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If your relatives live long, you might, too

Created date

April 24th, 2015
longevity cake
longevity cake

Researchers from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) recently found that several diseases are less prevalent in families of people who live a long time. These findings were published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A.

The scientists compared siblings in long-lived (over age 90) families to controls of the same age in the general population. They found that seven medical conditions were less common in the long-life group including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart failure, prostate cancer, chronic kidney disease, depression, and hip fractures. They also found that some of these diseases—Alzheimer’s, heart failure, and diabetes—were less prevalent in the long-livers’ spouses, children, and children’s spouses—which points to a significant environmental, rather than genetic, component to longevity.

The health problems plaguing the long-life group included arthritis, osteoporosis, cataracts, and glaucoma.

The LLFS is an international collaborative study that began in 2004 and is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The researchers say that their preliminary results show that both genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to longevity. The study is ongoing.