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Death by Clock Shift

February 9, 2012

A fruit fly study clearly links biological clock disruption to neurodegeneration and early death.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Vital biological clocks.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Disruptions in biological clocks have been linked to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and accelerated age-related brain degeneration.  Now, researchers at Oregon State University have found a deeper connection.  Zoologist Jaga Giebultowicz and her colleagues studied fruit flies – some with a genetic mutation that causes neurological deficits, others with one that disrupts the biological clock, and still others with both mutations.

JAGA GIEBULTOWICZ (Oregon State University):

These flies live maybe a 30 to 50 percent shorter lifespan than either single mutant, and they have accelerated brain damage, and they have impaired vertical mobility, it’s one way to test aging in flies.

HIRSHON:
Other studies found that normal flies’ clock mechanisms gradually decay as they age.  The work suggests that faulty clocks and faulty brains may contribute to each other.   I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.