Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Longevity Gene Keeps Minds Sharp

I'm back from my holiday travels and ready to start blogging again, and my first item of news almost got lost in the shuffle of the holidays.

Researchers at Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City have discovered that, out of all the genes that can allow a person to reach the age of 100, only one is linked to greater mental acuity.

The gene, known as CETP VV, lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. This is believed to be because, in patients with the CETP VV gene, the molecules of LDL and HDL cholesterols are larger than in patients without the gene. Larger molecules are believed to be less likely to clot.
BR> Centenarians are three times more likely to have the CETP VV variant than the general population. Those who did not develop dementia were five times more likely to have the favorable gene variant than those who did.

While this doesn't immediately do much for people who don't have this gene, these findings may allow researchers to create medicines that mimic the function of the proteins produced by this gene, allowing all of us to have a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia.

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