DNA Offers Clues to Living Longer

Some people wish they could live forever, but what about simply living longer?  Scientists have started testing seniors age 100 and older for DNA samples in longer living adults.

100 centenarians are taking part in this test and “scientists think DNA from very old healthy people could offer clues to how they lived so long. And that could one day lead to medicines to help the rest of us stay disease-free longer.”  As Dr. Thomas Perls puts it, it is very hard to live to age 105 without some genetic advantages.

Of those tested in this project, there were a slew of reasons cited by the subjects as to why they have enjoyed such a long life.  Eberhardt, a 107-year-old test subject, taught and played tennis until he was 94, but credits his 70 year marriage to his wife, Marie, for his advanced healthy age.

Scientists believe the reasons for longevity might be more genetically based than originally thought, as a handful of the centenarians in this study were heavy smokers; one individual smoked for 95 years of his life and lived to the age of 110.  “She had genes that protected her against the environment,” Dr. Barzilai of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said, “one of her sisters died at 102 and one of her brothers is 105 and still manages a hedge fund.”

It is exciting that researchers are beginning to delve more into healthy longevity and why certain people live longer than others.  As Dr. Eric Topol said, “There’s been too much emphasis on disorders per se and not enough on the people who are exceptionally healthy…to learn from their genomes…now we have the powerful tools to do that.”

To read more about this study to gain insight into how we all can live longer, healthier and active lives, click here: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2011-10-26/Secrets-of-long-life-sought-in-DNA-of-the-elderly/50929962/1

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