Longer Lived Parents: Cancer and Overall Mortality Protective Associations

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with
David Melzer, MBBCH, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health
Medical School – University of Exeter, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW
United Kingdom.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Melzer: Both parents long lived had significantly lower overall mortality and lower incidence of most major diseases of aging, compared to those with intermediate or short lived parents.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Melzer: There were two unexpected findings.

Firstly, we showed, robustly for the first time, that having longer lived parents is associated with lower cancer incidence. Our analysis included 938 new cases of cancer during the follow-up, and the estimates survived adjustment for many conventional risk factors.

Secondly, we found that having a partner with long-lived parents had no effect on risks. This suggests that any socio-economic or behavioral factors during their shared adult life are not involved in the effect, which may therefore be more biologically mediated.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Melzer: Asking questions on the age at death of parents may help in family history taking, but more work is needed on this.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Melzer:  We plan to look for genetic variants associated with this effect, which might give clues to the biological pathways involved in helping protect the offspring of long lived parents from early onset of age related diseases.


Longer Lived Parents: Protective Associations With Cancer Incidence and Overall Mortality

Dutta A, Henley W, Robine JM, Langa KM, Wallace RB, Melzer D.

MBBCH, Medical School, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK
Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 May 16. [Epub ahead of print]


Last Updated on May 30, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD