Scientific Studies May Not Prove True…

It seems like every day a new study is published on how to prevent cancer or Alzheimer’s, and a related drug is released soon after. But how well do these scientific results hold up in the long run? Well, a new analysis examined thousands of scientific studies—many of which got extensive media coverage. Surprisingly, researchers found that only about 50% of these studies were confirmed in follow-up studies. In addition, these follow-up studies that prove or disprove the findings rarely get media coverage, so the public never hears about them.

So How Does This Relate to Aging?
Many companies, including Google, have shown recent interest in developing anti-aging drugs. They base these drugs on studies that are often done initially in animals, not humans. While it would be great if the drugs work in humans, according to this new study there is a strong possibility that they won’t. We’ve written about some of the most famous candidates for anti-aging drugs, such as metformin and rapamycin, and although there is significant evidence that both of these drugs have shown positive results in animals, there is still no evidence that the drugs make humans live longer. Human trials are underway now, so we’ll keep you updated on the results.

Moving Forward
Science is changing every day, so what can you do in the meantime? Several key risk factors for disease and death have been identified by scientists, such as smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, and even low socioeconomic status. In addition, scientists have identified “blue zones,” which are geographical regions with exceptional longevity and a growing number of centenarians (people over the age of 100). The habits of people in these blue zones, including low stress, healthy diets, and social groups, are things we can readily focus on to improve our day-to-day lives and possibly live longer!

Tara Grieshaber

Tara Grieshaber is an intern with the Healthy Aging Project, and a student in the Integrative Physiology Department at the University of Colorado Boulder.