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Calling all centenarians!

University College London (UCL) are looking for people over the age of 100 to take part in a study to help understand the secrets of why some people live longer and healthier lives than others.

Understanding the secrets of ageing is becoming an increasingly important topic in Britain as our population ages. Some people age happily, and manage to lead very successful and active lives until they’re over 100-years-old; but others do not, and suffer from age-related illnesses, only living into their 60s or 70s.

Answering some key questions about ageing

UCL is interested in identifying people who have aged successfully and lived to over 100 years of age. They want to identify why these centenarians have not suffered from significant age-related illnesses by investigating their past history, diet, height, weight, family history and genetic make-up.

This is a long term study, funded until at least 2016. In it, UCL Institute of Neurology will collect information from participants through a short and easy questionnaire, and will also collect DNA and mRNA from saliva or a small blood sample.

In doing this, the scientists hope to be able to answer some key questions:

  1. Why do some people live to over 100 years of age without suffering significant age-related illness, such as Alzheimer’s, ataxia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and neuromuscular conditions?
  2. What is the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors in leading to longer and healthier life-span? 

Get involved

If you’re interested in participating, or know a centenarian who might want to get involved, there’s absolutely no cost to taking part. If you visit the hospital (see full details below) all related expenses will be paid; alternatively one of the doctors in the UCL team can visit you at home, or you can even participate by post.

How you consent to be involved is entirely up to you. UCL intend to share their findings at the end of the study to all relevant researchers to benefit age research and illnesses, but will keep patients’ personal details anonymous.

Professor James Goodwin, Head of Age UK Research, commented: ‘We give our whole-hearted 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.’
To take part in this study, contact:

Henry Houlden MD, MRCP, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Institute of Neurology
Queen Square
Tel: (0)20 7837 3611 extension 84068


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