The Italian Almanac

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Italian Science - February 9

Red wine can make you live longer and feel better while you're at it, a new Italian study indicates. A chemical in the wine slows ageing and wards off two things the elderly often gripe about, feeling weaker and slower on the uptake, the scientists said.

The researchers gave the wine molecule, an anti-oxidant called resveratrol, to the killifish - a tropical fish whose short life span makes it ideal for ageing studies. The molecule produced a 30% lifespan boost and slowed the appearance of the two typical bugbears, a slackening of muscles and a slowdown in learning abilities.

The Italian study, set for publication in the US journal Current Biology, would seem to corroborate Harvard research on the effects of resveratrol on worms, fruit flies and monkeys.

Before gaining its claim to fame as an anti-ageing agent, resveratrol has also been touted as promoting good health by preventing a battery of ailments including heart disease, influenza and Alzheimer's Disease.