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Stem Cell Shots Make Aging Mice Young Again

Comstock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Injecting younger cells into aging bodies could help people live longer -- and stronger, at least according to new research performed on mice.

Scientists said the research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, offered provocative new clues about the potential to treat aging and ailing cells, but it doesn't mean they've uncovered a new fountain of youth.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center genetically altered mice to make them age faster, making them old and weak in a span of 17 days. The scientists then injected the mice with stem cell-like cells taken from the muscle of young, healthy mice.

The result was that they reversed the aging process. The rapidly aging mice lived up to three times longer, dying after 66 days, rather than 28 days. The cell injection also appeared to make the animals healthier, improving their muscle strength and brain blood flow.

In recent years, scientists have agreed that aging in both animals and humans begins when stem cells lose their ability to rejuvenate the body's tissues. While aging is universal, some researchers believe it may also be reversible.

The mice in the study had a condition of rapid aging called progeria, meaning they did not age normally, even by mouse standards. Normal mice live for about 800 days. Though the mice in the study lived nearly three times as long as they would have, they lived for only 66 days.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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