Nature's Weirdest Super Hero: The Naked Mole Rat
Posted: 10/18/2018 4:16 PM by
Contributed by Cynthia Mitchell RN
So, obviously as a nurse, I’m a bit of a science geek. Science is just super cool. And the current subject of my geeky fascination: THE NAKED MOLE RAT.
Yup, they are super ugly. They are long toothed, hairless, wrinkly, burrowing rodents. Ew. But they’re also fascinating. See, years of study have shown that they can live up to 30 years and survive without oxygen for 18 minutes. Some new research shows even cooler potential.
Get this: Naked Mole Rats are nearly immune to cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.
Naked Mole Rats have longevity in age, very low Vitamin D, and not a great diet. These are all things that we currently view as increased risk factors for cancer. So why, then, is their instance of cancer almost nonexistent?
Scientists continue to study different aspects of their environment, their genetic makeup, their life, gaining new knowledge that could be used for cancer prevention and delaying aging in humans!
Then, there’s this: naked mole rats have extremely high levels of amyloid-beta, the toxic protein that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease, yet they don’t develop the disease! It appears that the Alzheimer's-causing plaques found in the Naked Mole Rat's brain are "less sticky" than those found in humans, making them immune to Alzheimer's disease and the difficult symptoms that come with it.
If scientists can figure out what makes these rodents so resistant to amyloid-beta, we might be able to apply this finding to humans in the form of a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease!
So, sure, they’re ugly. Yes, they have a face only a mother could love. But these little saber-toothed sausages might just be nature’s weirdest super heroes!
Here’s a neat little short video to learn more!
Happy learning, friends!
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