Slower Brain Aging in Children of Long-Lived Parents

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that variations in human longevity are to some degree inherited, though there is also a great deal of room to argue over which mechanisms might be involved. Here is another research result to add to existing data on this subject:

Offspring of long-lived individuals have lower risk for dementia. We examined the relation between parental longevity and cognition and subclinical markers of brain ageing in community-dwelling adult offspring. Offspring participants with both parents in the Framingham Heart Study, aged ≥55 years and dementia-free underwent baseline and repeat neuropsychological (NP) testing and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Parental longevity was defined as having at least one parent survive to age ≥85 years.

Of 728 offspring (mean age 66 years, 54% women), 407 (56%) had ≥1 parent achieve longevity. In cross-sectional analysis, parental longevity was associated with better scores on attention and a lower odds of extensive white matter hyperintensity on brain MRI. The association with white matter hyperintensity was no longer significant in models adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and disease.

In longitudinal analysis (6.7 ± 1.7 years later), offspring with parental longevity had slower decline in attention, executive function and visual memory, and less increase in temporal horn volume. The associations persisted in fully adjusted models.


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