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The science of living a long, healthy life

People are living longer -- but why is this, and how can we remain healthy late in life?

That was the focus of a recent CBS Sunday Morning story, which also showed JMP software in action in a research lab.

Researchers have been studying some centenarians to figure out their secrets to long life. Here's are some of those identified in the story:

  • Eat a vegetarian diet
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Exercise fairly vigorously three or four times a week.
  • Don't let yourself become too thin or overweight.
  • Never smoke.
  • Eat small amounts of nuts four or five times a week.
  • Have great genes.
  • These findings -- except for the last one -- were from a study of Seventh Day Adventists who are living long, healthy lives. That last "tip" comes from a study of centenarian Ashkenazi Jews. Some of the researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine working on that project are using JMP Genomics, and you can catch a glimpse of the software on a computer screen about three minutes into the story. You'll see a 3D PCA (principal components analysis) plot embedded in a JMP Genomics tabbed report.

    The Ashkenazi Jews in that study have genes that apparently protect them against the harms of smoking, lack of exercise and being overweight. If you want to read more about the research, check out this New York Magazine article from the end of last year, which quotes researcher Dr. Gil Atzmon. You may also want to read this research paper on the topic of genetic variation in aging-related telomere length that cites JMP Genomics software. (And for even more on how JMP is used in aging research, see our story on the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Italy.)

    While at this time there's probably nothing you can do about your genes, you can learn a thing or two from bees. Research shows, the story said, that bees get stressed out and experience deterioration of their brains when they are alone and no longer social. They "heal their brains" when returned to the social activity of the hive. The lessons are: stay social and avoid stress to stay as healthy as possible as you age.

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