The animal study, published in PLoS One, found aging skeletal muscles experienced a decrease in the proper functioning of an enzyme -- protein kinase B -- but the pain reliever acetaminophen helped restore the enzyme to youthful levels.
"Using a model that closely mimics many of the age-associated physiological changes observed in humans, we were able to demonstrate that chronic acetaminophen treatment in a recommended dosage is not only safe but might be beneficial for the treatment of the muscle dysfunction many people experience as they get older," study leader Dr. Eric Blough of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., said in a statement.
Additional Marshall University research, published in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, suggests acetaminophen may decrease the severity of age-associated hyperglycemia -- high blood sugar, Blough said.
"Given the finding that increases in reactive oxygen species may play a role in the development of several age-associated disorders, it is possible that acetaminophen could be used to treat many different types of conditions," lead author Dr. Miaozong Wu said in a statement.
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