What was New in Longevity in Jan 2024?
Interested in what’s new in the longevity field?
So were we and when browsing through life expectancy research, along with aging and longevity topics, we found that there were quite a few interesting pieces of news in January regarding the topic, so let’s get you up to speed about what’s been happening!
Scientists can now tell us how fast we’re aging!
A GrimAge test — testing our biological age — can estimate how quickly or slowly we’re aging.
It’s based on DNA methylation, where scientists check if methyl groups have attached to our DNA — they turn our genes on and off — helping determine our biological age and is possibly a reliable way to predict our lifespan and healthspan.
Did you know: When we smoke, lots of locations in our DNA gain methylation.
Those in ‘Blue Zones’ Live Longer
The AKEA study of Sardinia, Italy, identified ‘Blue Zones’ — due to them marking the area with a blue pen — where many locals living in the central-eastern mountainous areas in Sardinia are living past their 100th birthday.
Other Blue Zones around the world are Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica and now, Singapore.
But why is this?
It’s been found that people in these areas eat nutritious foods, manage their stress levels, are active, have a life purpose and are part of a community.
Since genetics only account for 20 to 25 per cent of how long we live, it’s important to manage other areas of our lives to live a long and healthy one.
Due to modern diets and habits, sadly, many of these lifestyles in the Blue Zones are disappearing.
Singapore named a Blue Zone 2.0
Singapore has been added to the list of Blue Zones, but with a twist.
Where the other Blue Zones mentioned above occurred due to natural circumstances, Singapore is an ‘engineered’ Blue Zone.
“On the contrary, we eat food that is rich in sugar, salt and santan (coconut milk in Malay), very often deep fried; we are not endowed with vast expanse of nature that encourages outdoor activities; the pace of life is fast and stressful,” said Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Health Minister said.
This is different from the other Blue Zones, so why are people living longer here?
Singaporeans walk a lot due to not many people owning a car — about 11 per cent — and it has created longevity infrastructure and programs that help people live a healthier life, such as through economic security accessible health care, good public health policies and stable governance.
ADH-1 Enzyme Found to Help with Healthy Aging
Researchers at the University of Virginia have identified a key enzyme, ADH-1, that is key in breaking down fat by-products such as glycerol, in the intestines and muscles.
Those undergoing calorie restriction, dietary restriction and who are on rapamycin also experience high ADH-1 levels.
Researchers are now exploring how elevated ADH-1 levels can promote health in old age by lowering harmful levels of glycerol.
Those Who Reach High Education Live Longer Lives
Individuals who study at a higher education level significantly reduce their risk of death, regardless of their age, sex, location or background, a new study reveals.
In the Lancet Public Health’s study, it was found that each additional year of education decreases one’s risk of death by two per cent, meaning if one reached 18 years of education, their death risk was lowered by 34 per cent.
The data for the research was taken from 59 countries — although mostly from high-income settings — revealing just how important education across the world is.
More longevity research is needed on whether similar figures arise from low- and middle-income countries.
How Climate Change Impacts Our Lifespan
The average human lifespan may be reduced by six months due to climate change, according to a new study.
A 1oC increase in global temperatures has resulted in a roughly five-month decline in life expectancy, according to research published in PLOS Climate.
A 10-point increase in the composite climate change index corresponded to a six-month loss in average life expectancy, too.
The changes noticed primarily affected women and individuals in developing countries.
The data was taken from 191 countries over 80 years, looking at temperature, rainfall and life expectancy.
Poverty Combined with Chronic Inflammation Decreases Lifespan
In the U.S., poverty combined with chronic inflammation leads to health risks and shortened lifespan, more than each of these alone, a study found.
Published in Frontiers in Medicine, the data was taken from nearly 95 million adults and found a 127 per cent increase in death from heart disease and a 196 per cent increase in cancer mortality affected by poverty and chronic inflammation.
The study concluded that better healthcare screening is needed for socially disadvantaged individuals.
Dietary Restriction Increases Lifespan
Dietary restriction activates the OXR1 gene needed for improving lifespan and brain health, a study found.
The OXR1 gene influences our retromer complex and is needed for recycling cell proteins and neuronal function and health.
The longevity studies were made on fruit flies and human cells, suggesting the possibility of new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and healthy aging.
Hearing Aids May Reduce Mortality Risk
Using hearing aids is linked to a 24 per cent decrease of death in adults with hearing loss, a new study found.
Only one in 10 people with hearing loss actually use hearing aids, and the results were consistent regardless of the degree of hearing loss, age, demographics and medical history.
The study was based on data from over 10,000 adults.
We hope you enjoy catching up on some news from January in the longevity field. If you’re interested in researching further, all studies mentioned are linked.
Stay tuned for new longevity news 2024 and anti-aging news in February that we will compile at the end of this month!