Researchers in Paris trying to discover whether Buckminster fullerene molecules (Buckey balls) might be toxic instead found that rats lived almost twice as long when fed buckeyballs along with olive oil.
The first was given a control, the second was fed olive oil and the third was fed a combination of olive oil and Buckminsterfullerene. The control group had a lifespan of only 22 months while the strictly olive oil group lived an average of 26 months.
However, researchers got quite a surprise with the olive oil/buckeyball group. Rats that ingested that mixture lived an astounding 42 months.
It seems unlikely humans would get a near doubling of lifespan from buckeyballs. Why? We live nearly 40 times longer than rats due to a variety of protective mechanisms we have to slow the rate of damage accumulation from aging. Some of the damage being prevented by buckeyballs in rats is already being prevented in humans by other means.
This result needs to be confirmed in rats in other labs. Plus, buckeyballs should be tried in other animals, including animals with an range of lifespans between those of humans and rats. Does the life extension benefit scale by percentage, absolute time, or not at all? By watching biomarkers for aging (as well as liver enzymes and other indicators of toxicity) we should be able to get a projection of likely long term effects without having to wait many years for final results.
Many Americans take aspirin to lower their risk of heart disease, but a new study suggests a remarkable added benefit, reporting that patients who took aspirin regularly for a period of several years were 21 percent less likely decades later to die of solid tumor cancers, including cancers of the stomach, esophagus and lung.
So should we take low dose aspirin? Keep in mind that aspirin also increases bleeding risks. Well, this reminds me of another recent study which found that brain microbleeds are highly prevalent in aging brains. It seems very plausible to expect aspirin to increase the risk of these microbleeds.
A small amount of bleeding in the brain seems to be common among older individuals, according to a UC Irvine study.
Neurologist Dr. Mark Fisher and neuropathologist Dr. Ronald Kim found that cerebral microbleeds are highly prevalent in the aging brain – and not primarily products of stroke-related injury, hypertension or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as had been thought.
“Prior work relied on brain imaging to show cerebral microbleeds,” Fisher said. “But in this study, deep regions of the brain were closely examined under a microscope, and nearly all subjects had evidence of small areas of bleeding.”
It is hard to know whether taking some drug for years will cut all cause mortality. Aspirin cuts prostaglandin production and lowers inflammation. But there are non-aspirin ways to cut inflammation. So I wonder whether aspirin delivers protective benefits even for people who eating ideal diets and getting enough exercise. Can we get the same benefits while avoiding aspirin's risks?
We probably need good measures of the level of our body's inflammation and then to try various dietary and lifestyle practices to get it down. But is that sufficient to cut cancer risks as much as aspirin does?