Einstein launches SuperAgers.com to spotlight aging research

November 1, 2010 — (BRONX, NY) — Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has launched SuperAgers.com, a new website that features the latest information on more than a decade of aging research at Einstein.

The SuperAgers.com website highlights the work of Nir Barzilai, M.D., director of the Institute for Aging Research and a team of researchers, coordinators and volunteers who, in 1998, began a study of healthy elderly between the ages of 95 and 112 years old. The group was enrolled in a study called the Longevity Genes Project. That research has grown into the LonGenity research study, which focuses on examining the genes of the very old. To date, the LonGenity research team has enrolled more than 500 centenarians and near-centenarians, and more than 700 of their children.

SuperAgers.com features video profiles of remarkable centenarians and near-centenarians who are taking part in the study, including 96-year-old Lilly Port who continues to travel the world; 104-year-old Irving Kahn, who works every day managing assets at his $700 million investment firm; 103-year-old Irma Daniel, who exercises and maintains an active social life; and 98-year-old Harold Laufman, a talented artist, musician and retired surgeon.

“The goal of the Longevity Genes Project is to understand how centenarians live so long,” said Dr. Barzilai. “What is it in their genetic makeup that allows them to get to this age and remain healthy?”

The research is beginning to unlock the genetic code for longevity and identify the unique genotypes and phenotypes that protect against age-related diseases. Among the findings to date:

  • the identification of at least three genes thought to promote longevity;
  • evidence that longevity is highly likely to be inherited from generation to generation; and
  • the finding that those with exceptional longevity are more likely to have significantly elevated levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

The combination of these factors is believed to play a key role in the ability of these “super agers” to avoid cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and high blood pressure.

As the study continues, Einstein researchers are hoping to better understand how protective or harmful genes are activated, or “turned on” or “turned off.” This could lead to drug therapies that regulate gene expression and help people live longer, healthier lives by mimicking the beneficial effects of longevity genes.

Visit SuperAgers.com for more information on the Longevity Genes Project, profiles of the “super agers,” the latest updates on advances in aging-related research at Einstein and links to additional resources and research information.

The website is a project of the Einstein Department of Communications and Public Affairs and the Einstein Institute for Aging Research led by endocrinologist Dr. Nir Barzilai, who is director of the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging and the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research at Einstein.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2009-2010 academic year, Einstein is home to 722 M.D. students, 243 Ph.D. students, 128 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and approximately 350 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has 2,775 fulltime faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2009, Einstein received more than $155 million in support from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving five medical centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island – which includes Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein – the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu

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