Aging is the major risk for diseases such as cancer, AD, type 2 Diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. We hypothesize that a progress in preventing these diseases will occur only if we can understand the reason people age at different rates, and develop strategy to delay aging. Certainly the environment plays a major role in our aging, and environmental intervention, such as caloric restriction, can delay aging significantly in many biological models. While we can measure biological changes with aging we cannot assume they are the cause. In fact the challenge is to determine which changes may be the cause/s of aging and which are protective mechanisms against the changes that occurs. One approach to understand aging is to study the oldest old people who are relatively healthy. We established such a unique cohort of individuals with exceptional longevity (~600 Ashkenazi Jews ages 95-112) and their offspring (approximate age 70 years) and age- and sex-matched controls without a family history of unusual longevity. This matched group of offspring of exceptional longevity-proband and their controls are a powerful tool for identifying genetically controlled longevity traits.
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