Oklahoma researchers study drug that could reverse aging without exercise

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many of us would slow down the aging process if we could, and now researchers in Oklahoma are working to find out if it’s possible without hitting the gym.

We often associate the term anti-aging with looking younger, but it also applies to your health.

“If you think about some of the things that happen to skin over time, the aging that you can see, those same kinds of things are happening on the inside of the body,” said Benjamin Miller, Ph.D. with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. 

Miller is currently studying the drug metformin.

It’s a common drug for diabetes but believed to also be effective at slowing aging. Consequently, it is believed to slow or prevent the onset of conditions like cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Miller says the key term isn’t “life span,” it’s “health span.”

“It’s not to make us live to 140 years or something like that. It’s to make us functional and healthy and not declining over the last few years of our lives,” he said. 

Two years ago, Miller studied middle-aged adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes, putting them on an exercise training program. Some were on metformin, others were not.

“We found that metformin actually blocked some of the positive effects of exercise,” Miller said. 

So they decided to study it on healthy adults who may want to reverse the aging process while taking exercise out of the equation this time.

“In reality, what we know slows aging the best is exercise. Not everybody wants to exercise,” Miller told KFOR. “So we’re trying to find treatments for those who don’t want to exercise to have some of the same kinds of effects.”

OMRF is looking for volunteers between the ages of 40-75 without chronic disease for the 12-week study.

Those admitted can expect visits ranging from 10 minutes to five hours, including blood draws, muscle biopsy, a bone density scan and an insulin sensitivity test.

To participate or for more information, contact Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources at 405-271-3480 or osctr@ouhsc.edu

The study is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging. 

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