Ahh, aging. You wake up one day and the hair on your head is gone, you’ve got wrinkles, and your entire body hurts when you move. And, of course, you’re more likely to get sick and die.
While no one has managed to cure the process of aging, a new study shows that a medicine that slows some of the aesthetic effects of aging could actually keep you healthier for longer as well.
The medicine, called minoxidil, is usually used to slow the progression of balding and promote healthy hair development. But the researchers out of Washington University’s School of Medicine, wondered whether the drug could also be used to promote elastin growth in mature tissue.
Elastin is a protein that keeps your blood vessels and arteries stretchy, but it’s only produced during development. As kids turn into adults, who turn into older adults, that elastin is lost, and blood vessels become stiff.
This means that you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and cognitive decline. Fun stuff.
The researchers studied their theory by adding minoxidil to the water of a bunch of babies from the time they were weaned to three months of age. They also studied the kids a month after the medicine was taken away.
They found that the babies who had it added had more cerebral blood flow, increased vessel elasticity, and lower blood pressure.
Whether this would work with adults is yet to be studied, but hey, it’s a start.