Melatonin update

Chris Patil cpatil at itsa.ucsf.edu
Tue Feb 6 12:47:56 EST 1996


There is a thoughtful and thorough review about the effects of melatonin 
in a recent issue of Cell -- I believe it was published either in late 
December or early January. The author is David Weaver. 

It's not good news. Weaver, one of the pre-eminent researchers of
melatonin biochemistry, points out serious flaws in the studies of
Pierpaoli and co-workers. For example, the mouse used in the pineal
transplant studies were of a strain which is defective in melatonin
production -- so any life extension seen in those studies could not have
been due to melatonin.  Additionally, the drinking-water supplementation
experiment only observed life extension in one mouse strain; in another,
increased mortality due to reproductive tract cancer was observed in the
experimental group. 

With all the hype on melatonin in the media, I think it's important to 
know where the facts stand. The review is short, well-argued, and 
accessible to the lay person. I recommend reading it.





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