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CeFH Seminar: Longevity enriched families. How did they succeed?

Presentation by Kaare Christensen, University of Southern Denmark

About the CeFH lunch seminars

Our lunch seminars are informal research seminars that are held normally every Friday. Both researchers at the Centre and researchers from all over the world present interesting topics in fertility and health. The presentations include new research ideas, projects, results and methods as well as possible collaborative projects.

Although primarily aimed at researchers at the Centre, the seminars are also open to other researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Please contact Fredrik Swift if you have questions about the seminar or if you would like to give a presentation

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10. May 2019 - 11:00-12:00 | Seminar
Cafétorget, Sandakerveien 24C, building C

About the speaker

Kaare Christensen, MD, PhD, DRMSC, is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark and Senior Research Scientist at the Terry Sanford Institute, Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Christensen is the Director of the Danish Twin Registry and the Danish Aging Research Center. He has conducted a long series of studies among twins and the oldest-old in order to shed light on the importance of genes and environment in aging and longevity. Furthermore, he has a longstanding interest in the relation between early life events and later life health outcome.

About the presentation

Offspring of Danish long-lived siblings as well as their spouses and their children have lower mortality than the background population—a health advantage across three generations. To understand the mechanisms underlying this familial transmission of exceptional health and survival we assessed through nationwide Danish registers socio-economic characteristics of these families through the 20th century and all hospitalizations and causes of death since the 1970s. Comparisons of long-lived siblings and their offspring and grandchildren to the background population and spouse controls revealed consistently lower occurrence of almost all disease groups in the offspring and grandchildren of long-lived siblings. Avoidance of specific diseases did not run in families; the longevity-enriched families have a general health advantage. Pathology increases with age in these families but less than in the controls. Studies of multi-generation longevity-enriched families can deepen understanding of the diversity of the fundamental physiological process of aging.