In a remarkable study , 88, 000 chemicals were tested to see if they could extend the life span of the worm ( caenorhabditis elegans) . This worm may normally live for up to 3 weeks. Of all the drugs tested only the anti-depressant mianserin significantly extended the worms life span by almost a third.
Mianserin is a blocker of the neural signalling by the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Further studies on the mechanism show analogies with nutritional deprivation which in appropriate circumstances may also extend life span.
Petrascheck et al 2007 An antidepressant that extends lifespan in adult caenorhabditis elegans Nature vol 450, pp 553-7
- Martin Eastwood