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New insight into human muscle

    This is Science Today. New insight into how old muscle tissue can repair and restore itself may lead to new targets for staving off the debilitating muscle atrophy that accompanies aging. Irina Conboy, a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley, turned back the clock on old human muscle by manipulating biochemical pathways that grow dormant when we age.

Conboy:    If you figure out how does it happen, from a molecular standpoint and unleash their potential, what we show is that they're absolutely capable — in fact, they did build very, very young looking muscle, even though the cells came from people who are 70 years old. But the tissue they produced was almost indistinguishable from the tissue in the 20-year old person.

Narrator:    Muscle wasting also occurs with certain diseases, too, including diabetes.

Conboy:    So, you could envision a major supplement that will allow them to have better quality of life. There is additionally many neurodegenerative disorders when also people lose their muscle mass, which would be hopefully, positively influenced by this treatment.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.