Who knows? This may end up being the ‘fountain-of-youth gene.
Gene May Offer Way to Block Aging’s Effects
For years, scientists thought the Oct4 gene did nothing in the human body after prenatal development. It turns out they were wrong.
The gene may actually hold the secret to reversing some effects of aging.
UVA researchers have found the gene helps prevent heart attacks and strokes, which often occur when plaque that builds up inside our blood vessels ruptures. The gene creates protective caps inside the plaque, so the plaque is less likely to burst. It also enables cells that don't normally move to migrate into the protective caps.
This knowledge opens the door to develop new drugs that prevent heart attacks and strokes. Manipulating the gene’s expression might also block age-related decline in the body, helping it to better heal itself and repair wounds.
There needs to be more awareness. For me that's really where I hang my hat.
Deb Owens: Giving Back After Stroke Scare
Deb Owens is a neonatal nurse practitioner at UVA Medical Center. In the spring of 2015, she went home with a headache, something she describes as fairly typical. She became concerned when the headache lingered for several days. She also noticed her eyelid drooping.
After meeting with a neuro-ophthalmologist, Owens was told she was likely having a stroke. Andrew Southerland, MD, diagnosed Owens with a carotid artery dissection, an uncommon condition that is often found in young people who suffer from stroke.
Owens describes herself as lucky. After receiving stellar treatment at UVA Stroke Center, she decided to give back. She now hosts fundraisers to raise money for stroke research.
The paired exchange is more than just two people, it is a unifying of human spirits, multiplied many times over.
Paired Donor Exchange: A Husband and Wife's Kidney Transplant Story
Veronica Downing was told she needed a kidney transplant. Instead of putting her name on a list, Veronica's husband, Ronald, came forward as a donor. Ronald went through the complete evaluation, only to find out he and his wife were not a match. The two were devastated.
However, there was another option. Ronald could still become a donor, but his kidney would not be given to his wife. Instead, his kidney would be shipped to somewhere in the United States, to someone he does match with. In return, a healthy kidney would be sent back from an anonymous donor to be given to Veronica. The process is called paired donor exchange and continues on until the chain has gone full circle. Veronica and Ronald were a part of one of UVA's very first paired donor exchanges.