biochemistry and molecular biology
(recorded in 2001)
Bruce Ames is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and senior scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. His main interest of study is identifying mutagens that damage human DNA, the body's defenses against them, and the consequences of DNA damage for cancer and aging. Since aging and degenerative diseases that accompany it are partly caused by oxidation, his research focuses on oxidative mutagens, dietary antioxidants, oxidative defenses, and developing methods for measuring oxidation in humans with the aim of delaying the degenerative diseases of aging. Ames has received numerous honors and award for his research, and his more than 450 publications have resulted in his being among the few hundred most-cited scientists within all fields.
Listen to the Interview (requires free RealPlayer software):
Ames talks about his research on the causes and prevention of cancer, including the cellular process of aging. To have good health and ward off disease, he recommends exercise, a diet with more fruits and vegetables and fewer carbohydrates, and the appropriate use of vitamin and mineral supplements. He describes different viewpoints of the public and science community about natural and synthetic chemicals as well as genetically modified foods. (20 minutes)
Ames explains how advances in technology have led to the development of safer pesticides and lower cancer rates. The need for folic acid is as great for men as it is for women of childbearing age, he adds. He advocates clinical trials of herbal supplements to assess risks. In closing, he explains how he developed the Ames test, used worldwide by industry to identify chemicals that can cause cellular mutations. (19 minutes)
Last Updated: 07-26-2004
The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.