A variant gene has been identified by researchers that help those who have it, to live really long. Strangely this gene seems to confer a preserving effect upon the mental faculties also. This new research work was presented by scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. December 26, 2006 issue of Neurology published their findings.
Dr. Nir Barzilai, the lead researcher is the director of the Institute for Aging Research at Einstein. He along with his colleagues examined 158 people from a people group called Ashkenazi of Jewish descent from Eastern Europe. These people were all nonagenarians all of whom were above the age of 95. When contrasted with people who lacked the special variant gene they possessed, they had a strikingly better memory and greater concentration .This was assessed using standard cognitive function tests.
Later a younger group comprising of 124 Ashkenazi Jews who were between the ages of 75 and 85 took part in studies at the Einstein Aging Study for a research led by Dr. Richard Lipton. This research validated the findings of the previous study. Those from this group who did not develop cognitive disorders were 5 times more likely to have this variant gene in them, showed the researchers.
This variant gene seems to change the size of cholesterol particles in the blood, enhancing their size. This stops these molecules from building up in the blood vessels thus preventing major chronic illnesses. It seems to ensures a good blood supply to the brain. This gene may also protect those who have it from the deadly Alzheimer's disease.
Living to 100 can be a painful proposition if one is not mentally agile, points out the researchers. This study has helped the researchers to gauge how important are the genetic aspects are that helps to decrease the risk of disease in those who live to see a complete century or more. One out of ten thousand people live to 100 years.
Scientists are now channelising their efforts to develop a drug that may act like this variant gene CETP VV.