol
Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at
the Shamir Medical Center, as well as Dr.
Amir Hadanny, the Sagol Center's Chief Medical Research
In a press
release, Professor Efrati
explained that their team has been working on hyperbaric research
and therapy for many years, looking to develop treatments based on
exposing patients to varying concentrations of high-pressure
oxygen. One of their achievements was in improving aging people's
brain functions. The current study was focused on seeing if the
aging process could be slowed down at the cellular level in
"Today telomere shortening is considered the
'Holy Grail' of the biology of aging," Professor Efrati
elaborated. "Researchers around the world are trying to develop
pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable
telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this,
proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the
basic cellular-molecular level."
Dr. Hadanny added that, previously,
lifestyle changes and a great deal of exercise was required to
achieve some impact on the shortening of telomeres. But in their
"pioneering" study, "only three months of HBOT were able to
elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available
interventions or lifestyle modifications."
While more research is required to expand
upon these results, you can check out the promising study
the journal Aging.
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