A chemical agent now under development mimics the health benefits of long-term calorie restriction and may help ward off diseases of aging such as diabetes and heart disease.
Animals whose food intake is restricted to about two-thirds of what they would otherwise consume develop diabetes and heart disease later in life than do animals that eat to their hearts content, says Barbara C. Hansen of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (SN: 3/15/97, p. 162: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/3_15_97/bob1.htm). However, such severe calorie restriction isnt a likely way of preventing disease in people.
The new agent mimics a compound called peroxisome proliferator activated receptor–delta, or PPAR-delta. In the body, PPAR-delta and related compounds handle cholesterol and fat and govern cells sensitivity to insulin (SN: 4/14/01, p. 238: Fatty Findings).
To see whether the PPAR-delta mimic wards off diseases of aging, Hansen took six midd