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Healthy Aging in a Pill

To extend life span, scientists envision a drug that mimics the benefits of a near-starvation diet

Animals live long and prosper when eating from a menu that puts them just this side of starvation. So far, experiments with yeast, worms, flies, spiders, fish and rodents all have shown the antiaging power of severely restricting calories. And research in rhesus monkeys suggests similar benefits in primates: One study found that monkeys eating 30 percent less than their cage mates appeared to be protected from age-related diseases and had lower mortality 15 to 20 years later. At this moment, human volunteers at three different U.S. sites have given up 25 percent of normal daily calories to test whether the less-food, longer-life phenomenon applies to people as well.

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