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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The fountain of youth may exist after all, as a study showed that scientists have discovered means to extend the lifespan of mice and primates. The key to eternal -- or at least prolonged -- youth lies in genetic manipulation that mimics the health benefits of reducing calorie intake, suggesting that aging and age-related diseases can be treated. Scientists from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London (UCL) extended the lifespan of mice by up to a fifth and reduced the number of age-related diseases affecting the animals after they genetically manipulated them to block production of the S6 Kinase 1 (S6K1) protein. Scientists have shown since the 1930s that reducing the calorie intake by 30 percent for rats, mice and -- in a more recent finding -- primates can extend their lifespan by 40 percent and have health benefits.
Lowering of the concentration of insulin and substances which are related to insulin, e.g Insulin-like growth factor 1 and Growth hormone has been shown to upregulate autophagy, the repair mechanism of the cell 
Early work in C. elegans (see Cynthia Kenyon) and more recent research in mice has suggested (see Matthias Bluher, C. Ronald Kahn, Barbara B. Kahn, et al.) that it is not only reduced calorie intake which influences longevity. This was done by studying animals which have their metabolism changed to reduce activity of the hormone insulin or downstream elements in its signal transduction, consequently retaining the leanness of animals in the earlier studies. It was observed that these animals can have a normal dietary intake, but have a similarly increased lifespan. This suggests that lifespan is increased for an organism if it can remain lean and if it can avoid any excess accumulation of adipose tissue: if this can be done while not diminishing dietary intake (as in some minority eating patterns, see e.g. Living foods diet or Joel Fuhrman) then the 'starvation diet' anticipated as an impossible requirement by earlier researchers is no longer a precondition of increased longevity.
The extent to which these findings may apply to human nutrition and longevity is as noted above under investigation. A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. in 2003 showed that practitioners of a CR diet had significantly better cardiovascular health. Also in progress are the development of CR mimetic interventions.