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Caloric Restriction Linked to Slowed Aging in Monkeys

Last Updated: July 13, 2009.

Caloric restriction is associated with a delayed onset of age-related disease and less age-related death in rhesus monkeys, according to research published in the July 10 issue of Science.

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Caloric restriction is associated with a delayed onset of age-related disease and less age-related death in rhesus monkeys, according to research published in the July 10 issue of Science.

Ricki J. Colman, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues analyzed data from 76 rhesus monkeys that were randomized in the late 1980s and mid 1990s to a control diet or a caloric restriction diet.

The researchers found that 37 percent of controls and 13 percent of the caloric restriction group died of age-related causes. At any point in time, the control animals' rate of age-related death was three times higher. Age-related diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diverticulosis, were also found in control animals at nearly three times the rate compared to caloric restriction animals. The authors further note that animals in the caloric restriction group also had less decline in muscle mass and none developed diabetes or pre-diabetes.

"Our data indicate that adult-onset moderate caloric restriction delays the onset of age-associated pathologies and promotes survival in a primate species," Colman and colleagues conclude. "Given the obvious parallels between rhesus monkeys and humans, the beneficial effects of caloric restriction may also occur in humans. This prediction is supported by studies of people on long-term caloric restriction, who show fewer signs of cardiovascular aging. The effect of controlled long-term caloric restriction on maximal life span in humans may never be known, but our extended study will eventually provide such data on rhesus monkeys."

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