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Archive for the ‘Longevity Genetics’ Category

The Bat Elixir: Geneticists Suspect that the Flying Mammal Holds the Key to Extended Healthy Life | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather…

Monday, August 30th, 2021

A bat in flight.

Bats have developed a pretty bad rap sheet in the last few years. First, pop culture painted these mammals as a form of the blood-sucking Dracula, and then they were villainised for allegedly triggering a pandemic. Indeed, these poor creatures can't seem to catch a break! Aside from being adorable, bats have several other redeeming qualities like being the only mammals capable of flying and finding food even in complete darkness.

Of late, experts in genetics have uncovered a few startling facts about these Chiropterans, which could imply that they may hold the secret to healthy ageing. With the COVID-19 pandemic turning the spotlight on bats, their unique ability to stay alive against unmatched odds has also come under scrutiny.

The relationship between the size of a mammal, its metabolism, and lifespan is relatively straightforward. The larger the mammal, the slower its metabolism is, and this means a longer lifespan. While we humans ourselves are an exception to this rule, these flying mammals also deviate from this trend.

Some bats are known to live for 40 yearsthat's eight times longer than the lifespan of other animals their size! This unusually long lifespan of bats has always aroused the curiosity of scientistsit prompted them to ask the question, what was it that made these bats live longer?

The gene expression pattern in bats is very unique and has been associated with DNA repair, autophagy, immunity and tumour suppression, ensuring an extended health span for bats. Now, scientists are wondering if we could replicate a few such attributes on humans as well!

There's a cap-like structure called the telomere present at the end of each chromosomea microscopic threadlike part of the cell that carries part or all of the genetic material. This unique structure protects your chromosomes from damage. Every time your cells replicate, the chromosome loses just a little bit of the telomere. As time passes, this telomere gets very short, and either rides the wave of ageing or causes the cell to self-destruct. To put it succinctly, the shortening of your telomeres is why you age.

While this seems inevitable, studies conducted in the last few years revealed that the telomeres do not shorten in long-lived species of batslike the Myotis genus. This means that these species can protect their DNA for an unusually long-time in their lifespan.

A bat pup.

It's common knowledge that in humans, the body's ability to heal and repair any damage decreases considerably as we age. But researchers studied the genome of young, middle-aged, and old bats and found that their ability to repair DNA and damage caused by age increased as they grew older.

Another quality that contributes to their longevity is their ability to control their immune responses. With an over-excited immune response, humans tend to succumb to infections like COVID-19 quicker. In COVID-19 patients with regulated immune responses, the risk of ending up on the ventilator is much lower, reveals research.

Similarly, a controlled immune response could be why bats are able to carry numerous deadly pathogens like the coronavirus without succumbing to them easily.

Humans and bats have many similar genes but with a tweak here and a nip there. So, if we could someday discover what factors elicit these controlled immune responses and telomere shortening avoidance in bats and replicate it in humans, it would be a massive leap towards the utopian dream of a healthy, long life!


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The Bat Elixir: Geneticists Suspect that the Flying Mammal Holds the Key to Extended Healthy Life | The Weather Channel - Articles from The Weather...


Animal Expert Shares 5 Things That Will Help Your Dog Live a Longer, Healthier Life – ScienceAlert

Monday, August 30th, 2021

As anyone who has ever lived with a dog will know, it often feels like we don't get enough time with our furry friends. Most dogs only live around ten to 14 years on average though some may naturally live longer, while others may be predisposed to certain diseases that can limit their lifespan.

But what many people don't know is that humans and dogs share many genetic similarities including a predisposition to age-related cancer. This means that many of the things humans can do to be healthier and longer lived may also work for dogs.

Here are just a few ways that you might help your dog live a longer, healthier life.

One factor that's repeatedly linked with longevity across a range of species is maintaining a healthy bodyweight. That means ensuring dogs aren't carrying excess weight, and managing their calorie intake carefully.

Not only will a lean, healthy bodyweight be better for your dog in the long term, it can also help to limit the impact of certain health conditions, such as osteoarthritis.

Carefully monitor and manage your dog's bodyweight through regular weighing or body condition scoring where you look at your dog's physical shape and "score" them on a scale to check whether they're overweight, or at a healthy weight. Using both of these methods together will allow you to identify weight changes and alter their diet as needed.

Use feeding guidelines as a starting point for how much to feed your dog, but you might need to change food type or the amount you feed to maintain a healthy weight as your dog gets older, or depending on how much activity they get.

Knowing exactly how much you are feeding your dog is also a crucial weight-management tool so weigh their food rather than scooping it in by eye.

More generally, good nutrition can be linked to a healthy ageing process, suggesting that what you feed can be as important as how much you feed. "Good" nutrition will vary for each dog, but be sure to look for foods that are safe, tasty and provide all the nutrients your dog needs.

Exercise has many physiological and psychological benefits, both for our dogs (and us). Physical activity can help to manage a dog's bodyweight, and is also associated with anti-ageing effects in other genetically similar species.

While exercise alone won't increase your dog's lifespan, it might help protect you both from carrying excess bodyweight. And indeed, research suggests that "happy" dog walks lead to both happy dogs and people.

Ageing isn't just physical. Keeping your dog's mind active is also helpful. Contrary to the popular adage, you can teach old dogs new tricks and you might just keep their brain and body younger as a result.

Even when physical activity might be limited, explore alternative low-impact games and pursuits, such as scentwork that you and your dog can do together. Using their nose is an inherently rewarding and fun thing for dogs to do, so training dogs to find items by scent will exercise them both mentally and physically.

Other exercise such as hydrotherapy a type of swimming exercise might be a good option especially for dogs who have conditions which affect their ability to exercise as normal.

Like many companion animals, dogs develop a clear attachment to their caregivers. The human-dog bond likely provides companionship and often, dog lovers describe them as a family member.

A stable caregiver-dog bond can help maintain a happy and mutually beneficial partnership between you and your dog. It can also help you recognize subtle changes in your dog's behavior or movement that might signal potential concerns.

Where there is compatibility between caregiver and dog, this leads to a better relationship and even benefits for owners, too, including stress relief and exercise. Sharing positive, fun experiences with your dog, including playing with them, are great for cementing your bond.

Modern veterinary medicine has seen substantial improvements in preventing and managing health concerns in dogs. Successful vaccination and parasite management programs have effectively reduced the incidence of disease in both dogs and humans including toxocariasis, which can be transmitted from dog feces to humans, and rabies, which can be transmitted dog-to-dog or dog-to-human.

Having a good relationship with your vet will allow you to tailor treatments and discuss your dog's needs. Regular health checks can also be useful in identifying any potential problems at a treatable stage such as dental issues or osteoarthritis which can cause pain and negatively impact the dog's wellbeing.

At the end of the day, it's a combination of our dog's genetics and the environment they live in that impacts their longevity. So while we can't change their genetics, there are many things we can do to improve their health that may just help them live a longer, healthier life.

Jacqueline Boyd, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, Nottingham Trent University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Animal Expert Shares 5 Things That Will Help Your Dog Live a Longer, Healthier Life - ScienceAlert


Greenland Sharks Live Hundreds of Years; Can These Sharks Teach Humans How to Live Long? – Science Times

Monday, August 30th, 2021

A fishing expedition 15 years ago off the west coast of Greenland led scientists to discover the world's oldest vertebrate, Greenland sharks. This species can live at least 250 years. Scientists see lifestyle and genetics as a possible cause, and gene therapy techniques help humans adopt the same longevity.

Danish marine biologist John Steffensen was on a fishing expedition 15 years ago when he spotted an unusual-looking shark that hung from the boat's edge. Greenland sharks are large, sluggish, and awkwardly proportioned sharks that roam the icy depths of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Steffensen and his colleagues published their findings in a study titled "Eye Lens Radiocarbon Reveals Centuries of Longevity in the Greenland Shark(Somniosus microcephalus)," onSciencein 2016. Since then, this cadaverous shark has become a sensation, with scientists worldwide trying to unlock the secret of its longevity, noting that it could show humans how to live long.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Close-up image of a Greenland shark taken at the floe edge of the Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut

According toAtlas Obscura, Greenland sharks were commercially hunted for their oil-rich livers during the first half of the 20th century. However, presently, fishers find them a nuisance since these species feed o valuable halibut. Sometimes, they also get tangled with fishnets that could damage equipment on deck if they could not find a way out.

Steffensen's interest in Greenland sharks peaked when he learned of the extreme longevity of the sharks. They tried scanning the sharks for signs of growth rings but failed and found no evidence of their age.

So, he consulted retired physicist Jan Heinemeier from Denmark's Aarhus University, who gave him the idea of dating eye lenses produced at birth and could be subjected to carbon dating.

The results were astounding, showing that Greenland sharks could live at least 272 years up to 512 years old. In thevideoby Wonder World, they discussed that the oldest Greenland shark was 512 years old found in the North Atlantic, which could also hold the record of being the oldest living vertebrate in the world.

The scientists at first could not believe their findings, questioning whether they have made a mistake or not. Another thing they observed is that older Greenland sharks grow at a slower rate than young ones. The largest they found was 16 feet long, but they could still grow up to 18 feet.

ALSO READ: Two Female Sharks Reproduce Offspring; Recorded as First Case of Asexual Reproduction in Italy

Finding out that there could be sharks swimming in the ocean born during the Renaissance period is extraordinary. Scientists have asked how these creatures could live that long. They believe it might be due to genetics and lifestyle.

According toNBC News, Greenland sharks' longevity might have to do with their extraordinary heart and unique immune systems. The sharks' hearts pump slowly by about one beat per 12 seconds, and they have been beating already for centuries. On the other hand, a human heart beats about once every second and gradually slows down as humans age.

Moreover, DNA sequencing of Greenland sharks shows that genetic mutations in them have given them an immune system that can stop cancer and other infectious diseases.

In the future, scientists hope to transplant the genes to humans to promote long life using gene therapy techniques. However, this technology is in its early years, and more studies are needed to be successful.

RELATED ARTICLE: Godzilla Shark From 300 Million Years Ago Finally Gets New Name, Classified as New Species

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Greenland Sharks Live Hundreds of Years; Can These Sharks Teach Humans How to Live Long? - Science Times


9 Healthy Eating Habits to Live Over A Century, Say Dietitians | Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

Monday, August 30th, 2021

You don't have to live in a blue zone to live over a century. "Blue zones" are known to have the densest population of people that live to be over 100located in five different communities around the world. And yet, while these communities are known for being the healthiest and living the longest, the truth is, you don't have to be a community member to reap the same benefits. While genetics do play a role in longevity, setting healthier habits also significantly increases your chances of living long enough to reach that three-digit number.

So what's their secret? If you were to place a microscope on these communities, you would notice that their diets include a variety of real, whole foods. They also focus on eating at the table, sharing meals with others, and regularly moving their bodies.

But what's exactly on their plates? We spoke with a few registered dietitians to look at some of the healthy eating habits that can help you to live over a century, and these tips line up closely with the type of lifestyles lived by those in blue zones. Here are the healthy eating habits you can incorporate into your life today in order to have a happier, healthier tomorrow. Then, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

"It is well-known that fruit and vegetables are good for you, but it's important to remember that it's more than just that," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. "Colorful fruits and veggies provide the body with various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds that help the heart, the gut as well as keep your immune system strong and more! Each color of produce contains a different nutrient package."

RELATED:Get even more healthy eating tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter!

"While everyone's body and natural genetics are different, fueling your body appropriately is a crucial component if you would like to live over a century," says Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN at A Taste of Health, LLC and Expert at "Ensuring that you consume a varied diet with a range of different fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grain, high fiber carbs, and healthy fat, and balancing them appropriately at each meal and snack is crucial to make sure your body is getting everything it needs to function at its best. In addition, keeping your stress levels down (especially surrounding food) can always help your body stay as healthy as possible, too."

"Following a plant-based diet is one of the best possible dietary choices to live a life with greater quality and quantity," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, and a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. "For many who turn to a plant-based diet, their goal is overall health and reduced risk of chronic disease, which culminates in longer life. Among the many benefits of a plant-based diet, including, heart health, weight loss, and diabetes prevention a new secondary benefit is emerging; reduced cancer risk."

Best points out research from the American Institute for Cancer Research which states that one of the best ways to prevent cancer is through dietary means. Focusing on nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients into your diet is key, and can be found in foods like vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

If going plant-based does not feel like something that is attainable for you, Best also recommends focusing on a flexitarian approach if you want to live over a century.

"For many, this can be a daunting task and a flexitarian approach may be the best option," she says. "Regardless of where you fall, reducing animal protein in your diet will improve your longevity."

Here are 10 Benefits of Eating a More Plant-Based Diet.

"The healthiest of people fill their plate with nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and healthy fat, but they also allow for pleasure foods," says Goodson. "The key to a long, happy life is balance. The majority of the time, 80%, eat foods to fuel your body and keep it strong. Then 20% of the time enjoy vacations, holidays, and desserts with the people you love. It's the best plan for the body and the soul."

It's all about setting healthier habits for yourself! Here are5 Healthy Dessert Habits For A Flat Belly.

"It's important to not overeat," Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from "Overeating calories, even of healthier foods, leads to weight gain. Those with overweight or obese bodies are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers, which can lead to premature death."

One of the best ways to combat overeating is to start paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness clues, portioning out your meals, and setting specific times for meals and snacks throughout the day. Overeating and mindless snacking can easily come hand-in-hand, so it's important to set healthy snacking habits that will help you feel full, prevent overeating, and help you ultimately live over a century.

"As we age, we typically lose 2 to 3% muscle mass per decade," says Goodson. "That can lead to falls, bone breaks, and instability as we age. The key? Power up with lean protein at all meals and snacks. Protein helps and builds and repairs muscles helping to keep your body strong as you age. Including foods like lean beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and legumes can all help you amp up your protein."

"As a dietitian, I'm always telling people to 'eat the rainbow' because all the different colored foods represent different phytonutrients that help keep us healthy as we age," says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. "One beneficial type of phytonutrient you'll find in colorful fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods are compounds called 'flavonoids.' In fact, recent research has proven these flavonoids to be helping in maintaining our brain health long-term. Flavonoid-rich foods include onions, berries, dark greens, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, dark chocolate, soy, and citrus fruits."

To easily incorporate flavonoid-rich foods into your diet, Burgess says "For breakfast try mashing together berries and chia seeds to make your own jam. Then, for lunch, blend cauliflower into rice or find it in flatbread form to pair with your favorite protein. Finally, for dinner, try stirring extra onions and herbs into a one-pot curry."

"To keep our brains sharp and to prevent cognitive decline, what we eat can make a difference," says Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and a member of our medical expert board. "Foods high in certain vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals may help to boost brain health. Deep red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon contain the antioxidant lycopene which fights free radicals that come with aging. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are rich in vitamins E and K which may prevent memory loss and help reduce our 'brain age.'"

Related:Why You Need Antioxidants In Your DietAnd How To Eat More Of Them

"As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down so it is important to watch calories and exercise more to avoid weight gain," says Young. "It turns out that maintaining a steady weight and avoiding yo-yo dieting is equally important. The centenarians from Okinawa, known to live long and healthy lives, were known to keep their calories down and their weight steady. Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) has been associated with lower rates of heart disease and certain cancers."

For more, be sure to read our list of The 6 Best Diets That Will Make You Live Longer, Say Dietitians.

9 Healthy Eating Habits to Live Over A Century, Say Dietitians | Eat This Not That - Eat This, Not That


95 and Counting – Arlington Connection

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

95-year-old Howard Eisenberg says he was carded recently and asked to provide proof of his age as he boarded a train on his way to visit his 80-year-old girlfriend.

Three different conductors carded me. I said, Look, isn't my gray hair enough? The conductor said, Nope, that could have started at 40. They insisted on seeing my driver's license and boy, was I proud.

Whats the secret to a long life? Three local seniors reflect on their lives and share their accomplishments and their advice to younger generations.

Born in Manhattan, Eisenberg, who now lives in Alexandria, began his lifelong career as a writer while doing a stint in the military.

I started writing at 18. WWII had just ended and my captain learned that I'd had a couple of years of college. He said, PFC Eisenberg, the Nazis who were in this barracks left a mimeograph machine and a typewriter here. Write me a newspaper to improve morale. You don't say no to your company commander, so I wrote The Rifleman."

Eisenberg, who recently completed the script for a musical, says hes been a writer ever since. I've written for radio and television. Ive written magazine articles, he said. I shared magazine and book bylines with my amazing late wife, Arlene.

To him, age is just a number and he says he has no intention of retiring. There is so much to write about that I don't plan to quit until my fingers break off in the computer keys, he said. And then I'll try dictating.

He has three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. I have to do a bit of math to keep track of progeny, he jokes.

Eisenberg doesnt attribute his longevity to genetics. My mom only reached 62 and my dad his mid-70s, he said. But those were meat-and-potato days. You ate what tasted best, not what was good for you.

Instead, he attributes his good health to prioritizing nutrition and taking vitamins. A healthy diet and regular exercise are two habits that Eisenberg attributes to hitting the 95+ mark. Down with sugar and white flour, he said. The more colorful the food the better.

Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, yams and low-fat, sugar-free ice cream are among the foods that he enjoys. Of course, this is common sense, not prescription, he said.

Inquisitiveness is a trait that Eisenberg advises younger generations to acquire. One of his regrets is not being bold enough to ask questions when he didnt understand something in his youth.

I joined my outfit as an infantry replacement and they gave me a bazooka, which I'd only fired twice and that was in basic training, he said. I didn't remember how to shoot it but was sadly too embarrassed to ask guidance from one of the Battle of the Bulge seasoned veterans. Big mistake.

So when a machine gun nest stopped us and the captain shouted, Bazooka up front, I was momentarily frozen in place, continued Eisenberg. The GI carrying bazooka rockets saved me. He turned and ran to the rear with the ammo and I had to chase and tackle him. By the time I got back with the ammo the machine gun was kaput.

This experience taught him the value of seeking as much information as needed to gain the understanding necessary to complete a task.

You may not carry a bazooka, but there will be many times at different stages in your life when you won't know how to do something. Don't be a shy guy or gal. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. Ask until you're sure you understand. Then do it.

Adele Aspinwall Bethesda, 98

Adele Aspinwall was an English teacher in Chicago for 68 years, mostly in the inner city.

"I enjoyed looking out for and encouraging children that some people had written off," she said. "I've had so many students come back to me and tell me how I motivated them and touched their lives. That's how I knew I was born to be a teacher."

When she retired, she moved to Bethesda to be closer to her daughter, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Now, 98-year-old Aspinwall lives in the mother-in-laws suite in the home of her daughter.

Aspinwalls mother lived to be 87 years old and her father was 67 when he died. She believes her longevity comes from exercise and a healthy diet.

I would advise young people to begin preserving their health and develop and maintain a sense of style when they're in their 30s, said Aspinwall. Stay current with trends. I dont need to dress like a 25-year-old, but I also dont have to look frumpy. When you look well-dressed then you feel good.

Aspinwall is in a bridge club and plays regularly with a group of friends. She says this helps keep her mind sharp.

Maintain friendships and good relationships with your family members, especially your children, she said. "If thats difficult then set boundaries. But the most important thing is to stay in contact with other people. I dont focus on my age, I just focus on maintaining my health, style and relationships.

Miriam Halprin, 103 of Springfield

Miriam Halprin of Springfield is 103 and credits her longevity to eating and drinking in moderation. You need a positive mental outlook, good genes, a good laugh and an extremely high degree of vanity.

Born in Vermont, she worked as a legal secretary at Hofstra Law School. After retiring at age 75, she moved to be closer to her family which includes one son and one grandson.

These days, she spends her time reading, watching movies and playing cards to keep her mind sharp.

Halprin says her son is her greatest accomplishment, and the life advice that she would give to younger generations is, Always keep a positive outlook and a sense of humor.

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95 and Counting - Arlington Connection


What Lifestyle Decisions Will Help You Become a "Cognitive Super-Ager"? – InsideHook

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

In a recent profile, The New York Times investigates the phenomenon of cognitive super-agers people whose brains remain miraculously youthful even as they join the ranks of centenarians.

For these very few less than 1% of the United States population lives to 100, and cognitive super-agers are a fraction of that their twilight years are not marked by a sudden drop in brainpower. On the contrary, the neurofuction of cognitive super-agers doesnt change much at all after their 70th birthdays. They routinely receive top marks on tests designed to root out declines in understanding, communication, focus or memory.

How is this possible? Researchers are currently studying two methods by which cognitive super-agers are able to ward off the most common form of dementia, Alzheimers disease: via resistance or resilience. With the former, scientists say, some brains are just able to avoid damage. Genetics and lifestyle play a role. But with the latter, fascinatingly, some brains show signs of aging commiserate with Alzheimers and are able to weather the damage regardless. These people, Dr Yaakov Stern tells The New York Times, have a cognitive reserve that enables them to cope better with pathological brain changes.

Of course, longevity isnt appealing to everyone; it isnt uncommon to hear people wishing for an exit in their late seventies or early eighties, the sentiment likely influenced by watching some older relative suffer his or her way into too-old age. But as researchers unlock the secrets of societys healthiest centenarians, and people continue to live longer (the cohort aged 90 and older is Americas fastest-growing population sector), a new kind of promise might begin to perform: live quality years into your hundreds.

No one has the answers yet on how to achieve this. There seem to be some genetic predispositions that help brains that literally start out larger and stronger are less likely to atrophy (the same way a muscle in an arm shrinks due to lack of use or aging). Thickness of the cingulate cortex seems to matter, as does ones prevalence of von Economo neurons.

But both resistance and resilience, researchers believe, can be influenced by lifestyle decisions. There are things you can do right now to stick around longer (and actually have your wits about you while doing so). One of the top recommendations? Enriching experiences. That could mean pursuing higher education, working a job that requires complex problem-solving, or mastering a new craft. Also on the list protecting your hearing and vision (which are closely intertwined with cognitive function), finding a place in a supportive community, making time for leisure and play, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, and exercising regularly.

There are no guarantees here. You may not live to 100 if you do these things, and you may make it there and never remember your own name, but for now, theyre your best shot. The good news? Theyre all things you could look back on after a life lived to only 70 and know you did it right.

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Wentworth weight gains steal the Wagyu show – Queensland Country Life

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

WAGYU F1 steers selected for flat bone and suppleness of hide stole the show in the Wagyu Challenge weight gain phase of the RNA Paddock to Palate competition.

The commercial Wagyu operation Wentworth Cattle Co, owned by Richard and Dyan Hughes and family from Clermont in central Queensland, almost made it a clean sweep of the Wagyu section.

Their best pen of 50 per cent Wagyu cross steers took out first place with an average daily gain of 1.159 kilograms and second place with a gain of 1.097kg. One steer recorded the highest individual weight gain of 1.289kg/day over 360 days for an exit weight of 800kg.

The long-fed Wagyu programs are designed to achieve a consistent lower gain over a long period of time, to enhance the marbling for which the breed is famous.

TOP PERFORMER: The steer from Wentworth which collected the highest individual weight gain of 1.289kg/day over 360 days for an exit weight of 800kg.

Wentworth Cattle Co started with a Brahman cross Red Poll cow base, and currently joins around 8000 F1s through to purebred Wagyu females at Strathablyn near Bowen, and Table Top at Collinsville, managed by Bristow and Ureisha Hughes.

The steers move to Wentworth as weaners where they are backgrounded before being sold to various feedlots at 300 to 480kgs, destined for a number of Wagyu branded products, including Mort & Co's award-winning Phoenix Beef.

Sires of the winning 2021 pen were from Hornery Group's Bar H at River Lea, Comet, Guyra's Door Key Wagyu and Kelva Camm's Cross Bar Wagyu at Clermont.

However, Dyan Hughes explained these steers were chosen while Wentworth was still very much in drought in April 2020 and pedigree was not in the main criteria.

"Flat bone delivers meat tenderness, suppleness in the hide allows for growth and greasiness of spine reflects hormonal activity which delivers flavour," she said.

"The steers were hand-selected for these indicators - good eating quality is the result, but these are also linked to fertility.

"Since the start of time, Wagyu breeders have pursued meat quality and that has also provided exceptional fertility. That also works conversely."

Wentworth uses a Wagyu geneticist to help with bloodline decisions.

"Our daughter Kelva works with Alan Hoey designing mating plans - it's a 'this goes with that' approach to create the ultimate animal," Mrs Hughes said.

"We aim for a balance in frame, marbling and feed conversion in both sexes, combined with fertility, milk and resilience in females.

"We are building longevity into our herd, and making it one that is adapted to the vagaries of northern conditions.

"This is a herd that thrives under regenerative management practices. We like to keep things as natural as we can, hence the move to knock the horns off using polled genetics."

Interestingly, over the 25 years they've been involved with Wagyu breeding the Hughes have used genetics from many of their fellow competitors in this year's competition, including polled Wagyu genetics that became available four years ago.

"Data on the polls is just starting to come through, and it's very promising," Mrs Hughes said.

"Sapphire Feedlot at Goondiwindi achieved a remarkable result with our steers, however F1s often outperform higher-content cattle in weight gains. The real challenge is in the next classes, relating to carcass, carcase dollar value and the ultimate test, the taste-off."

The Hughes family consider it a privilege to compete in competitions like the RNA Paddock to Palate, saying benchmarking against industry leaders and lessons learned are invaluable.

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Wentworth weight gains steal the Wagyu show - Queensland Country Life


People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements – Beef Central

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, departures and achievements occurring across the red meat and livestock supply chain. Send details for entries

Australias Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp has recently completed his three-year term as President of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Mark Schipp

Dr Schipp last month represented Australia at the 88th general session (virtual) of the OIE, his last official function as president.

Secretary of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Metcalfe, said Dr Schipps leadership as OIE President had reinforced Australias global influence on a large range of issues related to animal health and welfare. Australias leading role in setting international standards around animal health and welfare has been strengthened by his important work, Mr Metcalfe said.

Dr Schipp said the challenges of the COVID pandemic had highlighted the importance of the work that the OIE does.

It also presents an important opportunity for OIE members to strengthen relationships under the One Health frameworkthe interconnection between humans, animals and our shared environment, he said.

Despite the physical distance that may separate us through our collaborative, approach, we continue to address the many important global issues related to animal health and welfare.

With wildlife the source of many emerging and zoonotic diseases, during Dr Schipps term as OIE President he oversaw the development of a Wildlife Health Framework by the OIE Working Group on Wildlife to create new approaches to wildlife health management.

He also achieved increased OIE member engagement and participation in international standard setting, through strong advocacy and Australian funding for international workshops on implementation of standards related to animal health and welfare.

Under Dr Schipps leadership, the OIE also implemented the OIE Observatory, which is collecting data on the relevance and impact of the OIEs standards to members, allowing this information to support more effective solutions to global animal health and welfare challenges.

As a veterinarian, I am very aware of the need for global animal health and veterinary services to be strong, influential and effective contributors to addressing the global animal health challenges that we face, such as antimicrobial resistance, food insecurity and identification of future pandemics at their source, Dr Schipp said.

The Australian Agricultural Co has promoted David Harris as the companys new chief operating officer, following the recent departure of former COO, Anna Speer.

Ms Speer left AA Co in late April to take up a new role as head of Woolworths new Greenstock red meat supply chain business.

In March 2020, Mr Harris was appointed to the role of AA Cos COO supply chain. Prior to this he was working with AA Co from 2016 in a contracted capacity reporting to the CEO and Board to improve operational aspects of the business.

Since Anna Speers departure, Mr Harris has taken over her previous COO responsibility for Pastoral Operations, as well as his original role as supply chain COO.

Earlier in his career he worked in the lotfeeding sector, holding executive positions with Stanbroke, Smithfield Cattle Co and running his own private agricultural consultancy business and family farming operations in central western New South Wales. He holds a Bachelor of Rural Science from the University of New England specialising in ruminant nutrition and meat science.

In other recent AA Co appointments and promotions, AA Cos experienced pastoral operations manager Michael Johnson has been promoted to the new position of head of pastoral operations.

Previously he managed AA Cos Barkly Group and Brunette Downs station. He originally joined AA Co in 2010 as manager of Avon and Austral Downs, having previously worked with Stanbroke Pastoral Co where he gained extensive experience in the cattle industry, progressing his career from stockman into management roles across a number of enterprises throughout Northern Australia.

He currently sits as an executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemens Association and chairs the Barkly Regional Advisory Council. He will continue to operate out of Brunette Downs.

In other recent AA Co appointments, the new role of head of supply chain operations has been filled by Patrick Vialle, who has had extensive supply chain management experience in the corporate food sector with global giants, Nestle, Retail Food Group and Parmalat.

Mr Vialle, who joined the AA Co business last September before the recent promotion, will oversee supply chain operations, based out of AA Cos Brisbane office.

Meat & Livestock Australia has made a series of recent appointments in middle and upper management roles, both here and in overseas offices.

Scott Cameron has been appointed Group Industry Insights & Strategy Manager, in the Marketing & Insights team.

Scott Cameron

He starts in his new role today, 23 June, following the recent departure of Natalie Isaac. Prior to joining MLA, Mr Cameron already had a depth of experience across marketing, insights and strategy roles in the corporate world, including roles with Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Frucor Suntory.

In his 18 months with MLA, he has been a champion for collaboration across business units and the industry. Working closely with the Insights and International Markets teams, Mr Cameron has contributed to the Category Growth Driver projects for Japan, Korea, and Australia. In addition, he has played a significant role with the Sustainability Discovery Sprint.

He has led strategic engagement with major retailers, with a focus on evolving their approach to Shopper Activation and Category Management, as well as building strong networks amongst brand owners and the processing sector.

Meanwhile, former global industry insights & strategy manager Natalie Isaac finished up with the industry service delivery company yesterday, after five years with MLA. She has accepted a new role with Huon Aquaculture in Tasmania.

Across a range of projects from Data Transformation to the Category Growth Drivers, Ms Isaac connected and engaged effectively with teams including ISC, MSA, Genetics, and Science & Innovation that previously had limited interaction with the marketing & insights team.

She played a key role in the development of MLAs global markets strategy, which then led to the development of market classification. This has been widely used both internally and externally by commercial stakeholders to make better decisions identifying high value growth opportunities.

In other recent MLA appointments:

The man responsible for the smooth operations behind last months hugely successful Beef Australia 2021 event in Rockhampton has moved on.

Beef 2021 CEO Ian Mill

Ian Mill has accepted a position from August, as acting chief executive of the Rockhampton Jockey Club, an organisation he has served as a board member for since 2018. Mr Mill led a team of 80 staff and more than 200 volunteers to deliver Beef 2021, which attracted 115,866 people across the week-long internationally recognised beef industry exposition.

Horse racing has been a passion of mine for a long time, both as a volunteer on the local board, as well as having shares in racehorses albeit on somewhat of a social scale, Mr Mill said.

The Thoroughbred industry has always been something I have followed keenly, so when the opportunity arose to step into this role, and with my contract at Beef Australia coming to an end, I jumped at the chance.

Beef Australia board chairman Bryce Camm acknowledged his contribution.

We greatly appreciate Ians contribution to Beef 2021 which despite the challenges and unknowns associated with Covid has been hailed an overwhelming success by all, from our tens of thousands of visitors and participants through to our stakeholders, Mr Camm said. Many of Ians management skills and abilities displayed in delivering Beef 2021 will serve him and the Rockhampton Jockey Club well in his new role. We thank Ian for his service and wish him continued success in serving the Rockhampton community which he is so passionate about.

After spending the past three years working as Chief Scientist on secondment from the University of New England, the Food Agility CRC has announce that Professor David Lamb will now join the CRC full time.

In addition to continuing his role as Chief Scientist overseeing research across the entire program of CRC activities, Professor Lamb will be heading the Food Agility CRCs newGlobal Digital Farminitiative. He continues his ongoing contribution to academia, through both research and teaching, as an Adjunct Professor of UNE.

Specialist rural property agency JLL has appointed Jock Grimshaw to join JLLs Agribusiness team based in Melbourne.

Jock Grimshaw

Formerly working with Colliers International, he will report to JLLs Director of Agribusiness, Clayton Smith, and will focus on campaigns across southern markets including Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

Following the boom in the Australian rural market, JLL had recorded more than $160 million in sales for the first quarter of 2021, the company said in a statement supporting Mr Grimshaws appointment.

Jocks experience and reputation in the marketplace will provide us with access to a broad cross-section of clients and asset types, and his knowledge will greatly benefit our clients, Clayton Smith said.

The Australian agribusiness market continues to assert its position as a secure and stable asset class. The market is currently the strongest it has been in ten years, and sales activity is not predicted to slow as family, private, institutional and non-traditional buyers look to the rural sector for investment longevity and stability.

Growing our Agribusiness team is a clear indicator of the strength of this sector and shows the confidence we have in strengthening our service offering in southern markets as Melbourne recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Smith said.

Experienced bull breeder Ian Durkin has been elected chairman of the Herefords Australia board.

In line with past practice, all Herefords Australia board positions are declared open in the first board meeting after the breed societys annual general meeting.

Both Trish Worth and Ian Durkin were nominated for the position of chairman, with Ian Durkin duly elected by HAL directors.

Mr Durkin was first elected to the board in May 2020 and held the position of member liaison representative. He owns and manages a mixed farming operation near Coolatai with his wife Shelley and three children.

The position of chairman is an important one, but I believe it is the combination of the diverse skills and experience of all directors that makes for an effective board, he said. I will be drawing on this team to ensure we have sound policies in place to support the advancement of the breed and good governance in place to strengthen the company.

I also understand members want to better understand the strategic direction for the breed. I look forward to the development of the next plan and the role the board plays in monitoring progress and reporting to members outcomes of our investments and activities.

Mr Durkin replaces Trish Worth, who served as chair for the past 12 months. Ms Worth continues her tenure as Herefords Australia director and has been appointed to the finance, audit and risk committee. In other HAL board appointments, Geoff Birchnell was elected as member liaison representative and Michael Crowley elected to the marketing committee.

The 2021 Herefords Australia Board comprises Ian Durkin (chair), Marc Greening (deputy chair), Mark Baker (company secretary), Sam Becker, Geoff Birchnell, Michael Crowley, Ian Durkin, Mark Duthie, Alex Sparkes, Trish Worth.

Smarter farming systems that thrive through drought are among the agricultural innovations recognised at the annual awards of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

ATSEs prestigious annual ICM Agrifood Award is bestowed on applied scientists who have made significant contributions to the agriculture sector.

One of the 2021 winners was Dr Lindsay Bell, Farming Systems Scientist at CSIRO, for world-leading research helping dryland crop and livestock farmers manage climate variability.

Dr Bells research focuses on redesigning cropping systems and re-integrating crops and livestock to more efficiently use highly variable rainfall to increase profitability and reduce losses during droughts. He has been instrumental in developing dual-purpose canola that works both as a crop and a feedstock, and designing protocols to help farmers graze their crops at a time that reduces the risk of grain yield losses.

Growing up on a farm in western Queensland I have firsthand experience with many of the challenges facing agriculture, Dr Bell said.

This has driven me to try to identify practices, technology and markets that help farmers become more viable in the short and long term.

ATSE President Professor Hugh Bradlow congratulated the winners, saying the ICM Agrifood Awards recognise the vital role of R&D in advancing Australias strength as an agricultural powerhouse.

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation has celebrated the achievements of PhD graduates during formal ceremonies at Charles Sturt University recently.

The graduates from the Centre, an alliance between Charles Sturt and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, were among the 600 graduates who attended the Universitys ceremonies in Wagga Wagga, which were postponed last year due to COVID-19.

Dr Cara Wilson and Dr Thomas Williams celebrate graduation at Charles Sturt University.

Charles Sturt University PhD graduate Dr Cara Wilsons PhD research through the Graham Centre examined the impact of hydatid disease on the beef industry in eastern Australia. As part of her research, Dr Wilson examined data from 1.1 million cattle slaughtered at a focus abattoir from 2010 to 2018.

She found the geographic distribution of hydatid-infected cattle was wider than previously thought, with losses to the abattoir from 2011 to 2017 of more than $650,000 in downgraded carcases.

Hydatid disease in beef cattle has important epidemiological and economic impacts on the Australian beef industry, she said. Improved knowledge and awareness of hydatid disease among Australian beef producers is required, and practical and cost-effective control measures need to be identified.

Dr Sajid Latifs research has given new insight on how annual pasture legumes can be used to suppress weeds in south eastern Australian farming systems.

His research examined legumes species such as biserrula, serradella, gland, bladder and arrow-leaf clover established as monocultures and as mixed stands.

Looking at both the above-ground competitive traits and the chemical interactions in the soil rhizosphere Dr Latif looked at the suppression of common annual weeds. He found the choice of pasture species impacted stand establishment, yearly regeneration and weed suppression in pastures, with arrow-leaf clover and biserrula suppressing annual weeds effectively.

Biomass accumulation in pasture species was found to contribute significantly to the reduction of weed biomass for the majority of species followed by light interception at the base of the canopy, Dr Latif said. The results also suggest that plant produced chemical interference is one of the key mechanisms of weed suppression in some of those species, including biserrula and serradella, he said.

Dr Jane Kelly has been awarded her PhD for research examining the prevalence, management and economic impact of seed contamination in sheep carcasses by barley grass.

The findings show the value of proactive and accurately timed integrated weed management strategies for influencing legume pasture composition, reducing barley grass populations and mitigating losses associated with seed contamination in grazing sheep in southern Australia.

Dr Thomas Williams PhD was focused on gastrointestinal nematodes in water buffalo, comparing production systems in Australia and Pakistan.

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People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements - Beef Central


Pandemic Lessons in Improving the Medical System – The New York Times

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

One of the most dramatic examples was the abrupt substitution of telemedicine for in-person visits to the doctors office. Although telemedicine technology is decades old, the pandemic demonstrated how convenient and effective it can be for many routine medical problems, Dr. Navathe said.

Feb. 14, 2021, 6:09 p.m. ET

Telemedicine is more efficient and often just as effective as an office visit. It saves time and effort for patients, especially those with limited mobility or who live in remote places. It lowers administrative costs for doctors and leaves more room in office schedules for patients whose care requires in-person visits.

Even more important, the pandemic could force a reckoning with the environmental and behavioral issues that result increasingly in prominent health risks in this country. We need to stop blaming genetics for every ailment and focus more on preventable causes of poor health like a bad diet and inactivity.

Consider, for example, the health status of those who have been most vulnerable to sickness and death from Covid-19. Aside from advanced age, about which we can do nothing, its been people with conditions that are often largely preventable: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and smoking. Yet most physicians are unable to influence the behaviors that foster these health-robbing conditions.

Many people need help to make better choices for themselves, Dr. Navathe said. But the professionals who could be most helpful, like dietitians, physical trainers and behavioral counselors, are rarely covered by health insurance. The time is long overdue for Medicare and Medicaid, along with private insurers, to broaden their coverage, which can save both health and money in the long run.

Policy wonks should also pay more attention to widespread environmental risks to health. Too many Americans live in areas where healthful food is limited and prohibitively expensive and where the built environment offers little or no opportunity to exercise safely.

Individuals, too, have a role to play. The pandemic has fostered an opportunity for patients to take on a more active role in their care, Dr. Shrank said in an interview.

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Pandemic Lessons in Improving the Medical System - The New York Times


The Role of Hormones in Immunocompetence – Anti Aging News

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

The growing importance of hormonal health is becoming an integral component of modern medicine especially as the focus shifts toward maintaining and boosting immunocompetence in the population. Many plausible benefits of hormonal factors on autoimmunity have received growing attention in recent years from the scientific community. Research has been conducted investigating the relationship between immune system function and sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.

Importantly, the immune systems of men and women are known to function differently with 80% of autoimmune diseases occurring in women who tend to show stronger immune responses than their male counterparts. Stronger immune responses in women produce faster pathogen clearance and improved vaccine responsiveness while also contributing to their increased susceptibility to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Results from previous experimental studies have revealed that testosterone can have a medium-sized immunosuppressive effect on immune function, however, the impact of estrogen can vary depending on the immune marker measured. Such differences in immune function and responses have contributed to health- and life-span disparities between sexes yet the role of hormones in immune system aging remains to be understood.

Immune Differences and Dimorphism

The differences in immunocompetency between male and female patients are associated with varying testosterone and estrogen levels major regulators of the immune system. Differences in gene expression between the sexes contribute to the concept of immune dimorphism though they are limited to one or a few types of immune cells. Furthermore, genomic differences between sexes have been found to become more prominent after the age of 65 with men having a higher innate and pro-inflammatory activity along with lower adaptive activity.

Female and males have different energy and nutrient requirements largely based on interactions between external factors and sex hormones; interactions between hormones and a patients environment, including cigarette smoke and viral infections, can lead to variable responses in both genders. While enhanced immunity has been reported in female patients, making them less susceptible to viral infections, their hyper immune response can predispose them to immune-pathogenic effects. In addition, sex hormones can control the immune response via circadian rhythms and their ability to regulate T-cell mediated inflammation.

Microbial Composition

Emerging evidence also indicates that sex hormones can impact the guts microbial composition and thus, impact immunocompetency. Studies have shown that diet-based effects on the microbiome are more prominent in men than in women implicating that dietary interventions may have an influence on sex-based immune responses.

The gut microbiota landscape can impact the systemic levels of testosterone, changing metabolic profiles which may heighten the risk for chronic disease including diabetes. However, current knowledge of the mechanism by which microbiome-derived sex steroids impact immunity remains limited.

Previous research has shown that hormonal contraceptives can increase bacterial species, highlighting sex-hormone-dependent differences and their effects on systemic immune responses. However, the gut microbial composition can be influenced by a variety of factors outside of hormonal levels, such as genetics and dietary habits.

The mechanism underlying sex hormone expression and immunocompetency continues to be investigated; this may result in the improvement of future designs for targeted therapeutics that mitigate sex hormone-inflammatory activity or autoimmune diseases. Clinicians interested in expanding their knowledge on the role of hormones in immune function and longevity are invited to attend the cutting-edge, interactive online Role of Hormones in Immunocompetency and Longevity workshop taking place on February 20, 2021.

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Do Short People Live Longer? What We Know – Healthline

Monday, February 1st, 2021

You may assume that being tall means, in some part, having good health. In addition to genetics and heredity, adult height is determined largely by nutritional intake during infancy and childhood. The better the nutrition, the healthier and taller youre likely to be.

But multiple studies have thrown this assumption into question. Being tall may have its perks. But, based on some studies, long life may not be one of them.

While much more evidence is needed, research indicates a possible link between height and specific diseases, as well as longevity potential.

Keep in mind, though, that short and tall are relative terms, and more research, and evidence, is needed to confirm these findings. Lifestyle habits also play a strong role in longevity potential.

Well highlight the research on this topic and break it down for you.

There are several studies indicating a correlation between height and mortality risk.

A longitudinal study of men who had served in the Italian military found that those under 161.1 cm (approx. 53) lived longer than those over 161.1 cm. This study looked at the death rates of men born between 1866 and 1915 in the same Italian village.

Researchers found that at 70 years old, the taller men were expected to live approximately 2 years less than those who were shorter.

During the years when study participants were born, the average height for men in the village was around 52. By current standards, this is relatively short.

Its also important to note that the researchers did not correlate variables, such as weight and BMI (body mass index), for this study.

A 2017 study on height and lifespan in former professional basketball players found that larger body size yielded reduced longevity. This study analyzed the height and life span of 3,901 living and deceased basketball players who played between 1946-2010.

The players had an average height of 197.78 cm. (approx. 65 tall). In this study, the tallest players in the top 5 percent for height died younger than the shortest players in the bottom 5 percent. Those born between 1941-1950 were an exception to these findings.

Researchers were quick to note that variables such as genotype variations, socioeconomic factors, medical care, weight, education, nutrition, exercise, and smoking were all factors that also play a role in determining longevity.

The FOX03 genotype and its relationship to height and longevity was analyzed in an observational study of 8,003 American men of Japanese descent.

The FOX03 gene is consistently linked to longevity in human and animal studies. It is also linked to body size, and may be one reason why shorter people may have longer lifespans.

In this study, men who were 52 or shorter were more likely to have a protective form of the FOX03 gene, and lived the longest. Those over 54 had shorter lifespans.

Shorter men were also shown to have less incidence of cancer, and lower fasting insulin levels. FOX03 is a key regulatory gene in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway.

It is not completely understood why, or even if, shorter people are destined to live longer. Much more research is needed.

Currently, there are multiple theories:

Health complications which may be correlated with height include cancer and other conditions. Heres what the science says.

A 2016 study of American men and women found a connection between height and cancer risk, as well as death from all causes. Researchers analyzed death certificate data for 14,440 men and 16,390 women aged 25 and up.

According to researchers, an additional inch increase in height generated a 2.2 percent higher risk of death from all causes for men, and a 2.5 percent higher risk of death from all causes for women.

An additional inch increase in height generated a 7.1 percent higher risk of death from cancer for men, and a 5.7 percent higher risk of death from cancer for women.

The researchers controlled for education level and birthdays. They concluded that their findings indicated a positive increase in accessibility to excellent medical care, for conditions other than cancer, in the participants.

Cancer risk and height was analyzed in a 2013 study of 144,701 postmenopausal women. Being tall was positively associated with getting all types of cancer, including cancers of the thyroid, breast, colon, and ovaries.

Height was found to have a modest, but statistically significant, impact upon acquisition of cancer.

The researchers analyzed data from women who did not have a prior history of cancer. They also attempted to adjust for weight and body mass index.

Many variables may have had an impact on study findings, in addition to height. For example, rates of smoking and alcohol intake were shown to increase with increasing height.

Education level, ethnicity, income level, plus use of oral contraceptives and hormone therapy, may all have had an impact. Rates of cancer screenings were found to play no role in study findings.

Recurrences of VTE were found to occur more often in taller women than in those of shorter stature in multiple studies. In this instance, simply having longer legs and longer veins where a thrombus might occur may be the reason.

Age, obesity, and long-term hospitalizations are other potential risk factors for this condition.

Many factors impact upon longevity, and height may be one of them. However, this doesnt mean that taller people are destined to live short lives, or that short people are destined to live long ones.

Lifestyle choices can also greatly impact disease acquisition and longevity. To be healthier and potentially increase your lifespan, you can:

Multiple studies have found a correlation between height and longevity. Short people have been found to resist certain diseases such as cancer, and to live longer lives.

But these studies, while compelling, are far from conclusive. The best thing you can do if youre concerned about longevity is to make lifestyle choices that have a positive effect on your lifespan regardless of how tall you are.

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Do Short People Live Longer? What We Know - Healthline


Hereford Thrives In Uncertain Year – Drovers Magazine

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Despite the challenges of 2020, the American Hereford Association reports breed growth. In a year that was anything but predictable, Hereford breeders and the American Hereford Association (AHA) continued to add value to Hereford genetics. Year-end reports shared during the Associations recent annual meeting show their efforts paid off.

As the commercial industry has looked to add crossbreeding back into the programs to increase fertility, longevity, disposition all the things that are known in Hereford cattle its created a great opportunity for us, says Jack Ward, AHA executive vice president.

Ward reports the Association experienced increases in registrations and memberships this fiscal year, while sale averages climbed. The real excitement within our breed and within our membership is in its growth, Ward says.Its seen growth because the breeders have been committed to genetic improvement and providing the tools necessary to make the changes to produce the type of product that their customers need and then, ultimately, the consumer. Its all encompassing.

A drive for genetic improvement includes a focus on the female. The Association incorporated genomic information into its suite of maternal traits, and female genotypes accounted for almost 60% of the 25,000 genotypes submitted to the organization during the fiscal year.

I really think that speaks highly to our breeders commitment to really get the most of the females that theyre keeping, says Shane Bedwell, AHA chief operating officer and director of breed improvement. Youll find about a 20% to 25%, up to a 30%, increase in those maternal traits in the last three years.

The Association also reports tremendous strides in other economically relevant traits, including carcass. Weve made incredible improvements in postweaning growth and end product merit, Bedwell adds. Thats evident in the amount of cattle that are now grading well in the Hereford breed.

Benefits in conversion and cost of gain have more producers utilizing the Associations commercial programs like Hereford Advantage to add value to Hereford and Hereford-influenced calves.Meanwhile, Certified Hereford Beef celebrated its 25th anniversary and another successful year.

No matter where you drive in the U.S., you find Hereford cattle. Theyre adaptable, they work hard. Theyre efficient, Bedwell notes. We need efficient cattle in these times and in our production system, and Hereford genetics thrive. Ward adds, Producers want it all and, with Herefords, you can Come Home to Hereford, use good Hereford genetics and take advantage of those opportunities.

Learn more about additional AHA opportunities or news from AHAs 2020 Annual Meeting at Youll find a series of highlights, including the presentation of more than $150,000 in scholarships, as well as breed honorees and other Hereford news. Virtual educational sessions covering topics from genomics to marketing are also available.

Merck Animal Health, Neogen Corporation, National Cattlemens Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association were among major sponsors of the AHA Annual Membership Meeting and Conference.

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Hereford Thrives In Uncertain Year - Drovers Magazine


Women’s Menstrual Cycles Tied to Moon’s Phases – HealthDay News

Monday, February 1st, 2021

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There have long been theories that women's menstrual cycles align with the moon, and now a new study suggests there's some truth to that.

Using years of records kept by 22 women, researchers found that for many, menstrual cycles "intermittently" synced up with the phases of the moon.

The link happened only about one-quarter of the time for women aged 35 or younger, and just 9% of the time for older women. There was a great deal of variance, though, among individuals.

And for a few women, there were hints that excessive exposure to artificial light at night could have thrown off any moon-menstruation synchrony.

One expert called the findings "interesting," and said they might reflect remnants of a lunar influence that benefited humans' ancient ancestors.

Early primates were nocturnal creatures, so a degree of moon-influenced behavior would make sense for them, according to Deena Emera.

Emera, who was not involved in the study, is an evolutionary geneticist based at the Buck Institute's Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality, in California.

Mating is risky business, Emera noted, as it makes animals vulnerable to predators. So mating during the new moon, under cover of more darkness, would be a "reasonable strategy," she said.

That also means there would be an advantage to ovulation being timed to the new moon.

"I think any [moon-menstruation] synchronization seen today is probably a relic of an ancient primate trait," Emera said.

She also stressed that women need not worry if their menstrual cycles are not wedded to the moon.

"We're so different from those early rodent-like primates," Emera said. "We certainly don't need to sync our cycles to the moon to successfully reproduce."

The study, published online Jan. 27 in the journal Science Advances, is far from the first to investigate moon-menstruation correlations.

The most obvious one is that both lunar and menstrual cycles are roughly one month long. But research dating back to the 1950s has suggested other links: Women were found to commonly start their periods around the time of the full moon. That would mean ovulation happened near the new moon, two weeks before.

However, relatively more recent studies uncovered no such links.

"I was puzzled by the discrepancy between these quite old results and later studies," said Charlotte Helfrich-Frster, the lead researcher on the new study. She's chair of neurobiology and genetics at the University of Wrzburg, in Germany.

Helfrich-Frster's team took a different approach. Instead of studying a large group of women and looking for broad patterns, they had 22 women keep menstruation diaries, which they did for an average of 15 years, and up to 32 years.

Among women aged 35 or younger, the researchers found, menstrual periods synced up with the moon phases about 24% of the time. But the women varied widely: Some were aligned with the moon more often than not, while others never were.

Three women in the "never" category also reported substantial exposure to artificial light at night.

However, Helfrich-Frster said, it's not possible to say whether the bright lights of modern life have disrupted any synchrony between women's cycles and the moon.

Like Emera, she framed the findings in evolutionary terms, but within human history.

Long ago, Helfrich-Frster said, it would have been prudent to stay inside on dark new-moon nights. And why not use that time to mate? In theory, she explained, women who regularly ovulated around new-moon time would have more children and "spread their genes that inherit the timing to the moon."

When it comes to links between lunar rhythms and reproduction, many studies have found them in sea animals, said Satchidananda Panda, an adjunct professor of biological sciences at the University of California, San Diego.

But, he said, that is seen only rarely in today's primates.

Panda said the current study "opens up another line of scientific investigation on biological rhythms."

He also speculated that in humans, the moon might indirectly influence menstrual cycles.

"For example," Panda said, "many cultural activities in ancestral societies, or even in modern-day Asia and Africa, are on full-moon days or tied to the lunar cycle."

Certain foods consumed during those events, like soybeans, might affect hormonal activity, he added.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more on the menstrual cycle.

SOURCES: Charlotte Helfrich-Frster, PhD, chair, neurobiology and genetics, University of Wrzburg, Germany; Deena Emera, PhD, Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality, Buck Institute, Novato, Calif.; Satchidananda Panda, PhD, adjunct professor, biological sciences, University of California, San Diego, and professor, Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif.; Science Advances, Jan. 27, 2021, online

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Women's Menstrual Cycles Tied to Moon's Phases - HealthDay News


Is The Full Moon Affecting Your Sleep and Flow? – Longevity LIVE – Longevity LIVE

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Specifically, the study found that in women aged 35 or younger, their cycles synced up with the moon phases about 24% of the time. That said, the researchers also noted that synchronization slowly disappeared over time as the women grew older, and found that the link lessened as a result of increased exposure to artificial light.

It appears that menstrual cycles arent the only thing that can be altered or affected by the moon.

The study, published on the 27th of January, involved researchers analyzing the sleep patterns of 98 people from the Toba Indigenous communities located in northeast Argentina. One group was rural, with no access to electricity, the second had limited access to electricity and the third was located in an urban setting with full access.

According to study co-author, Horacio de la Iglesia, their reason for this was because they are all ethnically and socioculturally homogeneous, so it has become an outstanding opportunity to address questions about sleep under different levels of urbanization without other confounding effects.

In addition to collecting data through the use of sleep-monitoring wrist devices, the researchers also used sleep data from 464 college students in the Seattle area. It should be noted that the college student data had been originally collected for a separate study.

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Calico Purring Right Along With Life Extension Research – Nanalyze

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Earlier this month, Alphabet (GOOG) took the air out of its Loon subsidiary, a former moonshot project for deploying internet around the world using high-flying balloons. Apparently, the economics just didnt work out. No word on how much Googles parent company spent on Loon, but SoftBank had sunk $125 million into the business in 2019. This seems like the latest sign that the tech giant is tightening its belt a bit in an increasingly risky regulatory environment. That made us wonder whats happening with another venture that isnt contributing anything to its bottom line. Lets dive into Calico, a subsidiary focused on life extension research and development.

Calico is pretty much the opposite of Verily Life Sciences, the Alphabet unit working to digitize healthcare in every possible way. Verily is one of the few companies that does generate some revenue among the $461 million that its sideline subsidiaries earned through the first nine months of 2020. Some of the joint ventures connected to Verily are developing apps or new medical devices, with a certain amount of publicity and transparency. Calico operates more like a nonprofit research center thats secretly working on some biotech version of the Manhattan Project, so most of what we read is pretty superficial and saccharine.

At face value, Calico is pure anti-aging R&D, starting at the very beginning of the problem with what is aging? For example, one of its public-facing projects involves studying how yeast ages, apparently without in situ experiments involving a teenagers room. The premise (in very broad strokes) is that if we can understand how yeast age at the cellular level, we could all one day look like Brad Pitt forever. But the biggest news to emerge is that Calico scientists created a bit of new technology to help analyze the yeast cells, enabling genome-wide characterization of the aging process, which certainly sounds significant and was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The Miniature-chemostat Aging Device (MAD) purifies 50 million old cells in a single test tube to speed up the search for genetic biomarkers of aging. An additional platform that sounds similar to the technology used in lab-on-a-chip solutions developed by companies like Berkeley Lights (BLI) allows scientists to observe the entire aging process in single cells hundreds of thousands each week allowing them to screen for lifespan-extending modifications that can increase the yeast lifespan beyond that of your ordinary lab yeast. The company integrated computer vision and machine learning to recognize cell division from time-lapse images or to measure the age of a cell directly from static images.

While a new cell-counting gizmo using AI sounds great, thats certainly not something out of reach for any large research university. Calico is a company that has at least $2.5 billion in funding thanks to its most high-profile partnership with AbbVie (ABBV), a pharmaceutical company with a market cap of nearly $200 billion as of late January 2021.

The companies first joined forces in September 2014. Three years later, Calico and AbbVie had already burned through $1 billion, but that didnt stop the duo from extending their research collaboration and kicking in another $500 million each, according to the San Francisco Business Times. So you would think theres some high-pressure expectation to produce an anti-aging Brad Pitt pill or something significant. What has all that money produced? According to the company, the partnership has resulted in two dozen early-stage programs addressing disease states across oncology and neuroscience and new insights into the biology of aging.

The 2018 deal makes Calico responsible for research and early development until 2022 and for advanced collaboration projects through Phase 2a clinical trials through 2027. In fact, theres actually a whisper of something finally gaining traction. Endpoints News was the first to report that a team from Calico and AbbVie is conducting a phase 1 safety study to test a drug called ABBV-CLS-579 for treating solid tumors. The article also noted how one of the companys principal investigators just published a paper in Nature on how Calico is using AI to predict genome folding from DNA sequence alone.

Calico is mining for answers to longevity in human DNA by creating its own hardware and software to automate and accelerate that search. One of its other high-profile ventures, in fact, involved mining the genetic database of for three years. The Holy Grail was to find genetic commonalities among those who live longer, but research delivered some unexpected results. Another study based on the Ancestry data in another prestigious journal, Genetics, found that while longevity runs in families, DNA isnt as strong an influence on how long an individual lives, so just because Grandpa Joe lived to 103 doesnt mean youre going to outlive a lifetime of junk food.

Other ongoing collaborations include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and C4 Therapeutics (CCCC), a small-cap biotech company focused on treating diseases of aging, including cancer, by degrading proteins known to drive disease.

Pretty much every story on Calico refers to the fact that the former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, who has a PhD in biochemistry, is in charge of the Alphabet subsidiary. Acquired by Roche for nearly $47 billion about a dozen years ago, Genentech was considered the worlds oldest and most successful biotechnology company. Its also worth noting that he serves on the boards of Apple and the Broad Institute, as well as formerly served on the boards of small-cap biotechs, including Amyris Biotechnologies, a synthetic biology stock. He is also an advisor on a bunch of scientific boards. So the assumption is that this guy knows what hes doing in terms of his scientific expertise needed to lead one of the most well-funded, private, anti-aging R&D labs in the world.

As we told you more than five years ago, Calico will likely forever be an innovation lab similar to Alphabets DeepMind AI lab in London. The only thing close to a pure-play in the longevity theme is perhaps C4 Therapeutics, which has developed a novel platform for harnessing the bodys natural mechanisms for regulating protein levels to fight diseases of aging. But the Boston area biopharmaceutical company is on pace to double its losses in 2020 from 2019, and it gets all of its revenue from collaboration agreements like the one with Calico. Well just have to wait for a Brad Pitt pill and make our money on the market the old-fashioned way over time.

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Calico Purring Right Along With Life Extension Research - Nanalyze


Dr. William Kelley inducted into IAOTPs Hall of Fame – PRUnderground

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Dr. William N. Kelley, MACP, MACR, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, was recently inducted into the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) Hall of Fame.

Being selected by the International Association of Top Professionals is an esteemed honor, as only 20 IAOTP members are inducted each year into the exclusive Hall of Fame. These special honorees are distinguished by their longevity in their fields, the contributions they have made to society, and the impact they have had on their industries.

With over five decades of professional experience as an Educator, Physician Scientist, and Medical Doctor, Dr. Kelley has undoubtedly proven himself an extraordinary professional and an expert in medical research and education. Dr. Kelley is a dynamic, results-driven leader who has demonstrated success as one of the most respected doctors in America. In the early 1990s at PENN, Dr. Kelley, in his role as Dean of the Medical School and CEO of the Health System (the combination now known as PENN Medicine), began to build a broad research program focused on the creation of gene-based medicine and vaccines as a new method for preventing and curing human disease. While the road was a rocky one over the last three decades, he is proud to note that PENN Medicine is now the global leader in this new field. This includes the two recently FDA approved mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer) to prevent COVID-19 which came from the PENN Medicine research laboratories of Doctors Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman. He is noted for developing the first fully integrated university-based academic health system in the country at the University of Pennsylvania and expanding the Medical Centers regional footprint by acquiring hospitals and private practices, including Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Kelleys impressive repertoire of roles has included Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and Founding CEO of the Penn Health System (now known as Penn Medicine).

Prior appointments included Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, and Chief of Rheumatic and Genetic Diseases at Duke University, followed by Professor of Biological Chemistry and Internal Medicine, and Chair of Internal Medicine with the Medical School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Kelley was known for his breakthrough research and leadership of academic medical programs at Duke and the University of Michigan when he arrived at Penn. During Dr. Kelleys Tenure, the Perelman School became a research powerhouse moving the school into the top 3 rankings for NIH funding. There is now a Professorship named in his honor at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr. Kelley earned his Doctor of Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, in 1963 and subsequently served an internship and residency in Medicine at the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX. He completed his senior residency in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Kelleys other titles have included Clinical Associate in Human Biochemical Genetics with the National Institutes of Health, Educator to Fellow of Medicine at Harvard University, and Macy Faculty scholar at the University of Oxford in England. Later in his career, he received an honorary Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

The President of IAOTP, Stephanie Cirami, stated, Inducting Dr. Kelley into our Hall of Fame was an effortless decision for our panel to make. In addition to his long list of accomplishments and accolades, he is well regarded and well recognized in academic medicine. We are thrilled to honor him in this way and look forward to celebrating his success with him.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Kelley has received many awards, accolades and has been recognized worldwide for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the profession. He will be honored at IAOTPs 2021 Annual Awards Gala, being held at the Plaza Hotel in NYC for his selection as Top Professor of the Year in Medicine for 2020; he will be inducted on stage at the ceremony for his appointment into the Hall of Fame. In 2018 he received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, Dr. Kelley was presented with the Kober Medal by the Association of American Physicians and the Emory Medal in 2000 from his alma mater, Emory University. He was the recipient of the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the John Phillips Award of the American College of Physicians, the Gold Medal Award from the American College of Rheumatology, the Robert H. Williams Award from the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, and the National Medical Research Award from the National Health Council. Dr. Kelley has been featured in many magazines and publications, including Whos Who in America, Whos Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and Whos Who in the World.

Aside from his successful career, Dr. Kelley is a sought-after lecturer, speaker, and contributor to numerous professional journals and chapters to books. He was the co-inventor of a Viral-Mediated Gene Transfer System, now the most commonly used method today for in vivo gene therapy. Dr. Kelley founded and edited numerous early editions of Kelley and Firesteins Textbook of Rheumatology and Kelleys Textbook of Internal Medicine. He was also editor-in-chief for Essentials of Internal Medicine and co-editor of Arthritis Surgery and Emerging Policies for Bio-Medical Research. Dr. Kelley has served on the Board of Directors for many public companies such as Beckman Coulter, Inc. and Merck & Co., Inc, and has been involved with many committees and subcommittees with the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Looking back, Dr. Kelley attributes his success to his perseverance, his education, his mentors as well as outstanding students and trainees he has had along the way. When not working, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. For the future, he hopes that his contributions will continue to improve human health worldwide.

For more information on Dr. Kelley please visit:

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The International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an international boutique networking organization that handpicks the worlds finest, most prestigious top professionals from different industries. These top professionals are given an opportunity to collaborate, share their ideas, be keynote speakers, and to help influence others in their fields. This organization is not a membership that anyone can join. You have to be asked by the President or be nominated by a distinguished honorary member after a brief interview.

IAOTPs experts have given thousands of top prestigious professionals around the world, the recognition and credibility that they deserve andhave helped in building their branding empires.IAOTP prides itself to bea one of a kind boutique networking organization that hand picks only the best of the best and creates a networking platform that connects and brings these top professionals to one place.

For More information on IAOTP please visit:

Dr. William Kelley inducted into IAOTPs Hall of Fame - PRUnderground


Baptist Health of Northeast Florida Joins Forces with Blue Zones to Begin Building a Plan for Well-Being Transformation in Jacksonville – PR Web

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Baptist Healths vision is A Lifetime of Health, Together. That vision extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and calls us to help all people in the community live longer and healthier lives. -- Brett McClung, President and CEO of Baptist Health

MINNEAPOLIS (PRWEB) January 26, 2021

Baptist Health has invited Blue Zones to bring its expertise in well-being innovation to Jacksonville. The first phase is a Blue Zones Activate assessment and feasibility study that will help determine how to make Jacksonville a healthier and happier place to live, work, and grow old.

Research shows that where people live has a significant influence on their health even more than their genetics. Blue Zones tackles this "zip code effect" by using scientifically proven lessons of longevity, health, and happiness gleaned from their 20 years of international research to boost the well-being of entire communities.

By focusing on making permanent and semi-permanent changes to the Life Radius--the area close to home where people spend 90% of their lives--Blue Zones has helped hundreds of communities achieve measurable improvements in its residents health.

Baptist Healths vision is A Lifetime of Health, Together, said Brett McClung, President and CEO of Baptist Health. That vision extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and calls us to help all people in the community live longer and healthier lives. We are excited to build on a long legacy of community partnership by inviting Blue Zones, a proven leader in community-led health improvement, to help Jacksonville learn some new and innovative ways to achieve transformational results.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this work begins at a time when public focus is now, more than ever, on the interconnectedness of our health to that of our friends and neighbors. As a proven and comprehensive solution influencing social determinants of health and improving health equity, the Blue Zones approach for strengthening community well-being will be critical as we navigate recovery.

In the assessment phase, which begins in January and concludes with recommendations in May, Blue Zones collaborates with local leaders to assess readiness and build a plan for change. The Blue Zones team, made up of global experts in food systems, the built environment, tobacco and alcohol use, health equity, and happiness, will work with local experts and leaders to assess the highest priority needs and opportunities, as well as strengths and challenges.

Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones said, We are excited to learn from and share our knowledge with Jacksonville leaders, and we applaud Baptist Health for spearheading this movement. Improved well-being leads to healthier and happier residents, a better and more productive workforce, and a more vibrant economy. We are excited to create a transformation plan for Jacksonville that will improve the lives of current and future generations.

For more information on Blue Zones Activate or to learn how to get involved, visit

About Blue Zones Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The companys work is rooted in explorations and research done by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner in Blue Zones regions around the world, where people live extraordinarily long and/or happy lives. The original research and findings were released in Buettner's bestselling books The Blue Zones Solution, The Blue Zones of Happiness, The Blue Zones, Thrive, and Blue Zones Kitchenall published by National Geographic books. Using original Blue Zones research, Blue Zones works with cities and counties to make healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to our human-made surroundings. Participating communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity and tobacco use and have saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs. For more information, visit

About Baptist Health Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Childrens Hospital the regions only childrens hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a highly integrated regional hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the areas only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; womens services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and two primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care, which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit

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Baptist Health of Northeast Florida Joins Forces with Blue Zones to Begin Building a Plan for Well-Being Transformation in Jacksonville - PR Web


Is longevity determined by genetics?: MedlinePlus Genetics

Monday, January 25th, 2021

The duration of human life (longevity) is influenced by genetics, the environment, and lifestyle. Environmental improvements beginning in the 1900s extended the average life span dramatically with significant improvements in the availability of food and clean water, better housing and living conditions, reduced exposure to infectious diseases, and access to medical care. Most significant were public health advances that reduced premature death by decreasing the risk of infant mortality, increasing the chances of surviving childhood, and avoiding infection and communicable disease. Now people in the United States live about 80 years on average, but some individuals survive for much longer.

Scientists are studying people in their nineties (called nonagenarians) and hundreds (called centenarians, including semi-supercentenarians of ages 105-109 years and supercentenarians, ages 110+) to determine what contributes to their long lives. They have found that long-lived individuals have little in common with one another in education, income, or profession. The similarities they do share, however, reflect their lifestylesmany are nonsmokers, are not obese, and cope well with stress. Also, most are women. Because of their healthy habits, these older adults are less likely to develop age-related chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, than their same-age peers.

The siblings and children (collectively called first-degree relatives) of long-lived individuals are more likely to remain healthy longer and to live to an older age than their peers. People with centenarian parents are less likely at age 70 to have the age-related diseases that are common among older adults. The brothers and sisters of centenarians typically have long lives, and if they develop age-related diseases (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes), these diseases appear later than they do in the general population. Longer life spans tend to run in families, which suggests that shared genetics, lifestyle, or both play an important role in determining longevity.

The study of longevity genes is a developing science. It is estimated that about 25 percent of the variation in human life span is determined by genetics, but which genes, and how they contribute to longevity, are not well understood. A few of the common variations (called polymorphisms) associated with long life spans are found in the APOE, FOXO3, and CETP genes, but they are not found in all individuals with exceptional longevity. It is likely that variants in multiple genes, some of which are unidentified, act together to contribute to a long life.

Whole genome sequencing studies of supercentenarians have identified the same gene variants that increase disease risk in people who have average life spans. The supercentenarians, however, also have many other newly identified gene variants that possibly promote longevity. Scientists speculate that for the first seven or eight decades, lifestyle is a stronger determinant of health and life span than genetics. Eating well, not drinking too much alcohol, avoiding tobacco, and staying physically active enable some individuals to attain a healthy old age; genetics then appears to play a progressively important role in keeping individuals healthy as they age into their eighties and beyond. Many nonagenarians and centenarians are able to live independently and avoid age-related diseases until the very last years of their lives.

Some of the gene variants that contribute to a long life are involved with the basic maintenance and function of the bodys cells. These cellular functions include DNA repair, maintenance of the ends of chromosomes (regions called telomeres), and protection of cells from damage caused by unstable oxygen-containing molecules (free radicals). Other genes that are associated with blood fat (lipid) levels, inflammation, and the cardiovascular and immune systems contribute significantly to longevity because they reduce the risk of heart disease (the main cause of death in older people), stroke, and insulin resistance.

In addition to studying the very old in the United States, scientists are also studying a handful of communities in other parts of the world where people often live into their nineties and olderOkinawa (Japan), Ikaria (Greece), and Sardinia (Italy). These three regions are similar in that they are relatively isolated from the broader population in their countries, are lower income, have little industrialization, and tend to follow a traditional (non-Western) lifestyle. Unlike other populations of the very old, the centenarians on Sardinia include a significant proportion of men. Researchers are studying whether hormones, sex-specific genes, or other factors may contribute to longer lives among men as well as women on this island.

Martin GM, Bergman A, Barzilai N. Genetic determinants of human health span and life span: progress and new opportunities. PLoS Genet. 2007 Jul;3(7):e125. PubMed: 17677003. Free full-text available from PubMed Central: PMC1934400.

Sebastiani P, Gurinovich A, Bae H, Andersen S, Malovini A, Atzmon G, Villa F, Kraja AT, Ben-Avraham D, Barzilai N, Puca A, Perls TT. Four genome-wide association studies identify new extreme longevity variants. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Oct 12;72(11):1453-1464. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx027. PubMed: 28329165.

Sebastiani P, Solovieff N, Dewan AT, Walsh KM, Puca A, Hartley SW, Melista E, Andersen S, Dworkis DA, Wilk JB, Myers RH, Steinberg MH, Montano M, Baldwin CT, Hoh J, Perls TT. Genetic signatures of exceptional longevity in humans. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29848. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029848. Epub 2012 Jan 18. PubMed: 22279548. Free full-text available from PubMed Central: PMC3261167.

Wei M, Brandhorst S, Shelehchi M, Mirzaei H, Cheng CW, Budniak J, Groshen S, Mack WJ, Guen E, Di Biase S, Cohen P, Morgan TE, Dorff T, Hong K, Michalsen A, Laviano A, Longo VD. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Feb 15;9(377). pii: eaai8700. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8700. PubMed: 28202779.

Young RD. Validated living worldwide supercentenarians, living and recently deceased: February 2018. Rejuvenation Res. 2018 Feb 1. doi: 10.1089/rej.2018.2057. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed: 29390945.

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Optogenetics Shows How the Microbiome Affects Longevity

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Studies have shown that gut microbes can influence several aspects of the hosts life, including aging. Given the complexity and heterogeneity of the human gut environment, elucidating how a specific microbial species contributes to longevity has been challenging.

To explore the influence of bacterial products on the aging process, scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University developed a method that uses light to directly control gene expression and metabolite production from bacteria residing in the gut of the laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

The team reports (Optogenetic control of gut bacterial metabolism to promote longevity) ineLife that green-light-induced production of colanic acid by resident Escherichia colibacteria protected gut cells against stress-induced cellular damage and extended the worms lifespan. The researchers indicate that this method can be applied to study other bacteria and propose that it also might provide in the future a new way to fine-tune bacterial metabolism in the host gut to deliver health benefits with minimal side effects.

Gut microbial metabolism is associated with host longevity. However, because it requires direct manipulation of microbial metabolism in situ, establishing a causal link between these two processes remains challenging. We demonstrate an optogenetic method to control gene expression and metabolite production from bacteria residing in the host gut. We genetically engineer an E. coli strain that secretes colanic acid (CA) under the quantitative control of light, the investigators wrote.

Using this optogenetically-controlled strain to induce CA production directly in theC. elegansgut, we reveal the local effect of CA in protecting intestinal mitochondria from stress-induced hyper-fragmentation. We also demonstrate that the lifespan-extending effect of this strain is positively correlated with the intensity of green light, indicating a dose-dependent CA benefit on the host.

Thus, optogenetics can be used to achieve quantitative and temporal control of [the microbiome] metabolism in order to reveal its local and systemic effects on host health and aging.

We used optogenetics, a method that combines light and genetically engineered light-sensitive proteins to regulate molecular events in a targeted manner in living cells or organisms, said co-corresponding author Meng Wang, PhD, the Robert C. Fyfe endowed chair on aging and professor of molecular and human genetics at the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor.

In the current work, the team engineered E. coli to produce the pro-longevity compound colanic acid in response to green light and switch off its production in red light. They discovered that shining the green light on the transparent worms carrying the modified E. coli induced the bacteria to produce colanic acid, which protected the worms gut cells against stress-induced mitochondrial fragmentation. Mitochondria have been increasingly recognized as important players in the aging process.

When exposed to green light, worms carrying this E. coli strain also lived longer. The stronger the light, the longer the lifespan, continued Wang, who is also an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of Baylors Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Optogenetics offers a direct way to manipulate gut bacterial metabolism in a temporally, quantitatively, and spatially controlled manner and enhance host fitness.

For instance, this work suggests that we could engineer gut bacteria to secrete more colanic acid to combat age-related health issues, added co-corresponding author Jeffrey Tabor, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering and biosciences at Rice University. Researchers also can use this optogenetic method to unravel other mechanisms by which microbial metabolism drives host physiological changes and influences health and disease.

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Optogenetics Shows How the Microbiome Affects Longevity


9 Factors That Affect Longevity | ThinkAdvisor

Monday, January 25th, 2021

1. Gender: According to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, mortality rates for females are lower at each age than those of men. Women live longer than men, on average.The current overall life expectancy for U.S. men is 76.4 years, and 82.9 years for men at age 65. Overall life expectancy for U.S. women is 81.2 years, or 85.5 years for women at age 65.

2. Genetics: Genetics may play a role in nine of the top 10 causes of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

3. Prenatal and childhood conditions: Poor conditions in utero, at birth and in very early childhood are associated with higher mortality even at advanced ages, according to IFA. The Society of Actuaries has been studying the impact of early childhood conditions on exceptional longevity, including whether growing up in certain geographic areas is associated with differing life expectancies.

4. Education:Higher education levels are linked to higher socio-economic status and both are linked to improved longevity, according to Hall and Peterson. For those with a bachelor's degree or higher, life expectancy at age 25 increased by 1.9 years for men and 2.8 years for women, according to the CDC.

5. Socio-economic status: Among other things, socio-economic status can affect a persons ability to access adequate medical care and their participation in healthier lifestyle habits like exercising more, smoking less and maintaining a healthy weight.

6. Marital status: Married people have lower mortality rates than those who were never married, are divorced or are widowed, according to IFA. Various studies suggest that marriage or committed relationships may improve cardiac health, help combat isolation and loneliness that can negatively impact mental health, and motivate people to make healthier choices like keeping regular doctor visits and giving up unhealthy habits.

7. Ethnicity/migrant status: The CDC tracks data related to ethnicity and life expectancy. According to 2011 data compiled by the CDC, life expectancy is highest among Hispanic people both male and female. Life expectancy ranged from 71.7 years for non-Hispanic black males to 83.7 years for Hispanic females. Ethnicity or migrant status may also be associated with socio-economic status. (Image: Shutterstock)

8. Lifestyle: Historically, lifestyle factors that affect mortality include an unhealthy diet, inadequate exercise, tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol, risky behaviors, food safety, work place safety and motor vehicle safety. Today, the major lifestyle factor that affects mortality is obesity.

9. Medical technology: Development of antibiotics and immunizations, as well as improvements in imaging, surgery, cardiac care and organ transplants all have helped push the average life expectancy higher.

Longevity has been increasing over the past century thanks to medical advances and lifestyle improvements. Not only has the average life expectancy increased since 1900, but a larger number of people are living to older ages, driven in part by a steep decline in the high infant mortality rate that characterized the early 1900s.

Life expectancy once a person reaches age 65 is now about to 84 years of age in the United States and about 86 in Japan. Life expectancy in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom fall between 84 and 86 for people at age 65, according to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

R. Dale Hall and Andrew Peterson of the Society of Actuaries detailed trends in longevity and factors that affect it at LIMRAs Retirement Industry Conference earlier this month in Boston. The pair then introduced a new longevity tool, designed tohelp consumers and advisors estimate how long of a retirement they may need to plan for. Life expectancy likely will continue to increase but at a slower rate in the future, including at older ages, they said.

Hall and Peterson outlined several factors, based on data from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, associated with mortality that affect whether a person is likely to live to or beyond the average life expectancy. Multiple factors influence mortality and are important to consider in financial planning for retirement.

Here are nine factors that may impact mortality and longevity.

According to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, mortality rates for females are lower at each age than those of men. Women live longer than men, on average.

The current overall life expectancy for U.S. men is 76.4 years, and 82.9 years for men at age 65. Overall life expectancy for U.S. women is 81.2 years, or 85.5 years for women at age 65.

Some studies attribute this gap in part to riskier behavior among men that may lead to higher rates of accidents.

There appears to be a link between genetic factors and mortality rates. Genetics may play a role in nine of the top 10 causes of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC lists the leading causes of death in the United States as:

Poor conditions in utero, at birth and in very early childhood are associated with higher mortality even at advanced ages, according to IFA. The Society of Actuaries has been studying the impact of early childhood conditions on exceptional longevity, including whether growing up in a city or farm environment affects longevity, as well as whether growing up in certain geographic areas is associated with differing life expectancies.

Higher education levels are linked to higher socio-economic status and both are linked to improved longevity, according to Hall and Peterson.

For those with a bachelors degree or higher, life expectancy at age 25 increased by 1.9 years for men and 2.8 years for women, according to the CDC. On average, a 25-year-old man without a high school diploma has a life expectancy 9.3 years less than a man with a bachelors degree or higher. Women with a high school diploma have a life expectancy 8.6 years less than their counterparts with a bachelors degree or higher, the CDC said.

Higher education levels were also associated with lower levels of obesity and tobacco use, which may correlate with greater longevity, according to CDC data.

As socio-economic status decreases, so does life expectancy, according to the IFA. Among other things, socio-economic status can affect a persons ability to access adequate medical care and their participation in healthier lifestyle habits like exercising more, smoking less and maintaining a healthy weight.

Married people have lower mortality rates than those who were never married, are divorced or are widowed, according to IFA. Various studies suggest that marriage or committed relationships may improve cardiac health, help combat isolation and loneliness that can negatively impact mental health, and motivate people to make healthier choices like keeping regular doctor visits and giving up unhealthy habits.

The CDC tracks data related to ethnicity and life expectancy. According to 2011 data compiled by the CDC, life expectancy is highest among Hispanic people both male and female. Life expectancy ranged from 71.7 years for non-Hispanic black males to 83.7 years for Hispanic females.

Ethnicity or migrant status may also be associated with socio-economic status. Mortality of migrant people appears to vary as a result of differences in average mortality between host and home countries, as well as healthy selection for migration or return and length of residence in the host country, IFA said.

Historically, lifestyle factors that affect mortality include an unhealthy diet, inadequate exercise, tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol, risky behaviors, food safety, work place safety and motor vehicle safety. Today, the major lifestyle factor that affects mortality is obesity. Nearly 5 percent of adults are considered extremely obese, compared with about 1 percent in 1962; more than 30 percent are considered obese compared with about 13 percent in 1962; and nearly 70 percent of adults are overweight today compared with about 46 percent in 1962.

Advances in medicine and medical technology have had a major impact on increased longevity. Development of antibiotics and immunizations, as well as improvements in imaging, surgery, cardiac care and organ transplants all have helped push the average life expectancy higher.

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