Many believe that having “good genes” is the secret to a long, healthy life. But science is discovering that genes (which increase longevity) may not significantly increase a healthy life span. This points to the need of measuring health as part of examining aging studies going forward.
Consider what scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School discovered and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
“Our study reveals that if we want to find the genes that help us remain physically active as we age — the genes that will allow us to play tennis when we’re 70 similar to when we were 40 — we have to look beyond longevity as the sole criteria. We have to start looking at new genes that might play a part in health span.”
— Heidi A. Tissenbaum, Ph.D., professor of molecular, cellular & cancer biology, including the program in molecular medicine at UMass Medical School and principal investigator of the study.
In other words, we don’t just have to be blessed with good genes to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Life Span vs. Health Span
Using today’s modern technologies, hospitals and doctors are able to keep people alive much longer (life span). But that doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s quality of life will be good or even tolerable during that extended time (health span).
Life span is how long you are technically alive, and health span is the length of time you are truly healthy and thriving during that time. Ideally, you want your life span to equal your health span.
Yet, as a society, we obsessively seek to extend the life span as long as possible without considering the consequences.
The implication for scientists, according to Tissenbaum, is that the set of genes that influence longevity may be distinct from the genes that control health span:
“This study suggests that there is a separate and unexplored group of genes that allow us to perform at a higher level physically as we age. When we study aging, we can no longer look at life span as the only parameter; we also have to consider health as a distinct factor of its own.”
Here at Uncommon Wisdom Daily, we started featuring a weekly health article in order to accomplish just that: to help inform our readers with actionable knowledge to not just live longer, but also to live healthier and at a higher quality of life.
We hope you have gained some valuable insight so far, and we look forward to continually providing you with exceptional information that could help you to boost your health and your wealth.
Uncommon Wisdom Daily
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