The Daily Dose: Eyes show the way to reverse aging; Worries that COVID-19 may be linked to dementia.

Will the answer to reversing the aging process come from the biology behind sight? There is compelling evidence that it just might. Per Science, “In the new study, Sinclair and his collaborators aimed to rejuvenate cells by inserting genes that encode “reprogramming factors,” which regulate gene expression—the reading of DNA to make proteins. The team chose three of the four factors scientists have used for more than 10 years to turn adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, which resemble the cells of an early embryo. (Exposing animals to all four factors can cause tumors.)” So the scientists basically turned back time (biological, at least) and turned old old cells into younger ones. Bring it.

It feels like every week there’s a new symptom or long lasting affect associated with COVID-19 infection. It’s been previously established that SARS-CoV-2 is capable of breaching the blood-brain-barrier and infecting the brain. One of the outward manifestations of that phenomenon is a mental cloudiness, disorientation, and in many cases delirium. Now, physicians and scientists are beginning to worry that the experience may speed the onset of dementia. Per Nature, “Physicians treating people hospitalized with COVID-19 report that a large number experience delirium, and that the condition disproportionately affects older adults. An April 2020 study in Strasbourg, France, found that 65% of people who were severely ill with coronavirus had acute confusion — a symptom of delirium. Data presented last month at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians by scientists at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, showed that 55% of the 2,000 people they tracked who were treated for COVID-19 in intensive-care units (ICUs) around the world had developed delirium. These numbers are much higher than doctors are used to: usually, about one-third of people who are critically ill develop delirium, according to a 2015 meta-analysis.” Researchers admit that better understanding of the links between delirium and dementia is needed if they are ever going to get to the bottom of COVID-19 and the possibility of dementia.

A massive symbol of humankind’s desire to learn whether we have company out in the cosmos has crumbled. The SETI telescope in Aricebo has buckled due to recent blows to its structure. Per the Associated Press, “A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century completely collapsed on Tuesday. The telescope’s 900-ton receiver platform and the Gregorian dome — a structure as tall as a four-story building that houses secondary reflectors — fell onto the northern portion of the vast reflector dish more than 400 feet below.” An auxiliary cable snapped in August. It created a 100-foot gash on the 1,000-foot-wide dish and damaged the receiver platform that hung above it. Subsequently, a main cable broke in early November.

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