Researchers at Edinburgh University have conducted a new DNA analysis that reveals important information about increasing the human lifespan. Examining the genetic code of over 600,000 people, the team were able to determine numerous factors that affect longevity of life.
Key researcher Dr Peter Joshi explains that some DNA contains mutations which increase the likelihood of gaining weight and enhance appetite. By examining such a wide range of people, the team were able to compare and contrast those with mutations and without. “It doesn’t mess up the analysis. You can look directly at the effect of weight, in isolation, on lifespan,” he told BBC News.
The study had five key findings:
- Two months are lost for every kilogram of extra weight a person carries
- Seven years are lost for every pack of cigarettes smoked daily
- A year in education adds approximately eleven months
- Gene mutations that affect the immune system may add seven months
- Those that increase bad cholesterol reduce lifespans by eight months
Joshi pointed out that, while genetics clearly do affect lifespan, humans have the most ability to change their future. “You’ve got even more influence,” he said, adding that: “we hope to discover novel genes affecting lifespan to give us new information about ageing and construct therapeutic interventions for ageing.”
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