16 New Genetic Links To Longevity Discovered

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Zoltán Kutalik, PhD Group Leader Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

Dr. Kutalik

Dr. Zoltán Kutalik, PhD
Group Leader
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
Assistant professor at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Why do some of us live longer than others? While the environment in which we live – including our socio-economic status or the food we eat – plays the biggest part, about 20 to 30% of the variation in human lifespan comes down to our genome. Changes in particular locations in our DNA sequence, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), could therefore hold some of the keys to our longevity. Until now, the most comprehensive studies had found only two hits in the genome.

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Cellular Reprogramming May Slow or Reverse Aging

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte PhD Professor, Roger Guillemin Chair Salk Institute of Biological Science's Gene Expression Laborator

Dr. Belmonte

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte PhD
Professor, Roger Guillemin Chair
Salk Institute of Biological Science’s Gene Expression Laboratory

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies from different laboratories including ours demonstrated that cellular reprogramming to pluripotency has the capacity to rejuvenate old cells in culture (in a dish) to a younger state. In 2011, we published a study in Nature demonstrating that cellular reprogramming could rejuvenate cells from patients suffering from Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), a premature aging syndrome. The current study started after this publication back in 2012 and the two major questions that we had were:

-Could partial, but not complete, cellular reprogramming rejuvenate cells?

-Could partial reprogramming rejuvenated cells in a living organism improving its health and lifespan?
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Genes May Explain Why Smarter People Live Longer

Dr. Rosalind Arden Centre for Philosophy of Natural & Social Science London School of Economics LondonMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Rosalind Arden
Centre for Philosophy of Natural & Social Science
London School of Economics
London

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Arden: We’ve known for a while that people who score higher on IQ-type tests tend to live longer. A study published in the British Medical Journal (Whalley & Deary, 2001) examined intelligence in childhood and later survival. People born in Scotland in 1921 took an IQ-type test at age 11 in 1932. Those with higher test scores were more likely to survive to age 76.

What we haven’t known is ‘why?’ One possibility is that advantages from being raised in a wealthier family may enhance intelligence and health – leading to brighter people living longer. Another possibility is that many genes that influence brains also influence bodies. If well-built brains co-occur with well-built bodies, that could also explain the link. These are only two of several possible explanations. We aimed to test whether genes caused the link between intelligence and life-expectancy.

We found

1) the link between intelligence and life expectancy is positive but small.

2) The cause of the link is almost all genetic.

We found this by examining differences within twin pairs. Twins offer a quasi-natural experiment because they share many features of the environment that are often thought (mistakenly) to cause differences between people. And marvelously, for science there are two kinds of twins, with known genetic relatedness (100 % or 50%). This give us a means to test questions about the cause of differences in a population, as well as the causes of correlations among traits within a population.

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