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Age Later: Secrets of the Healthiest, Sharpest Centenarians

St. Martin’s. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250230850. $28.99. HEALTH
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Why do some people live past 100 in good health, while others succumb to disease at much younger ages? Barzilai (Inst. for Aging Research, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine) explains the latest research into these questions. He studies centenarians to uncover how they differ from the rest of us genetically, biochemically, and physically. One surprising finding: the dietary and exercise habits of healthy people over age 100 do not differ significantly from those of the general population. Some theories of aging—decreasing levels of sex hormones, shortened chromosomal telomeres, calorie restriction as protection from aging—have proved to be less predictive than thought. Barzilai discusses the importance of high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and the genetic variants that produce them, the research into growth hormone factor, and the difficulty of developing drugs that can replicate these actions. The author is concerned with extending people’s well-being into their later decades and concludes with a series of recommendations based on current research, advising readers to be patient: anti-aging drugs will become available someday.
VERDICT A thoughtful take on aging that should be of interest to all concerned with the overlap between health and aging

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