A new medical study emerging from the journal Cell is beginning to identify genes associated with "healthy-aging" and comparing it to genomes of those tested because of their long life-spans. The cohort is known as the "Wellderly's," a group of <80 year old males and females absent of chronic illnesses and use of chronic medications (excluding basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma). At the time of publication, a total of 1,354 individuals from 80 to 105 years old had been included in the cohort and all had undergone Whole Genome Sequencing.
Photo: Researchers have uncovered some of the secrets of healthy aging with their new gene study. Source: medicalnewstoday.com
This study is the first of it's kind because it focuses on longevity and health as opposed to longevity and disease. The purpose is to discover genes that nature has provided us that protect against age related diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and coronary heart disease. The Wellderly cohort as compared to a control group had lower risks of Alzheimer's and coronary heart disease, two major diseases linked with age-related illness and death.
So far, a variant in the COL25A1 gene has been linked to protection against Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is largely contributed to a build-up of amyloid beta plaques in the brain. This variant in the gene appears to have some protection against amyloid beta plaque build-up. It is my belief that preserved health into old-age will have a lot to do with the body's ability to withstand oxidative stress and that the genes they continue to find will protect the body against it.