The youth fountain can be made of air, not of water.
In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists say they have successfully reversed the ageing process of elderly people by “oxygen therapy”.
Tel Aviv University researchers used hyperbaric oxygen chambers to target particular cells and DNA linked to shorter lifespans and according to a press release about the discovery, found the “Holy Grail” of staying young.
During the study, researchers investigated whether, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Aging, the treatment, which includes breathing pure oxygen in a high-pressure environment, could reverse the effects in 35 people over 64 years of age.
For 90 minutes a day, five days a week for three months, they placed elderly participants in the chamber and studied their effects on senescent cells, which are associated with tissue and organ deterioration. They also measured the length of the telomere, a molecule linked to premature cellular ageing, of each person.
Remarkably, scientists concluded that the telomeres of the participants had increased by an average length of 20 percent, while their senescent cells had decreased by up to 37 percent by the end of the study, the equivalent of growing 25 years younger.
“The significant improvement in telomere length shown… provides the scientific community with a new basis for understanding that ageing at the basic cellular-biological level can indeed be targeted and reversed,” said Shai Efrati, co-author of the report. “Because the shortening of telomeres is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of ageing biology.”
Participants did not change their lifestyles, diets, or medications during the sessions that have shown to affect the biological age of a person in the past.
The scientists, including doctors from the Shamir Medical Center, believe that brief oxygen shortages were caused by the pressurised chamber, which caused cell regeneration.
“Until now, treatments such as changes in lifestyle and intense exercise have been shown to have some inhibition effect on the expected shortening of telomere length,” said Dr. Amir Hadanny, who co-authored the report.
“What is remarkable to note in our study is that we were able to achieve such significant telomere elongation in just three months of treatment at rates far beyond any of the currently available interventions or lifestyle changes.”
In 2016, by offering them drugs that destroy senescent cells, experts discovered they could halt ageing in mice.