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In researching a cure for a deadly childhood disease, scientists from Durham University in the United Kingdom made a breakthrough that may mean that they will be able to slow down the human body's process of aging, the UK Press Association reports.
Professor Chris Hutchison, a member of the Biophysical Sciences Institute at the university, was leading a study into progenia - a premature aging disease that can cause children to age up to eight times faster than usual. He and his team developed a new treatment that combines existing medicine for the condition with N-acetyl cysteine, an over-the-counter dietary supplement. The combination of these medications repairs or reverses damage done to the cells that causes aging, the news source reports.
While important for infants affected by this disorder, the findings may also have a major impact on how to slow the aging process for people in general. It may also help to prevent some of the harmful aspects of growing old, The Telegraph reports.
"In the long term that almost certainly has an implication for normal aging," Hutchison told the news source. "The findings are at a very early stage but they show the potential for helping people to live more comfortable and less painful lives when they reach 70 ... years of age and beyond."