ISLAMABAD (Online) - There is probably no easy way to combat ageing. Diets and creams claiming their antioxidant properties could cheat ageing may be worthless, a study says. Using Nematode worms, scientists found even those given enhanced antioxidant powers to deal with tissue damaging free radicals did not live longer. The team from University College London said, in the Genes and Development journal, there was no clear evidence they could slow ageing. Antioxidants are a staple of the beauty and health industries. This has been based on a 50-year-old theory. The free radical theory has filled a knowledge vacuum for over 50 years now, but it doesnt stand up to the evidence In 1956, it was suggested that ageing was caused by a build-up of molecular damage caused by reactive forms of oxygen, called super oxides or free radicals, circulating in the body. This is known as oxidative stress. Antioxidants supposedly worked to mop up these free radicals, minimising their damage. This weeks study, however, could explain why many studies aimed at proving the theory have been inconclusive. The tiny Nematode worm, despite appearing to be far-removed from the human species, is a useful tool for scientists who want to explore how our bodies work. They share many genes with humans, and, crucially, have a lifespan measured in days, which allows scientists to get clues about long-term changes. The UCL team, led by Dr David Gems, genetically manipulated nematodes so that their bodies were able to mop up surplus free radicals. This is theory, should give them an advantage over normal nematodes in terms of ageing and lifespan. However, these worms lived just as long as the others, suggesting that oxidative stress is less of a factor in the ageing of our cells and tissues as some have suggested. Dr Gems said: The fact is that we dont understand much about the fundamental mechanisms of ageing - the free radical theory has filled a knowledge vacuum for over 50 years now, but it doesnt stand up to the evidence. It is clear that if super oxide is involved, it plays only a small part in the story - oxidative damage is clearly not a universal, major driver of the ageing process. He said a healthy, balanced diet was important for reducing the risk of many old age diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis, but there was no clear evidence that eating antioxidants could slow or prevent ageing, and even less evidence to support the claims made by antioxidant pills and creams. The research was supported by the Welcome Trust, and Dr Alan Schafer, its head of molecular and physiological sciences, said: Research such as this points to how much we have to learn about ageing, and the importance of understanding the mechanisms behind this process. Transfusing anemic cancer patients boosts clot risk Blood transfusions to treat anemia in cancer patients increases the risk of potentially lethal blood clots, say University of Rochester, NY, researchers. But this risk is no greater than other treatments for cancer treatment-related anemia, the scientists said, after having analysed data on more than 70,500 cancer patients who received transfusions at 60 medical centres from 1995 to 2003. Of those patients, 7.2 percent developed venous thromboembolism (VTE), and 5.2 percent developed arterial thromboembolism (ATE), compared with rates of 3.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, among patients who didnt receive transfusions.