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Worms, Microbes and Healthspan

August 22, 2017

Gut microbes may turn broccoli chemicals into age-defying compounds.



Microbes and healthspan. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Emory University biologist Daniel Kalman studies tiny worms called nematodes in an effort to help people stay active and healthy during old age. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and his colleagues report that compounds called indoles found in plants like kale and broccoli, may have age-defying properties, after being processed by bacteria living in the gut.

DANIEL KALMAN (Emory University):

When worms get frail as they age, they don’t move as well. And we noticed that these molecules made older worms move like younger worms.


And in fruitflies and mice, they found that the indole-based compounds also help repair damaged tissue and keep elderly mice spry.  But theyll need to learn more about how the compounds work before looking at human therapies. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon