Robust Octogenarians' Genes Seen Holding Secrets to Aging, Scripps Translational Science Institute Study

Published: Jun 21, 2012

Exactly why James Markam is alive and well is a bit of a mystery. The octogenarian has lost four siblings to cancer, heart disease and emphysema, all before they reached the age of 62. Yet the retired airline executive recalls only one bout of sickness, culminating with a chest cold, 50 years ago. Scientists are taking a deep look at Markam’s genetics to see if there’s something protecting him from illnesses that affect others his age, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Markam, 83, is one of more than 1,300 individuals identified as having what Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, called “Teflon-coated” genes

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