This site is intended for health professionals only

A ‘red wine’ pill that means we can live to 150 years old, a blood test for Alzheimer’s and the taboo around ageing

Humans could live to 150, as scientists develop new drugs to combat ageing which could be made available within five years, the Daily Mail reports. The new drugs are synthetic versions of resveratrol, found in red wine and believed to have an anti-ageing effect.

Research has shown that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend the years of life. Genetics professor David Sinclair, based at Harvard University, said: ‘Ultimately, these drugs would treat one disease, but unlike drugs of today, they would prevent 20 others. In effect, they would slow ageing.’

In another potential advance in anti-ageing, Alzheimer’s disease could be diagnosed in its earliest stages, thanks to a blood test developed by researchers reports the BBC.

The test works by looking for proteins strongly linked with Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid and APOE were added, as well as proteins related to inflammation - to increase the power of the test. Researchers from the University of Nottingham told delegates at the Alzheimer’s Research UK conference the test would be quick and easy to do in clinics which could mean much earlier diagnosis and better treatments.

Professor Kevin Morgan from the University of Nottingham  said: ‘Our findings are exciting because they show that it is technically possible to distinguish between healthy people and those with Alzheimer’s using a blood test.’

The news of leaps and bounds in the treatment of age-related disease comes with a warning in the Daily Telegraph that there is still a taboo around ageing.

A coalition of experts led by former care services minister Paul Burstow said that an ‘unwillingness’ to face up to old age threatens to condemn the newly retired to spend their final years in institutions or in isolation. In a letter to the paper, the experts said the belief that people should be ‘young forever’ could turn the elderly into ‘passive victims’ unable to choose where they should spend their retirement.

The group, including the heads of 13 charities and private companies providing housing for the elderly, said that ‘to the nation’s shame’ many older people are left with the choice between staying in the family home despite loneliness or moving to an institution to spend their final years.