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Medicine Science

Researchers Analyze DNA From 'Supercentenarians' Aged 110+ To Discover Secret To Longevity (nytimes.com) 98

biobricks writes: Scientists looking for clues to healthy longevity in people in their 90s and 100s haven't turned up a whole lot. It is thought that the DNA of the very old may be a good place to look, but people over 110 are one in five million in the United States. The New York Times chronicles one scientific quest to collect their DNA (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). From the report: "James Clement, a self-described 'citizen-scientist,' has collected blood, skin and saliva samples from individuals aged 110-plus in 14 states and seven countries during the past six years, The New York Times reports. Mr. Clement has detected 2,500-plus differences between supercentenarian DNA and the general population. However, with a sample size of only some three dozen genomes, his team is still working to determine which genes are significant. One analysis suggested supercentenarians tended to inherit fewer genetic variations related to conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. However, since supercentenarians also tend to be more healthy than the general population, some researchers hypothesize there are other genetic benefits at play. For example, supercentenarians may boast genes that protect them from aspects of aging." Mr. Clement plans to release DNA sequences from the project, called the New England Centenarian Study, this month.
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Researchers Analyze DNA From 'Supercentenarians' Aged 110+ To Discover Secret To Longevity

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  • by Templer421 ( 4988421 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @10:34PM (#55559613)

    Don't Die.

    • Sure, while "being really careful" might be a key component to living over 110 years in modern society, I suspect the real selecting factor will be revealed, decades or centuries from now when/if our society becomes mentally healthy enough to be capable of admitting it, to be just happiness.

      Stress kills.

      • Sure, while "being really careful" might be a key component to living over 110 years in modern society, I suspect the real selecting factor will be revealed, decades or centuries from now when/if our society becomes mentally healthy enough to be capable of admitting it, to be just happiness.

        Stress kills.

        So we aren't mentally healthy enough to know what you know for a fact? Mkay.

        So what is your solution? Hard to imagine removing all stress from everyone. I'm not even certain that a stress free life is all that good of an idea. That idea comes from people who believe that happiness is a state of mind that needs to be constant euphoria. Sad to say, we have some generations raised to believe that.

        So we end up with people addicted to opioids because they love that euphoric rush, we end up with so many wome

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Drink
    More
    Ovaltine

  • A Sharp Sword (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by PPH ( 736903 )

    There can be only one.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @12:06AM (#55559967) Homepage

    I suspect it is reversed to a large extent.

    That is, the super-centagarians are not healthy because of genetics, but instead it is impossible to become a supercetagarian unless you are lucky enough to be healthy.

    If for example you get infected with pneumonia and survive, it would not surprise me that it would weaken your lungs by say 4% and you end up dying at 80. If you never got the pneumonia you might have lived to 101 merely because you had 100% lung functionality.

    Being healthy makes you live longer, it is not always a sign of lack of bad mutations..

    In fact, sometimes bad genetic mutations can make you live longer.

    Good example are the dwarfs of Ecuador that have Laron Syndrome http://discovermagazine.com/20... [discovermagazine.com]. They are basically immune to cancer and diabetes, but suffer convulsive disorders (and also are short).

    • I'm confused by the article, because I'm pretty sure that it's been known for more than a decade that 90%+ of all supercentarians have elevated (above normal) HDL. That's not merely "healthy," that's a specific blood profile variant.

  • by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @12:24AM (#55560029)

    I'm entirely certain genetics help but anyone living past 100 is quite likely living off of dumb luck.

    The universe is a chaotic place after all.

  • OK, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @12:28AM (#55560049)

    I think this is an interesting avenue of study but when I read:

    James Clement, a self-described 'citizen-scientist,'

    I get wary to the point of being totally turned off. Pretty soon I would expect to start getting banner ads for some new "miracle supplement" or something like that after after reading it. It wouldn't be bad to be wrong about this but the track record...

    Even Universities and well-funded corporation get huckster scientists. The guy doing it alone by definition doesn't have the institutional filters in place to keep pipe dreams and wishful thinking at bay.

    • Distrust the people! Comrades, we must place our trust in universities and institutions that we know don't have our best interests at heart. Don't believe anyone but credentialed experts! Report all suspicious citizens to the authorities. War is peace, slavery is freedom. Don't forget hate week starts next Wednesday.
      • Don't forget hate week starts next Wednesday.

        And the profit motive is here today. And was here yesterday. And every day from here forward.

        I can see that my reference to "institutional filters" went right over your head didn't it.

  • If it isn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @12:42AM (#55560095)

    Cuban cigars and 16+ year old single malt, I don't wanna live tp be that old...

  • And environment too.
    Genetics is just a face of the coin.

  • Genetics + Luck (Score:5, Informative)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @04:52AM (#55560841) Homepage

    There will certainly be genetic factors. To the comments about longevity being luck, of course that plays a role. Want to live to 100, don't get hit by a train, duh. Lot of illness is driven by luck. If you have a gene that makes you prone to cancer, that's no guarantee that you will get cancer. However, the fact remains that your chances of longevity are a lot better without that gene.

    There have been some experiments with simpler life forms (fruit flies, iirc), where - in surprisingly few generations - they were able to triple the average lifespan through planned breeding. The selection criteria was simply to breed the critters as late as possible in their lives. In any case, the results are pretty clear proof that genetics play a decisive role in longevity.

    Who has read Heinlein's novel Methusalah's Children [wikipedia.org]? The premise of the book was that someone had created a legacy - a couple of centuries ago - to encourage certain people to marry and have children (selected, iirc, by their grandparents' longevity). Based on what we know today, this would be entirely possible and reasonable. Equally possible and reasonable was the inevitable resentment felt by the rest of the human race, towards people who lived for hundreds of years. No one wants their neighbor to be smarter, richer or healthier than they, themselves are - humans rejoice in Schadenfreude, but we don't even have a word for the reverse.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stay thin. I see a lot more pictures of old healthy thin people than of old healthy fat people.

  • My father in law is in his 90s and all he does is sit around and watch Judge Judy. If you find a way to extend your 30s maybe sign me up.
  • I am related to one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:47AM (#55561017)

    I am related to Henny van Andel-Schipper [wikipedia.org]
    When she was born, the doctors told her she would not be older than 6 weeks and her mother should forget about her. She was held warm by her grand mother. She lived at home till in her 40-ies and ran away from home then with a man that was divorced.
    As a kid she was often sick. When she became older (80), she decided to give her body to the local University, so not to bother family and/or friends with a funeral.
    When she became older than 100, there was a change in interest. It was not anymore about just another body for autopsy lessons. It became serious. She was looked at on a regular basis and when she died at the age of 115, there was a process to replace her blood as soon as possible.

    Not only did they discover that their was no trace of Alzheimer anywhere, they found some other stuff about aging as well.

    She was also the reason why they started a centenarian process in The Netherlands to as more people who are older than 100 to donate their bodies.

    Her real answer on getting old where : keep breathing and don't die. Somebody has to be the oldest and this time it is me. As if she was saying that correlation was not the same as causation.

    I have read a bit about real old people and what is evident is that all are positive minded.

    So think about donating your body to science or, to put it in a way you would better understand: Open Source your remains. Because why not?

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      "Open Source your remains"

      Eek. Can I at least GPL them? But then, I hear that licence is cancerous...

  • They should analyze the Millenials. 1000 is greater than 100.
  • That's why no one survives. ~ QotSA

  • Its Google rolling out a "23 and Me" option to tell you about your telomeres and that its getting shorter each year.
  • Jeanne Calment lived to be 122... outlived her husband, Daughter and Grandson .. her Daughter and Grandson died at 36

    She was almost never ill, was active her entire life, smoked but only one or two cigarettes a day, and had a healthy diet

    No-one else in her family was long lived

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