Researchers Try to Find the Secret to Long Life

January 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. specialized (adj.) 
[spesh-uh-lahyzd] – developed for a specific objective
Example:  The IT Company offers specialized tutorial software for English learners.

2. replicate (v.) [rep-li-keyt] –to copy or do something again in exactly the same way
Example: The research team was encouraged to replicate successful experiments done in the previous years.

3. pave the way (idiom) [peyv thuh wey] –  to help make a way for something to happen
Example:  Her extra effort at work will surely pave the way for her promotion this year.

4. tolerance (n.) [tol-er-uhns] – the ability to remain unaffected
Example:  Boxers have a high tolerance for pain.

5. uncover (v.) [uhn-kuhv-er] - to discover or reveal something hidden
Example The team of archeologists uncovered a 3,000-year-old porcelain jar in West Africa.

Read the text below.
Researchers from Keio University have successfully made specialized stem cells from the blood of people aged 110 or older in an effort to find genetic causes of long life.

The Keio team, led by Noboyushi Hirose and Shinsuke Yuasa, took blood samples from 13 men and women who are known to have “superlongevity” or who are aged 110 and older. The researchers then made Induced Pluripotent [ploo-rih-puh-tent] Stem (iPS) Cells from four of the blood samples.

These artificially made cells can later be used to grow body tissues or organs, including muscles and nerves from which the team will further examine the cells' capability to self-replicate, the cells’ healing abilities,  stress tolerance and speed of aging.

Studies suggest that compared to ordinary persons, people with “superlongevity” do not suffer from as many health problems, such as ‘hardening of the arteries’ and ‘cancer development’. For this reason, it is possible that their cells are genetically stronger in fighting sickness.

Hirose said that their research on the genetic component of people with “superlongevity” may pave the way for new cancer and heart disease medicines. He also thinks that the study will help uncover the genetic secrets to long life.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What should people do to live a long and healthy life?
·         Which do you think helps a person live longer, good genes or a healthy lifestyle? Why?

Discussion B

·         Would you want to live more than 100 years? Why or why not?
·         What do you think would happen if most people could live until the age of 110 or above?


January 18, 2012