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Tiny brain part may hold anti-ageing key

A vital pea-sized component of the brain may be the key to holding back ageing and extending the human lifespan, research suggests.

The hypothalamus, a small bundle of neurons at the base of the brain, governs how quickly the body ages.

Tests on laboratory mice pinpointed ageing control to a tiny population of adult stem cells within the brain region.

The cells appear to keep a tight rein on ageing.

As their numbers decline naturally with time or if their function is disrupted, the body’s organs and metabolic processes age faster and death occurs earlier.

Humans are likely to respond to the influence of hypothalamus stem cells in just the same way, scientists believe.

Lead investigator Professor Dongsheng Cai, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said: “Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal and this decline accelerates ageing.

“But we also found that the effects of this loss are not irreversib…

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