Last month, researchers reported that cutting calories didn’t extend life in primates—but 3 years earlier, another study seemed to show the opposite. The findings underscore confusion about how calorie restriction affects the body and whether it can be counted on to slow aging. Why did the two long-running studies get different results? What do we really know about this closely studied—and heavily hyped—life extender?
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Ricki J. Colman
Ricki J. Colman is the senior scientist at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In addition to her role as an independent scientist, Dr. Colman is also the core leader of the aging and metabolism unit at WNPRC, is an adviser to the behavioral management unit at WNPRC, and is the leader of the aged monkey resource at WNPRC.
Julie Mattison is a staff scientist/facility head of the primate aging studies program at the National Institute on Aging, Intramural Research Program. She is studying the effect of calorie restriction and calorie restriction mimetics on aging processes, health span, and life span.
Jennifer Couzin-Frankel has been a staff writer for Science since 2002, covering an eclectic mix of stories in biomedical and clinical research, scientific misconduct, and ethics.