Monday, July 13, 2009

The 100+ longevity may run in the blood

People who live into their mid-90s and beyond may have larger than normal cholesterol particles in their blood that protects them from age related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers based at Albert Einstein College of medical in New York made the discovery when they looked at more than 200 people between the ages of 95 and 107 as well as more than 200 of their offspring. The scientist then compared all of them to people who were close in age to the offspring, but were not known to have a family history of longevity.

It turned out that people who lived to an exceptionally old age and their children had significantly larger cholesterol molecules than the others, regardless of total cholesterol levels. Large particle size was associated in particular with lower rates of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Exactly how large particle size protects against disease is not yet known. But large cholesterol particles are though to be protective because they cannot penetrate artery walls as easily as smaller, denser particles and therefore are less likely to form obstructive plaque that impedes the flow of blood through the body.

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