A Popular Science Article on Centenarian Studies

At the Wall Street Journal: "At his lab in the Bronx, geneticist Nir Barzilai has spent more than a decade trying to unlock the biology of aging. His secret weapon: some of the New York area's oldest Jews. One of his major studies analyzes the genetic make-up and life habits of the oldest of the old: 500 physically and cognitively healthy individuals living well past the century mark. ... Research that began with some of the oldest New Yorkers is now set to spread throughout the U.S. Barzilai's work is the template for a ambitious national study to create a full sequencing of the genomes of 100 ethnically and geographically diverse centenarians. ... Barzilai's work seeks to improve the quality of life for the elderly. His research has found, to his surprise, that the 100-plus crowd has less than sterling health habits. As a group, they were more obese, more sedentary and exercised less than other, younger cohorts. ... Biologically speaking, what has allowed the centenarians in his study to live so long, even with life habits that often lead to disease and death in others? ... Barzilai and his team at Einstein's Institute for Aging Research have so far discovered three uncommon genotype similarities among the centenarians: one gene that causes HDL, good cholesterol, to be at levels two- to three-fold higher than average; another gene that results in a mildly underactive thyroid, which slows metabolism; and a functional mutation in the human growth hormone axis that may be a safeguard from age-related diseases, like cancer. He suspects there may be additional genotypes that scientists have yet to locate."

Link: http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/07/13/in-the-science-of-aging-oldest-new-yorkers-hold-the-key/


This scientist's is featured in a video called Don't Grow Old, from the BBC show Horizon: youtube "BBC - NÃO ENVELHEÇA" (English, with Portugese subtitles), and he is featured toward the end of part 4.

Posted by: Mike McC at July 14th, 2011 1:38 PM
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