Determinants of Successful Aging: Developing an Integrated Research Agenda for the 21st Century
2 September 2003

Understanding the Determinants of Exceptional Longevity

Publication: Annals of Internal Medicine
Volume 139, Number 5_Part_2

Abstract

Centenarians represent an extreme of life expectancy. They achieve their exceptional longevity in part by lacking genetic variations linked to premature death. Pedigree studies have shown a substantial familial component in the ability to survive to extreme old age, and a recent study demonstrated a locus on chromosome 4 linked to exceptional longevity, indicating the likely existence of at least one longevity-enabling gene in humans. The children of centenarians have markedly reduced relative risks for age-related diseases, particularly heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, and are a promising model for genetic and phenotypic studies of 1) aging slowly relative to the general population and 2) the delay of and perhaps escape from important age-related diseases. These studies and those of other mammals and lower organisms show great promise for the delineation of important environmental and genetic determinants of aging well.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Annals of Internal Medicine
Annals of Internal Medicine
Volume 139Number 5_Part_22 September 2003
Pages: 445 - 449

History

Published online: 2 September 2003
Published in issue: 2 September 2003

Keywords

Authors

Affiliations

Thomas Perls, MD, MPH
From Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Dellara Terry, MD, MPH
From Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank the American Association of Retired Persons for assistance with participant recruitment and dissemination of findings, and the centenarians and their family members who participate in the New England Centenarian Study.
Grant Support: By the American Federation of Aging Research's and Alliance for Aging Research's Paul Beeson Faculty Scholar in Aging Research Award, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Aging, the Alzheimer's Association, and the National Institute on Aging (grant RO1 AG18721).
Disclosures: None disclosed.
Corresponding Author: Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, 88 East Newton Street, Boston, MA 02118; e-mail, [email protected].
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Perls and Terry: Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, 88 East Newton Street, Boston, MA 02118.

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Thomas Perls, Dellara Terry. Understanding the Determinants of Exceptional Longevity. Ann Intern Med.2003;139:445-449. [Epub 2 September 2003]. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-5_Part_2-200309021-00013

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