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Study: Longevity Not Based on Lifestyle

In a brief report published online in advance in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society this week, investigators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine present the results of their retrospective study on a cohort of community-dwelling Ashkenazi Jewish individuals who lived independently to age 95 and older, in which they aimed to assess lifestyle, anthropometric, and other factors that contribute to exceptional longevity. But as the Einstein team found, members of the cohort were "not distinct in terms of lifestyle factors from the general population, suggesting that people with exceptional longevity may interact with environmental factors differently than others." A thought, the group added, that "requires further investigation." Put simply, Bloomberg's Oliver Renick says:

People who live 95 years or more are as likely as the rest of the population to smoke, drink, and eat an unhealthy diet, suggesting their survival to that ripe age is based on genetics and not lifestyle.

Study co-author Nir Barzilai tells Bloomberg that in order to live to 100, "you need genetic help." And indeed, during the course of its investigation, the team uncovered shared mutations among the individuals — including one at a gene that encodes a cholesteryl ester transfer protein — that could contribute to longevity, though the researchers note that further research is required.

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