Longevity may be in the genes

Living to 100 and beyond is likely more due to genes than even lifestyle. Or so says a new study published online last week in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine compared the lifestyle habits (eating, drinking and exercise) of almost 500 Ashkenazi Jews age 95 to 112 who were living on their own with over 1300 non-Hispanic whites age 65 to 74 from the general population.

The results indicated that the long lived men were less apt to be smokers, but that was not true for the women. And as far as diet and exercise, within both groups were people who were overweight, who consumed alcohol and who exercised very little.

This is a very small study to be sure, but it suggests that some people may be born with longevity genes that somehow overcome what experts consider to be less than optimal healthy lifestyles.

The rest of us should probably not give up on good habits like regular exercise or not smoking since other studies indicate that these do contribute to a longer life.  And of course, hope that a real longevity elixir like the one found in our novel “Rabbit in the Moon” becomes available soon.