How to Rejuvenate Your Heart by 10 Years

Age catches up with us all eventually, but in some people the right genes can make that chase into our twilight years a relatively leisurely one.

A few years ago Italian researchers discovered something special about people who live well into their 90s and beyond: they commonly have a version of a gene called BPIFB4 that protects against cardiovascular damage and keeps the heart in good shape for a longer period of time.

By introducing the mutated gene into older mice, the scientists have now seen how the variant rewinds markers of biological heart aging by the equivalent of more than 10 human years.

In middle-aged mice, the same therapy was shown to halt the decline of heart function.

How quickly the heart and its nearest blood vessels typically decay depends on numerous factors, including how much we drink and whether or not we smoke. Based on the study's results, mutations in protein-encoding genes also have a key part to play.

The longevity-associated variant (LAV) of the BPIFB4 gene that the researchers looked at is already associated with longevity in people, and is frequently found in individuals who live longer than normal, including those in their late 90s and beyond. This finding prompted the researchers to take a closer look at the variant's physiological effects.

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