Public Health

Morning Rounds: Live Long And Prosper (Or At Least Pick Up $2,500 From Uncle Sam)

Yo, independent film makers and wannabes: Need a little extra cash? Federal health officials are announcing a flu ad contest this morning for you creative-types.

More on that in a minute, but first: Anti-aging researchers say cutting way back on calories may not be the only way to lengthen life. In a new mouse study, an antibiotic that suppresses the immune system seemed to stretch the lifespan, too. "Elderly" female mice fed the drug lived 14 percent longer than normal; male mice lived nine percent longer.

According to Technology Review,

While the drug was not as effective as a limited diet initiated early in life, it was far more powerful than a limited diet begun at the same advanced age.

The antibiotic used — rapamycin — has nasty side-effects, so don't even think of trying this at home. And a 60 year-old-human isn't exactly like a 20-month-old mouse, though both are considered elderly by 35-year-old scientists.

Still, outside researchers say the results suggest a promising new metabolic target for anti-aging research.

Now, more on the contest: The Obama folks in charge of preparing the U.S. for a flu pandemic are apparently tired of plain vanilla public service announcements, and are reaching beyond the marketing pros for something a little edgier (and cheaper).

(details on what they're looking for after the jump)

Okay, so they didn't say edgy. They said "make your (0:15 or 0:30 or 60-second) video fun, smart, and entertaining." Oh, and you have to close with "a visual mention" of www.flu.gov. Not scintillating material, but work with it.

All submissions will be judged according to "appropriateness to theme (50 percent), creativity (30 percent), and entertainment value (20 percent)," with the top ten contenders then submitted American-Idol style to YouTube viewers for a vote.

Winner gets $2,500 and glory.
You have about a month. Starting.....now.

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