Centenarians possess genes for a ripe age

August 4th, 2011 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 4 (IANS) The secret behind why some people live for 100 years may lie in their genes and not in a healthy lifestyle, a research says.

“Centenarians may possess additional longevity genes that help to buffer them against the harmful effects of an unhealthy lifestyle,” said Nir Barzilai, professor of aging research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who led the study.

These findings suggest that “nature” (longevity genes) may be more important than “nurture” (lifestyle behaviours) when it comes to living an exceptionally long life.

Barzilai and his team interviewed 477 Ashkenazi Jews who were living independently and were 95 years old and older (75 percent of them women). They were enrolled in Einstein’s Longevity Genes Project, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports.

Researchers used data from 3,164 people who were born around the same time as the centenarians and were examined between 1971 and 1975 while participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that people with exceptional longevity did not have any healthier habits than the comparison group in terms of smoking, physical activity or diet, according to an Einstein statement.

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