Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Upside-Down Flies May Offer Clues To Aging In Humans

Date:
August 27, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Davis
Summary:
If you come across a fly lying on its back, chances are it's dead, right? Well, maybe not. It may just be passing through a very predictable, but significant stage of decline that eventually will help scientists better understand aging and degenerative diseases in humans.

If you come across a fly lying on its back, chances are it's dead, right? Well, maybe not. It may just be passing through a very predictable, but significant stage of decline that eventually will help scientists better understand aging and degenerative diseases in humans. A team of researchers studying longevity in more than 200 male Mediterranean fruit flies found that nearly all of the flies in their study went through such an upside-down period, usually late in life. During this phase, the flies spent increasingly more time resting on their backs, even though they were still capable of walking, eating and even fanning their wings. Whether this behavior began at a young or advanced age, it always progressed toward death.

"It appears to be something like the progression humans make from using a cane, then a walker, then a wheelchair and then finally becoming bedridden," said James Carey, an insect demographer at the University of California, Davis. Carey is the principal investigator and co-author on the study, which will be published in the Aug. 22 issue of the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.

"Virtually nothing is known about chronic, progressive illness in insects," said Carey. "It's possible that this upside-down phase may serve as a biomarker that will allow us to use Medflies as a model system for studying the dynamics of morbidity -- the relationship between the onset and duration of irreversible conditions and death -- in humans; which is a multibillion-dollar issue in health care."

Carey and colleagues found that their male Medflies usually went upside down about 10 or 15 days before the end of their roughly 60-day lives. Once this began, the flies spent progressively more time on their backs as they grew older. The researchers coined the term "supine behavior" to describe this phenomenon.

"This suggests that almost all male Medflies experience a period of declining health prior to death, and morbidity is a natural stage of the aging process," said Nikos Papadopoulos, a post-graduate researcher and lead author on the study. "If it turns out that the cause of this decline is neurological and central in origin, rather than musculoskeletal, then perhaps insects also can serve as models for studying the onset of progressive neurological illnesses and dementia in humans.

The study was funded by the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Davis. "Upside-Down Flies May Offer Clues To Aging In Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020827063527.htm>.
University Of California - Davis. (2002, August 27). Upside-Down Flies May Offer Clues To Aging In Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020827063527.htm
University Of California - Davis. "Upside-Down Flies May Offer Clues To Aging In Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020827063527.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins