The Checkup: You Could Live 20 Years Longer, Thanks to New Brain Research

Scientists have identified the region of the brain that controls aging—and they may have figured out how to turn it off.

• All the anti-aging creams in the world have nothing on new research, published this month in the journal Nature, which shows that it might one day be possible to extend human life by 20 years and stave off the body’s physical signs of aging (i.e. wrinkled skin, brittle bones, even dementia). The study used lab mice to figure out which brain region is responsible for aging (the hypothalamus), and within that region, which chemical prompts and speeds up the aging process (something called NF-kB). Researchers hypothesized that if they could block the chemical, they might be able to thwart the aging process—and that’s exactly what happened. The lab mice that received the NFKB inhibitor lived 20 percent longer than the controls (the equivalent of about two extra decades in human years) and their bodies maintained their youth, too, with muscle tone, bone density and skin remaining unchanged. “If the research translates to humans (a big if), scientists think the elderly among us should go first, particularly patients with brain-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s,” reports Mashable. Watch a video about the research here.

• Speaking of your brain, another new study looked at how human brains understand and interpret laughter—specifically, how we parse out laughter prompted by scenarios involving tickling, joy and taunting (really). TIME has more.

• Ick! Researchers found five different kinds of fungus on cartons of Capri Sun juice. Listen to this: “The study was prompted when people complained about finding bits of what looked like mold (ew!) in the juice. They were actually mats of fungus.” More here.