Biosingularity

Longevity gene keeps mind sharp

Posted on: December 26, 2006

A gene variation that helps people live to a ripe old age also appears to preserve memory and thinking power, US work suggests. The “longevity” gene alters the size of fatty cholesterol particles in the blood, making them bigger than normal.

This stops them causing the fatty build up in blood vessels that is linked with brain impairment, and deadly strokes and heart attacks, Neurology reports.

Led by Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Einstein, the researchers examined 158 people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent who were 95 or older. Compared with elderly subjects lacking the gene variant, those who possessed it were twice as likely to have good brain function based on a standard test of cognitive function.

Later the researchers validated their findings independently in a younger group of 124 Ashkenazi Jews between the ages of 75 and 85 who were enrolled in the Einstein Aging Study led by Dr. Richard Lipton. Within this group, those who did not develop dementia at follow up were five times more likely to have the favorable genotype than those who developed dementia.

Dr. Barzilai and his colleagues had previously shown that this gene variant helps people live exceptionally long lives and apparently can be passed from one generation to the next. Known as CETP VV, the gene variant alters the Cholesterol Ester Protein. This protein affects the size of “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol, which are packaged into lipoprotein particles. Centenarians were three times likelier to possess CETP VV compared with a control group representative of the general population and also had significantly larger HDL and LDL lipoproteins than people in the control group.

Researchers believe that larger cholesterol particles are less likely to lodge themselves in blood vessels. So people with the CETP VV gene (and the larger cholesterol particles they produce) run a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, which may explain their unusual longevity.

The findings of this new study suggest that CETP VV also protects the cognitive integrity of the brain–either through the same vascular “anti-clogging” benefit that prevents heart attacks and strokes or through an independent protective mechanism that remains to be found.

“Without good brain function, living to age 100 is not an attractive proposition,” says Dr. Barzilai. “We’ve shown that the same gene variant that helps people live to exceptional ages has the added benefit of helping them think clearly for most of their long lives. It’s possible that CETP VV’s cognitive effect is to protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In studying these centenarians, we hope to learn why they’re able to resist diseases that affect the general population at a much younger age. This knowledge should greatly aid our efforts to prevent or delay the onset of age-related diseases.”

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

About these ads

2 Responses to "Longevity gene keeps mind sharp"

[...] Read more… Hello world! – December 27th, 2006About – December 27th, 2006Brain Fitness Industry – December 27th, 2006Best HGH Anti Aging Products – December 27th, 2006Anti Aging Fitness – December 27th, 2006 Sponsored Links Related Reading [...]

Fascinating. I think I may have that gene – most of the people in my family have made it to the nineties or close and none have had dementia of any sort. Great blog btw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 936 other followers

Follow me on Twitter

Medical Professional Database Award

 Doctor

Visitors Now

who's online

Blog Stats

  • 1,407,562 hits

Categories

Top Rated

Flickr Photos

Feeling autumnal evening winds

@ ungherese

Winter Solitude

Soar

Cosmos/波斯菊/コスモス(秋桜)

City at Night

Disappearing Foggy sunrise

Today's sunrise

Route de la Bonette V

aurora borealis 7667

More Photos

Maps

Networked blogs

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 936 other followers

%d bloggers like this: