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Aging Factor: Gene mutations may be key to long life

Juicing up with growth hormones may build muscles, but probably won't help you live to see 100 candles on your birthday cake, a new study suggests.

A study of 384 aged Ashkenazi Jews shows that a decrease in insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1) activity is associated with long life, Nir Barzilai and his colleagues report in the March 4 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For a decade, Barzilai has studied centenarians, a rare group of people who live to be 100 or older, looking for genes that contribute to longevity. But he never expected IGF-1, or growth hormone, would be involved, says Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

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