Klotho: Is prescribing a drug to supercharge the brain a good idea?

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One of the most intriguing molecules out there is called Klotho. Identified in 1997, it’s named for the Fate of ancient Greek mythology who spun the thread the life. Mice that have a severely limited amount of Klotho in their body age rapidly and die prematurely. On the other hand, mice that carry more Klotho than normal live longer lives and appear to be resistant in some ways to aging.

Last April, an article appeared in the New York Times, titled “One Day There May Be a Drug to Turbocharge the Brain. Who Should Get it?” Massive contributor and neuroscientist Yewande Pearse and editor Dan Samorodnitsky [discussed] Klotho — what it is, what it does, and whether prescribing a drug to supercharge the brain is a good idea.

[Yewande Pearse:] I think we should be very careful about altering something that does indeed have so many actions and effects. Once Klotho is secreted, it enters the blood stream and goes everywhere, but by taking Klotho orally, I am not sure how can we ensure Klotho is going to the right places in the right quantities in a way that is effective and safe.

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As a neuroscience researcher, my priority is safety and the ethics around that. If we can ensure that taking “extra” Klotho is safe and effective then, I don’t think we should be worried [about the ethics of taking it].

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