Today in Research: A Worm Could Hold the Secret to Immortality

By The Atlantic Wire

Discovered: Rich people steal candy from babies, the existence of an immortal worm, democracy does not work, and death by sleeping pills.

  • This worm has discovered the secret to immortality. Here's one for our Beverly Hills housewives readers. There's a worm out there that's defying aging. Instead of dying, it just regenerates indefinitely. "Usually when stem cells divide -- to heal wounds, or during reproduction or for growth -- they start to show signs of aging," explains researcher Dr. Aziz Aboobaker. "Planarian worms and their stem cells are somehow able to avoid the aging process and to keep their cells dividing," he continues. If this worm can remain forever young, why can't we? Cue: absurd worm trend. [University of Nottingham]
  • Death by sleeping pills. It's not a cause-and-effect thing, but those who take prescription sleeping pills have an increased likelihood of death, finds a new study. "Those prescribed up to 18 doses a year were more than 3.5 times as likely to die as those prescribed none, while those prescribed between 18 and 132 doses were more than four times as likely to do so," explains the write-up. So, insomniacs, be careful. [BMJ Open]

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/today-in-research-a-worm-could-hold-the-secret-to-immortality/253632/