The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis $68 million to investigate and discover what contributes to extreme longevity. By studying hundreds of families with exceptionally long lives these researchers will gain insight into the genetic factors that contribute to such a blessed condition.
The Long Life Family Study
Funded by the NIH, this study was designed for researchers to identify the genetic factors that contribute to exceptional longevity. Such information could lead to new therapeutics or health innovations to help individuals live longer, healthier lives.
Study Organization and Participants
Washington University School of Medicine represents the coordinating center for this undertaking which includes field centers at the following:
· Boston University
· Columbia University
· University of Pittsburgh
· University of Southern Denmark
The study includes almost 5,000 individuals from three generations of 539 families across the United States and Denmark, first recruited from 2006 through 2009. The average age of representatives of the oldest generation in the study was 90 at that time, with some individuals exceeding 110. Those in the second generation of these families now average over 70 years of age, and the grandchildren of the oldest group are now in their 50s, on average. Studying multiple generations of families with histories of long lives presents the opportunity to study individuals who have a greater chance of reaching older ages. In particular, it provides the ability to study such individuals when they are younger and not yet obviously different from those with shorter life spans.
Michael A. Province, PhD, genetics professor
Mary K. Wojczynski, PhD, assistant professor of genetics
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Category: Aging, Genetics, Longevity