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The ‘Benjamin Button’ Effect Might Soon Be A Real Thing. Scientists Can Now Reverse The Aging Process In Mice.

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You’ve seen the movie — or at leard you’ve heard of — The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, right?

Paramount Pictures Warner Bros.

In this movie (loosely based on a short story), Benjamin Button is born old. He literally looks like a little old man.

Paramount Pictures Warner Bros.

He then begins to age in reverse. As he gets older, he appears younger.

It’s a pretty awesome situation, but as you can probably guess, there are consequences to aging in reverse.

But, that’s a story for another time.

Today we are here to talk about mice. Yes, those furry little rodents that scare the beetlejuice out of you when they appear in your house.

What Do Mice Have To Do With Benjamin Buttons?

Researchers have stumbled upon a way to reverse the aging process in mice.

Excuse me? What kind of sorcery is this?

There is no magic involved — unless you consider science to be magic.

In molecular biologist David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard Medical School, old mice are growing young again.

David Sinclair

The process is complicated, but here is the gist of the situation.

Researchers use some special protein that can turn the cell of an adult into a stem cell.

So, what exactly is a stem cell, you ask?

You’ve heard the term before, but maybe you’re stumped as to what a stem cell actually is.

According to the Mayo Clinic, stem cells are “cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated.”


They are basically the cells in their raw form.

Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.

Mayo Clinic

So, Sinclair — in all his scientific wisdom — and his team have altered aging cells in mice.

These new cells have turned the mice into earlier versions of themselves.

I’m sorry. This sounds like we are in Fantasyland, AMIRITE?

Sinclair’s team made the first stem cell breakthrough in late 2020 when they published “Reprogramming to recover youthful epigenetic information and restore vision.”

That’s a confusing, scientific way to say that they basically defied the laws of nature, and made the mice appear young again.

Old mice with poor eyesight and damaged retinas could suddenly see again, with vision that at times rivaled their offspring’s.


I mean, can I have some of these stem cells put into my eyes?!?

While modern medicine addresses sickness, it doesn’t address the underlying cause, “which for most diseases, is aging itself. — We know that when we reverse the age of an organ like the brain in a mouse, the diseases of aging then go away. Memory comes back; there is no more dementia.”


What Does This Reverse Aging Process Mean For Us Humans?

So, the results of the study in mice have lasted for months.

If it works on mice, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work on humans.

(I’m not sure I want to be the guinea pig who tries it out)

BUT, these stem cells don’t turn into younger versions, and then stay that way forever.

Like, you can’t turn into an immortal vampire or anything — no matter how bad you want to.

It’s as permanent as aging is. It’s a reset, and then we see the mice age out again, so then we just repeat the process.

David Sinclair, molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School

What Happens To These Magic Stem Cells After The Aging Process Once Again Begins?

We believe we have found the master control switch, a way to rewind the clock. The body will then wake up, remember how to behave, remember how to regenerate and will be young again, even if you’re already old and have an illness.

David Sinclair, molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School

We do know that eventually the cells age again, and the mice go back to being elderly rodents.

But, for a brief moment in time, they appear and act younger.

Studies on whether the genetic intervention that revitalized mice will do the same for people are in early stages. — It will be years before human trials are finished, analyzed and, if safe and successful, scaled to the mass needed for a federal stamp of approval.


Let’s get this testing done and complete. Once we know it’s safe for humans — and FDA approved — I will be first in line to get my stem cells!!

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