NEW YORK: Although long life tends to run in families,
has far less influence on life span than previously thought, according to a new analysis of an aggregated set of family trees of more than 400 million people.
The study suggests that the heritability of life span is well below past estimates, which failed to account for our tendency to select partners with similar traits to our own.
“We can potentially learn many things about the biology of ageing from human genetics, but if the heritability of life span is low, it tempers our expectations about what types of things we can learn and how easy it will be,” said lead author Graham Ruby, from Calico Life Sciences — a US-based research and development company.
“It helps contextualise the questions that scientists studying ageing can effectively ask,” she added
Heritability measures how much life span can be explained by genetic differences, excluding differences like lifestyle, sociocultural factors and accidents.
While previous estimates of human life span heritability have ranged from around 15 to 30 percent, in the new study it was likely no more than seven per cent, perhaps even lower.
For the study, published in the journal Genetics, the team used online genealogy resource with subscriber-generated public family trees representing six billion ancestors.
Removing redundant entries and those from people who were still living, they stitched the remaining pedigrees together included more than 400 million people, largely Americans of European descent.
Each of them was connected to another by either a parent-child or a spouse-spouse relationship.
They focused on relatives who were born across the 19th and early 20th centuries, and noted that the life span of spouses tended to be correlated, more similar than in siblings of opposite gender.
Comparing different types of in-laws, they found that siblings-in-law and first-cousins-in-law had correlated life spans, despite not being blood relatives and not generally sharing households.
The finding that a person’s sibling’s spouse’s sibling or their spouse’s sibling’s spouse had a similar life span to their own made it clear that something else was at play, the researchers said.
The answer might lie in assortative mating. People tend to select partners with traits like their own — in this case, how long they live, they explained.
Secret To A Happy Life! Smart Lifestyle Changes Can Keep Your Heart Healthy
Secret To A Healthy Heart
24 Sep, 2017
In times when lifestyle induced diseases are on the rise, it becomes important to understand the risk factors and work in the direction to eradicate them especially, if one has a family history of heart diseases.
Here are five smart ways listed by Anjali Malhotra, Chief Customer Marketing and Digital Officer Aviva Life insurance to prevent heart problems in today’s busy life.
24 Sep, 2017
In order to keep your heart healthy, it is important to indulge in exercise each day.
A daily exercise schedule in any form of physical activity for a period of 30-45 minutes is crucial to ensure that the arteries remain flexible.
Small changes in your physical activity can help in bringing positive change in your routine.
Studies have shown that brisk walking may add about two hours to the life expectancy of some adults.
Few changes in lifestyle such as taking the stairs instead the elevator, parking at the furthest end of a parking lot and taking a break from the office for a short walk during your lunch hour help in keeping the body in shape and inculcating a habit of healthy living.
In addition, few yoga asanas such as Virbhadrasana, Tadasana, Utkatasana, Bhujangasana and Vrikshasana also helps in preventing heart problems. If you practice these five yoga postures daily, you can reduce substantial risk of heart problems.
24 Sep, 2017
Eating right is the key to a healthy heart and a healthy life. However, majority of us tend to ignore it.
What you eat directly affects your heart. Therefore, ensure the intake of green and leafy vegetables, exclude sugar and aerated drinks from your diet, replace sweetened beverages with water as much as possible and bring down the intake of processed foods and refined flour.
Too much sodium can also cause excess fluid in the body that puts an extra strain on your heart. Therefore, it is best to adapt to variety of spices, herbs and flavours that are an alternative to salt.
Also, exclude red meats from the diet in order to avoid bad cholesterol. Keep the intake of oil and sugar minimal which will further help in reducing the risk of heart problems.
24 Sep, 2017
Excess body weight is dangerous for the heart. Keep an eye on weight as it elevates chances of getting high cholesterol levels, which may lead to diabetes, risk of artery disease, and blood pressure.
Keep a check on BMI (Body Mass Index) and maintain it to optimal levels.
Keep A Check On Smoking And Alcohol Consumption
24 Sep, 2017
Smoking and alcohol will have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. These habits are known to elevate blood pressure, causing irregular heartbeat and stokes.
Not only that, it leads to overall disruption in the normal functioning of the heart. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid consumption of both or consume it in moderation and gradually phase it out. It may be difficult to follow but worth the effort.