Warm-blooded animals on calorie-restricted diets live longer—but also feel chilly. Now researchers find lowering the core body temperature alone can extend the lives of mice. Tamas Bartfai, Bruno Conti and their colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., tricked the brains of transgenic mice into thinking the ambient temperature was too hot so that they lowered their body temperature a few fractions of a degree. All the mice could then consume whatever they pleased. The cooler, transgenic mice lived about three months longer than the control mice, an extension about one third as long as that of calorie-restricted diets, according to the study that appears in the November 3 Science. Bartfai says a number of hightech firms have approached his team with an interest in developing a small, inductive device that could be put in people's brains to govern the neural region regulating body temperature.
This article was originally published with the title "Being Cool for a Longer Life" in Scientific American 296, 1, 28 (January 2007)