New York Times
by Nicholas Baker
In animal studies over the last few decades, scientists have begun to understand the specific cellular and molecular processes that cause the deteriorations of old age…In an essay in the journal JAMA last month, Tamara Tchkonia and Dr. James L. Kirkland of the Mayo Clinic categorized these processes into four broad groups: chronic inflammation; cell dysfunction; changes in stem cells that make them fail to regenerate tissue; and cellular senescence, the accumulation in tissue of aging cells that accompanies disease. Old cells, researchers have found, secrete proteins, lipids and other substances that increase inflammation and tissue destruction. In one study in mice, researchers showed that transplanting these cells to the knee joints of healthy animals causes disease that looks very much like human osteoarthritis.
Reach: The New York Times has a daily circulation of nearly 589,000. The New York Times online receives more than 29.8 million unique visitors each month.
Context: James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D. is a Mayo Clinic General Internal Medicine physician. Dr. Kirkland's research is focused on the impact of cellular aging (senescence) on age-related dysfunction and chronic diseases, especially developing methods for removing these cells and alleviating their effects. Senescent cells accumulate with aging and in such diseases as dementias, atherosclerosis, cancers, diabetes and arthritis. The goal of Dr. Kirkland's current work is to develop methods to remove these cells to delay, prevent, alleviate or partially reverse age-related chronic diseases as a group and extend health span, the period of life free of disability, pain, dependence and chronic disease.
Contact: Bob Nellis