Anti aging

Oldest Mapped Genome Living to 150 Years Old

Van Andel-Schipper really beat the odds.  Born prematurely in 1890 and weighing only 3.5 pounds, she lived to be one of the 20 oldest people recorded.  Given the time she was born, it’s a (freaking) miracle she survived. Reports say that this was due to 4 solid weeks of care by her grandmother.  She died in 2004 and was thought at the time to be the oldest living person in the world but it turned out there was another woman in Ecuador that was several months older who lived to be 116.

However, beyond her longevity, there are other things that are remarkable about Andel-Schipper.  Lucky for us, she decided at the young age of 88 to donate her body to science.  When she made further contact with the University of Groningen about that at 111 as she was worried no one would want her body, the fun began.  In testing conducted when she was 112 and 113, it was determined she was more mentally acute than someone at ages 60 – 75.

After her death, her brain was studied and provided some surprising revelations to researchers.  Mainly, she showed absolutely no sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.  None!  Before her, scientists thought there was no way there wouldn’t be some signs in someone over 100.  Furthermore, she showed no signs of arterial plaque buildup.

It appears that Ms. Van Andel-Schipper was the beneficiary of a unique set of genes.  These not only help to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, they also help prevent circulatory diseases.  Furthermore, it is believed that her genes helped her fight off breast cancer at 100.  That was one strong lady considering she started life as a preemie.

What is so wonderful now for the rest of us is that her complete genome has been mapped.  It’s just the start but it may well prove to hold the key to what is needed to fight aging and give us the keys to increased longevity.  Her genome is the oldest person’s ever to be mapped.

Study is just beginning on her genes now that her blueprint has been mapped.  How fascinating to know what secrets it will reveal to scientists and what hope it may give us or our children and grandchildren.

Live to Be 150

Following on the heels of the above news, an article in the online version of The Sydney Morning Herald addressed the news coming out of the University of NSW that we might start to see new drugs in the next 5 – 10 years that will allow people to live to be 150.  In fact Dean Peter Smith of the university said with all the present advances and lifestyle knowledge, a child born today could well expect to live to 100 as is even without any new drugs.

This is bringing up the question of what do you do with a population that lives so long?  To answer this, the article brings in a look forward from Baroness Susan Greenfield who is an neuroscientist at Oxford University.  She foresees people starting new careers at 65.  I have news for her.  Some already do start new careers when they retire from their first career.

Of course, all sorts of medical problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s and cancers will have to be addressed for this longer life span to be one of health and vitality.  That is where the research such as discussed in the section above and studies into such things as resveratrol and sirtuins and so on will provide the help we will need.

What changes will such a life span make to our world societal structures?  Well, only time will tell.

New Record for Marathon – 100 Year Old Runner

In the it’s-never-too-late news, Fauja Singh became the record holder as the oldest marathoner when he ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on yesterday, 16 October 2011.  He beat a record held by Dimitrion Yordanidis since 1976 for running a marathon at age 98.

Why the “it’s never too late” angle?  Singh took up running marathons at age 89.  He runs or walks 6 miles daily.  Furthermore, it appears he practices calorie restriction living on ginger tea and curry both of which contain anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.  Well, I like tea so adding some ginger tea daily sure won’t hurt my schedule.

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