Outmuscled: Muscles, not nerve cells, fail in old worms | Science News

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Outmuscled: Muscles, not nerve cells, fail in old worms

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11:53am, October 23, 2002

For a tiny worm called Caenorhabditis elegans, it's not the brain that goes in old age; it's the muscles. This millimeter-long nematode, say researchers, may provide insights on why aging people also lose muscle power.

Over the past few decades, C. elegans has earned scientific fame because its transparent body and small total number of cells have enabled scientists to document the worm's development from a fertilized egg into an adult animal. Three scientists who studied that phase of the nematode's life just won a Nobel prize (SN: 10/12/02, p. 229: Available to subscribers at Nobel prizes honor innovative approaches).

Now, another group of researchers has taken a close look at the other end of the worm's life. In the Oct. 24 Nature, Monica Driscoll of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., and her colleagues document how cells and tissues change in aging worms and report that the old worms may have much in common wi

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