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Calling all centenarians! Successful ageing study

Published on 20 February 2012 03:00 PM

If you are aged over 100, University College London (UCL) want to hear from you! By taking part in a study, you could help UCL's researchers unlock the mysteries behind successful ageing.

The ageing of Britain's population is becoming an increasingly important issue. Some people age happily, and very successfully leading active lives over 100 years; but others do not, and suffer from age-related illnesses and only live into their 60s or 70s.

UCL Institute of Neurology is interested in identifying people who have aged successfully and lived to over 100 years of age. They want to understand why these people have not suffered from significant age-related illnesses.

By investigating the past history, diet, height, weight, family history and genetic make-up of centenarians, UCL's research team are looking to answer three important questions:

  1. Why people over 100 years of age have not suffered significant age-related illness?
  2. What genes and environmental factors lead to greater life-span?
  3. Why these people aged over 100 years old don't suffer from age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's, ataxia, stroke, Parkinson's disease and neuromuscular conditions, or develop health problems much later in life?

What taking part involves

Taking part in the study is easy. Centenarians who agree to get involved will need to fill out a quick, simple questionnaire, and give a small saliva or blood sample, which will be used to analyse that person's DNA and mRNA.

There is no cost to participants at all. Centenarians can take part by post, by visiting the hospital (with expenses paid), or by receiving a visit from one of the doctors in UCL's team. They can consent to be involved in any way they wish.

All patient details will be anonymous. This is important for a number of research reasons, and UCL wish to make the information anonymously available to all researchers to benefit age research and illnesses. Information and DNA/mRNA will be stored at UCL Institute of Neurology.

Professor James Goodwin, Head of Age UK Research, commented: 'We give our wholehearted support to a study which is of exceptional importance as the population ages, with increasing numbers of people surviving to over 100 years.

'This study is likely to contribute invaluable data which will contribute greatly not only to the health and care of older people but also to decisions on policy in these critical areas. We commend and congratulate the researchers for their insight and undoubted skills in developing this research programme.'

Get involved

To take part in the study, please contact:

Henry Houlden MD, MRCP, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Institute of Neurology
Queen Square

Tel: 020 7837 3611, then extension 84068; or 020 3448 4487

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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