While the elixir of life remains a fantastical concept, scientists have discovered something pretty darn incredible. A protein known to increase lifespan has now been found to have amazing effects on memory, learning, and human cognitive function.
This protein, called Klotho, has long been known to increase the lifespan of mice, and its variant gene is known to promote longevity in humans. So it’s no secret that Klotho is a powerful protein.
But what scientists didn’t know was whether or not Klotho could prevent cognitive dysfunction.
In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers analyzed data from three different groups of people and found something shocking: subjects with higher levels of Klotho performed better on a wide variety of cognitive tests no matter how old they were (even the youngest members of the study were positively affected by it), leading researchers to conclude that Klotho didn’t just have implications for longevity. It was making people smarter no matter how old they were.
Armed with this new insight, researchers set out to test their findings on mice, by giving them Klotho. Indeed, mice with elevated levels of Klotho confirmed the scientists' theory: the Klotho-drunk mice outperformed their counterparts across the board. They were smarter in every way.
The implications of these findings extend far beyond making super-smart mice. Klotho, or biological factors like it, may prove to be the key in combating devastating diseases like Alzheimer's, arming researchers with a naturally occurring compound known to positively affect our brains and our cognition.
Let's hear it for Klotho!