The new study revolved around a growth hormone receptor. The new study revolved around a growth hormone receptor. The new study revolved around a growth hormone receptor. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock)

Scientists discover a secret to living a long life

As if that weren't enough, they may have also found how to make people taller.

Exercise and a good diet are two key factors in living a long life. But what about your DNA?

In a new study, researchers in the U.S., France and Israel have discovered that a mutation in a growth hormone receptor gene can make some men live longer – adding about 10 years onto a man's life.

But wait, there's more. In addition to living a decade longer, these men also grew about an inch taller. That's exactly the opposite of what the scientists were expecting. “If you look at dogs, flies, mice, whatever it is, smaller lives longer,” said Gil Atzmon, a geneticist at the University of Haifa in Israel.

They study consisted of more than 800 men worldwide and was recently published in the journal Science Advances.

While this particular gene mutation didn't seem to have an effect on females, women need not worry. In 2008, Atzmon and his frequent collaborator, Dr. Nir Barzilai, found a different gene mutation that extended life in women. Taken together with this new study, doctors can now explore how the different sexes follow their own genetic paths toward long lives.

A senior couple enjoys coffee and shares a kiss.A senior couple enjoys coffee and shares a kiss. (Photo: CREATISTA/Shutterstock)

By studying these specific genes, the science community hopes to be able to create drugs that mimic their effects and increase longevity. “It’s not far from reality,” said Dr. Barzilai.

These individual studies are part of the larger Longevity Genes Project at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The project was launched in 1998 by Barzilai, an alumnus of the Technion Institute in Israel. He and his colleagues are studying a cohort of centenarians known as "super-agers" to determine what their DNA all have in common.

And for those of us without these specific genes, there's still hope and good news. According to the latest World Health Statistics report, people are living longer than ever before by an average of six years. You could also move to Japan, where people live longer and healthier than anywhere in the world, or adhere to a Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to help extend lifespans. And, if all else fails, we can hop back on the treadmill and go for a run.


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