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Caloric Restriction at UW Madison
More Not-news

There has been yet another flurry of articles regarding the caloric restriction studies on monkeys at the University of Wisconsin.

These articles included:

Secret to a longer life? Dieting.
International Herald Tribune, France - Oct 31, 2006
By Michael Mason
The New York Times. How depressing, how utterly unjust, to be the one in your social circle who is aging least gracefully. ...

A prescription for old age may tout a low-calorie diet
Houston Chronicle, United States - Oct 30, 2006
By MICHAEL MASON. How utterly unjust to be the one in your social circle who is aging least gracefully. In a laboratory at the Wisconsin ...

One for the Ages: A Prescription That May Extend Life
New York Times, United States - Oct 30, 2006
Canto, left, a rhesus monkey, is aging fairly well at 25 on a calorie restriction diet. Owen, though only a year older than Canto, is frail and moves slowly. ...

Lesser Calories for Longer Life
MedIndia, India - Nov 1, 2006
Scientists have long tried to find ways and means to slow down aging. Recent research has revealed that calorie restriction may be the answer to extend life. ...

A low calorie diet could help retard ageing
Earthtimes.org - Nov 1, 2006
New claims suggest that a low calorie diet could be the prescription for a longer life. This idea was suggested by a group of scientists ...

Monkeys link food to looking good
The West Australian, Australia - Oct 31, 2006
Research in the US suggests a calorie restricted diet can keep animals looking bold and beautiful and full of vitality when compared with others on a normal ...

Ageing :: Calorie restriction - a prescription that extend life
SpiritIndia, India - Oct 31, 2006
The approach, called calorie restriction, involves eating about 30 percent fewer calories than normal while still getting adequate amounts of vitamins ...

Can Undereating Make You Live Longer?
ABC News - Nov 1, 2006
The Wisconsin National Primate Center has been studying the effects of a low-calorie diet on the aging process in monkeys, and the center is seeing remarkable ...

The stories showed up in newspapers around the planet. But was this news or was it simply the most recent success of an historically successful public relations department? Was something new being reported? Was there some breakthrough that made this experiment, one among tens of thousands of experiments on animals this year, somehow exceptional, or important? Consider the history of press coverage of these studies:

Key To Long Life May Be Eating Less
Capital Times :: Local/State :: 7A
Thursday, November 22, 1990
Terry Devitt
University News Service:

“Kemnitz said the UW-Madison scientists saw some changes in the monkeys' physiology as diet was reduced, which suggests that long-term slowing of the fundamental aging process will emerge.

He noted the Wisconsin research group has yet to detect significant changes in immune function, vision or physical activity. Such changes, Kemnitz emphasized, however, are slower to appear in longer-lived animals such as rhesus monkeys.

“The decline in immune function that occurs with age is very gradual,” he said. “It's not something we expected to see right away.”

The Wisconsin researchers are one year into a five-year, $1 million study supported by the National Institutes of Health. Working with Kemnitz on the study are William B. Ershler, Paul L. Kaufman, Ellen Roecker and Richard Weindruch, all of the UW-Madison Institute on Aging and Adult Life.

Prior to the study, the Wisconsin primates lived the lives of couch potatoes, eating freely and leading rather sedentary lives.

In many ways, the primates chosen for the study bear a close resemblance to typical middle-aged humans, Kemnitz said.

Over a period of several months, the UW-Madison researchers reduced the diets of the animals to a level approximating 70 percent of what the individual animals in the study consumed when allowed to eat freely. The new diet, said Kemnitz, provides good nutrition while eliminating unnecessary calories.

Males were chosen for the study, said Ershler, because they seem to age faster than females. Male rhesus monkeys, for example, begin to show an immunologic decline much earlier in life than females.

To Live Longer, Eat Less, Researchers Say
Wisconsin State Journal :: Look :: 1C
Thursday, November 29, 1990
University News Service:

“That, in brief, is the message from UW-Madison scientists who this month unveiled early results of a long-term study of diet and aging in rhesus monkeys. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Gerontological Society of America in Boston, are consistent with earlier studies of rodents that showed life can be prolonged and enhanced by reducing food consumption.

The monkey studies are important, the UW-Madison researchers said, because they are among the first to test whether a reduced diet can help prolong life in higher animals, a finding of direct import to humans.

It's been well-documented in rats and mice that caloric restriction will extend lifespan and slow the rate of physiological aging,' said primatologist Joseph Kemnitz of the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center.”

More Information On Diet And Aging
Wisconsin State Journal :: Opinion :: 13A
Thursday, April 7, 1994
Jim Dew, Madison:

“UW-Madison researcher Richard Weindruch reports caloric restriction prolongs the lifespan of protozoa, worms, spiders, trout and mammals such as hamsters and mice, provided the necessary protein, nutrients, vitamins and minerals are obtained. Caloric restriction also shows the aging process in adult rhesus monkeys. Assuming we have something in common with these animals, carolic restriction may prolong human life.”

Uw Researchers On Verge Of Secret To Longer Life: Eat Less
Wisconsin State Journal :: Local/Wisconsin :: 3C
Sunday, January 7, 1996
Ron Seely:

“Researchers at UW-Madison may be on the verge of discovering a way to drastically lengthen your lifespan.

When you hear the details, however, you may just decide to stick with your average 75 years. The researchers at UW-Madison's Institute on Aging say you may be able to age more slowly and stay healthy longer by eating less. Lots less.

Richard Weindruch, associate director of the institute, detailed the findings in an article in this month's Scientific American magazine. Weindruch reports that research on animals, mostly mice, has shown ``an astonishing range of benefits' to caloric restriction. When the animals are put on diets in which they consume 30 to 50 percent fewer calories -- while receiving enough protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to maintain their health -- theylive longer and remain free of major diseases associated with aging.

Weindruch says researchers at UW-Madison are testing the theory using rhesus monkeys. The results of that research, started in 1989 by William B. Ershler, Joseph W. Kemnitz and Ellen B. Roecker, have also been encouraging. He notes the monkeys, ‘albeit eager for their meals,' have shown lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and levels of insulin in the blood are also lower.'”

Monkey Study Suggests: Eat Less, Live Longer
Wisconsin State Journal :: Front :: 3A
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

“Reducing calories by 30 percent appears to slow the rate of aging in monkeys, providing new evidence that primates, such as humans, could live longer by eating less.

A National Institutes of Health study using about 200 monkeys has shown that a well-balanced diet that includes a sharp reduction in calories caused the animals to have a lower body temperature, a slower metabolism and fewer changes in biochemical markers for aging. ‘This shows that what has been demonstrated in mice also can apply in primates,' said Dr. George Roth, a scientist at the gerontology research center of the National Institute on Aging.

‘We have known for 70 years that if you feed laboratory mice less food, they age slower, they live longer and they get diseases less frequently,” he said. “We find that monkeys respond in the same way as rodents and that the same biological changes may be in play here.'

Roth is coauthor of a study to be published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Joseph Kemnitz, a researcher at the primate center at UW-Madison, said that changing the diets of monkeys in his lab has had similar effects but that the study is not yet finished.

‘The findings to date from several labs do suggest that the intervention (diet restriction) has beneficial effects on health and on reducing age-related diseases and may ultimately extend the life span for primates,' said Kemnitz..”

Health Notes
Wisconsin State Journal :: Daybreak :: 2C
Monday, July 8, 1996
William R. Wineke:

“Quality and quantity?

UW-Medical School Professor Richard Weindruch argues in the current issue of Scientific American magazine that restricting calorie intake may well help people prevent the ravages of old age, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

Weindruch, who has studied aging for two decades, was the first researcher to show that starting rodents on a controlled diet in midlife produced longer-lived, healthier animals. ‘Restricted, yet nutritious diets have convincingly retarded aging in rodents and creatures ranging from single-celled protozoans to roundworms, fruit flies and fish,' he said.”

Eat Less, Live Longer, Uw Doc Prescribes
Capital Times :: Front :: 1A
Tuesday, July 9, 1996

"According to Weindruch, laboratory mice on a low-cal diet extended their average life to 42 months from 30 months. Those mice ate roughly 50 percent fewer calories than the mice on the regular meal plan. They also ended up weighing roughly 50 percent less.

Not only did the average lifespan increase, but so did their maximum life span, Weindruch said. The mice's maximum normal lifespan is 40 months. The dieting mice lived up to 55 months.

Experiments have shown similar results on protozoans, water fleas, guppies and the bowl and doily spiders. Experiments are now under way on monkeys. The Scientific American article reports that the monkeys ``seem happy and healthy, albeit eager for their meals.”

Eat Less Of Everything, Age Researcher Advises
Wisconsin State Journal :: Local/Wisconsin :: 3B
Wednesday, July 10, 1996:

“A UW-Madison researcher believes he has found the secret to a longer life: Eat less, of everything.

Work by Dr. Richard Weindruch suggests significantly cutting calories could affect everything from how soon muscles weaken to susceptibility toAlzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases. Weindruch, associate director of the UW Institute on Aging and a geriatric researcher at the Veterans Hospital, is testing a theory on why low-calorie consumption slows aging.

Laboratory mice on a low-calorie diet extended their average lifespan from30 months to 42 months, Weindruch said. Those mice consumed about half as many calories as mice eating regular meals and ended up weighing 50 percent less.

Not only did the average lifespan increase, so did the maximum lifespan, Weindruch said. A mouse's maximum lifespan is usually 40 months. Some dieting mice lived up to 55 months.

Do You Hunger To Be 140?
Capital Times :: Front :: 1A
Saturday, November 1, 1997
By Gwen Carleton The Capital Times:

“In laboratories at the University of Wisconsin Primate Research Center andin Baltimore, Md., scientists are studying monkeys to see whether reducing the animals' caloric intake by 30 percent extends their lives and their youth.

Both experiments now are beginning a crucial stage: the middle age of the subject monkeys. Already, the researchers say, exciting differences are appearing between monkeys eating a normal “control” diet and those eating less.

‘We're observing that the animals on the control diet are becoming diabetic or pre-diabetic, whereas none of the animals in the restricted group are showing anything like that,'' said researcher Richard Weindruch, director of the UW experiment.

‘We're in the phase where we're reaching conclusions about whether they're healthier, and at this point, all the indications seem favorable.'

While it will be years before the monkey experiments are completed, therace to apply caloric restriction to human beings already has begun.”

Cutting Calories May Mean Longer Life
Wisconsin State Journal :: Local/Wisconsin :: 1B
Tuesday, June 17, 1997
Associated Press:

“Cutting calories in late middle age may delay or reduce some of the muscle problems experienced in old age, a study of aging rats suggests.

The study, released Monday, involved experiments at UW-Madison. Previous work in rats, mice, monkeys and other species found that the lifespan can be extended 20 percent or more by imposing strict calorie-restricted diets starting in childhood or young adulthood.

But that approach is considered unrealistic in humans, especially because alack of nutrition could be expected to curtail brain development in the young.

The National Institutes of Health is considering launching a large clinical trial of caloric restriction. A trial could measure such a diet's anti-aging effects for the first time in people.

‘From the standpoint of potential human application, this approach of waiting until middle age is more germane,' said Richard Weindruch of UW-Madison and the Veterans Administration's geriatric research center in Madison. He led the study with Judd M. Aiken, also of UW-Madison.”

Monkey Aging Study Filmed For Pbs Documentary
Capital Times :: Local/State :: 4A
Saturday, December 13, 1997
By Gwen Carleton The Capital Times:

“Judith Hallet Productions spent Nov. 22-24 at the center, filming for a PBS documentary on aging scheduled to air nationwide next fall. The filmmakers were in Madison to document UW research on the effects of dietary restriction on the aging process. Researchers Rick Weindruch and Joe Kemnitz are studying a group of rhesus monkeys to determine how a nutritious but extremely low-calorie diet affects them. The restricted monkeys, now entering middle age, seem immune to some diseases their peers on a normal diet are experiencing. One example that caught the eye of the filmmakers: The normal monkeys are starting to develop diabetes, while the restricted ones aren't.”

Uw-madison Geneticists Find Out Why Eating Less Slows Aging Process
Wisconsin State Journal :: Front :: 1A
Friday, August 27, 1999
Patricia Simms Health reporter:

“UW-Madison scientists have come one giant step closer to finding the fountain of youth.

A team of researchers studying mice has confirmed that eating less retards the aging process at the gene level.UW-Madison genetics Professor Tomas Prolla Thursday said the implications are enormous.

‘It has been known that calorie restriction can retard the aging process,' said Prolla, who led the Wisconsin team with Dr. Richard Weindruch,UW-Madison professor of medicine.

‘But there has not been a consensus as to how it retards aging. This provides evidence of the specific mechanism by which calorie restrictions retard aging.'…

‘It will probably speed up dramatically the rate at which people can testcompounds or treatments for aging.'”

For A Long Life, Less Could Be More
Capital Times :: Local/State :: 2A
Monday, January 24, 2000
Doug Moe:

“FOR A guy who thinks we should all eat about a third less than we do, Rick Weindruch has a lot of fun….

This past summer, in the magazine Science, Weindruch and Dr. Tomas Prolla published a study that detailed how computerized scanning of genes in mice showed that of 6,000 genes, only 100 are changed in elderly mice. Of those 100genes that do change, 80 percent were not affected in mice with restricted caloric intake. That sounds like the first whispers of actually defeating the aging process.

‘That's when I started eating less myself,' Weindruch said Sunday. (His mentor, Walford, eats only 1,800 calories a day.)

Weindruch added that whether this truly will apply to humans is yet to be seen.

To that end, UW researchers have been studying the effect of caloric intake on monkeys, but because monkeys have longer life spans than mice, it's too soon to tell. ‘We won't know about their longevity for another 10 years,' Weindruch said. ‘But so far the signs are pointing toward mimicking the results' in mice. The monkeys getting fewer calories, for instance, are not developing diabetes and have less fat in their blood.”

Uw Study Hints Eating Less = Longer Life
Capital Times :: Local/State :: 2A
Tuesday, June 27, 2000
Staff/news services:

“‘Although it is known that caloric restriction retards certain aspects of aging in the brain, the mechanism is not known,' said Weindruch, a professor of medicine. The study found that genes involved in inflammation were less active in the brains of old mice who had been fed less throughout their lives. Inflammation is associated with maladies such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and may play a role in normal changes of aging.”

Study Touts Benefits Of Eating Less Uw Research Suggests A reduced-calorie Diet Adds To Brain Health
Wisconsin State Journal :: Local/Wisconsin :: 1B
Tuesday, June 27, 2000
Elizabeth Brixey
Wisconsin State Journal:

“Last August, a team of UW-Madison researchers studying mice announced that eating less slows the aging process.

On Monday, those same researchers announced that eating less may help thehealth of the brain and ward off debilitating conditions such as Alzheime's and Parkinson's diseases. Findings of the new study -- conducted by Richard Weindruch, Tomas Prolla and Cheol-Kee Lee -- will be reported next month in the British scientific journal Nature Genetics.

Learning New Tricks With Old Mice
Wisconsin State Journal :: LOCAL/WISCONSIN :: B1
Friday, July 15, 2005
Ron Seely Wisconsin State Journal:

“Mice engineered to grow old and gray two to three times faster than normal are providing UW-Madison scientists insights into the aging process.

Research on the prematurely old mice may one day lead to genetic intervention as humans age, allowing doctors to treat some of the curses of advancing age, such as hearing loss, which was studied in the lab mice.

The research is from the laboratory of UW-Madison geneticist Tomas Prolla and appears today in the journal Science….

Prolla has received notice in the past for his work on aging and diet in mice, showing that restricting calories in mice actually slows the onset of old age. He conducted that work along with Dr. Richard Weindruch, a UW-Madison professor of medicine who is also a co-author on today's Science paper.

Weindruch pointed out Thursday that the most recent work is an example of accelerated aging, as opposed to decelerated aging as in the caloric research. But there are just as many important implications in Prolla's research, Weindruch said.”



Madison's Hidden Monkeys is a joint project of the
Alliance for Animals and the
Primate Freedom Project