Lower temperatures might not warm your heart, but they could make for a longer life.
Past research has proposed a few reasons behind this intriguing phenomenon. Now scientists from the University of Cologne in Germany have used experiments on worms to identify another possible reason: coldness drives a process through which damaged proteins are removed from cells.
Several neurodegenerative diseases that can take hold as we get older – including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – are linked to the build-up of bad proteins, so discovering how temperature affects this process is a significant step forward in terms of finding ways to potentially slow or even stop this deterioration from happening.
While sitting around in the cold is unlikely to be a therapy option any time soon, understanding the workings of processes that cold temperatures kick start could help us to replicate them through the use of targeted treatments.
“Extreme low temperatures are detrimental, but a moderate decrease in body temperature can have beneficial effects for the organism,” write the researchers in their published paper.
“Although the longevity effects of low temperature were reported more than a century ago, little is known about how cold temperature influences lifespan and health.” [Continue reading…]