How do Ashkenazim live long, despite bad eating habits?

ByJORDANA HORN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 27, 2011 05:29

A study by NY’s Cornell Medical College seeks to determine, through stem cell research, what allows many Ashkenazi Jews to live long lives.

COMPATIBLE HUMAN stem cells can cure blood cancers

Stem Cells 311. (photo credit:(University of Louisville Medical School)

NEW YORK – Raise your celebratory glass of Dr. Brown’s at New York’s Second Avenue Deli with a resounding “l’chaim.” A scientific study being undertaken at New York’s Cornell Medical College seeks to determine, through stem cell research, what allows many Ashkenazi Jews to live long lives despite unhealthy eating and drinking habits.

The team will study the stem cells of a dozen elderly Ashkenazi Jews, a population that shares distinct genetic traits.

RELATED:
Healthy Eating: True or false? Find out the real story
Just when you though it was safe to eat fish



Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


As perhaps a sort of bonus for having endured centuries of gove r n m e n t - enforced isolation, Ashkenazi Jews tended to marry and procreate with one another, creating a comparatively homogeneous genetic population in possession of a “longevity gene.” This gene can protect from cancer, heart attacks and other fatal diseases.

The variants in genes can regulate a chemical called insulin-like growth factor 1, also known as IGF-1. The chemical is involved in childhood growth as well as the growth and use of energy in cells throughout the body. Carriers capable of regulating IGF-1 seem more likely to live to 100, and more likely to be short, a trait they pass on to their daughters.

Scientists speculate that one element to this longevity gene might have a stem cell base.


The team will extract stem cells from the elderly participants, and then put the engineered cells into stress tests, comparing them with cells from people whose population’s average life span is shorter.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

Share this article via
Related Content
Lab
August 31, 2014
Weizmann scientists bring nature back to artificially selected lab mice

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

Israel Weather
  • 20 - 37
    Beer Sheva
    20 - 30
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 17 - 31
    Jerusalem
    18 - 28
    Haifa
  • 25 - 38
    Elat
    20 - 38
    Tiberias