UNF professor researching how reducing diet can slow aging

By: Katie McKee, Action News Jax

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A professor at the University of North Florida just received a grant for more than $400,000 to continue research about how reducing diet can slow aging in simple animals.

Dr. John Hatle studies the Biology of Aging and for the last decade, he has been researching this.

After three years of waiting he has now received a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

"People tend to think that lifespan, it's sort of set in each individual animal and they will live a certain amount of time and that it cant be changed, but there are lots of treatments that can change the amount that an animal lives," Hatle said.

Hatle is using grasshoppers for his biomedical research, and said it is easy to track nutrients in grasshoppers.


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"In lots of animals, when you cut the diet and cut it a lot, like one-third they live longer," said Hatle.

Hatle said grasshoppers normally eat a variety of knee high plants, and in the lab he feeds them romaine lettuce.

"The ones that we are trying to extend their lives, we feed one-third of what they prefer to eat," says Hatle.

He said there is already some understanding of how less diet impacts aging, but it's not completely understood, which is why he is doing this research. 

his hopes his research in many years to come will translate to people.

"Really the goal of the field is to increase the number of healthy years, and the major killers of our society are cancer, heart disease, stroke. The major risk factor for all of those, advanced age," Hatle said.

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