Clinical phenotype of families with longevity

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Feb;52(2):274-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52068.x.


Objectives: To determine whether offspring of centenarians acquired protection from age-related diseases.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: The study was part of the Longevity Genes Project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Participants: Centenarians (n=145), offspring of centenarians (n=180), and spouses of the offspring of centenarians (n=75) as a control group. Two additional groups served as controls: age-matched Ashkenazi Jews, and an age-matched control group from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Measurements: Self-reported family history of longevity; prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart attacks, and strokes; and objective measurements of body mass index and fat mass.

Results: Parents of centenarians (born in approximately 1870) had a markedly greater ( approximately sevenfold) "risk" for longevity (reaching ages 90-99), supporting the notion that genetics contributed to longevity in these families. The offspring of long-lived parents had significantly lower prevalence of hypertension (by 23%), diabetes mellitus (by 50%), heart attacks (by 60%), and strokes (no events reported) than several age-matched control groups.

Conclusion: Offspring of centenarians may inherit significantly better health. The authors suggest that a cohort of these subjects and their spouses is ideal to study the phenotype and genotype of longevity and its interaction with the environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Jews / statistics & numerical data
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data