Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2001;49.
Good Cholesterol May Help Explain Why Some Live to 100
While diet and exercise are key to most people's health, there have always
been those lucky few who can do whatever they want and still live to 100.
Now genetics research is showing why. A new study suggests that
centenarians retain a naturally heart-healthy cholesterol level throughout
their lives--and they pass the gift on to their children.
In general, high blood levels of HDL (''good'') cholesterol are believed
to protect the heart from disease. ``But no one has shown it's important to
longevity,'' Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine,
Bronx, New York, told Reuters Health.
Now Barzilai's study of 27 centenarians and their elderly children
suggests that these long-lived individuals have a genetic mutation that
keeps their HDL levels high, regardless of fatty diets, inactivity and
``They're really protected no matter what they do,'' said
Barzilai--although, he noted, most had remained thin throughout life.
He and his colleagues report their findings in the January 12th issue of
the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study also revealed a difference between the sexes: In order to live
to a ripe old age, men may need high HDL levels and low levels of LDL
(''bad'') cholesterol. Women, on the other hand, just need to have high
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