Cornell University researchers are about to begin studying the stem cells of a dozen elderly Jewish New Yorkers to figure out how they manage to live so long. There’s evidence of a “longevity gene” which protects against heart disease and cancer; a lot of these seniors are living to 100 despite bad habits like drinking and smoking. Are smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods, and being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent the secrets to long life? (I’ve got four out of four, what about you?)
The study will go like this:
Evans’ team extracts stem cells from the senior citizens’ blood, then transforms them into cells of vital organs that incorporate the healthy gene signatures.
The engineered cells will undergo harsh stress tests, then be examined to see how they fared.
The engineered cells will be compared with those of people who don’t have the same kind of longevity. Apparently Eastern European Jews have very low rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegeneration and diabetes. It’s in our genes! Maybe this explains why my grandfather is 87 and the picture of health? Why this woman the Post talked to, who is 98, eats bratwurst and chocolate and drinks wine and looks incredible? (Click through. How is she 98?). In conclusion, I’m not going to worry about quitting smoking yet.