Potentially good news for any woman who has received a "Dangers of Childbirth After 35" article snipped from the newspaper and sent in the mail from her grandchild-starved mother: Israeli scientists have found that a number of women who give birth after 45 live longer than other women.
The researchers at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, discovered at least four genes that have a surprising impact on women who conceive naturally after 45; the genes generate an anti-aging effect. The findings were the result of a genetic study of ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi women from Mea She'arim.
Lead researcher, Neri Laufer, the chairman of Hadassah's obstetrics and gynecology department, noted that, "Finding genes identified with the ability to conceive spontaneously at a late age can help us identify more women who carry these genes and are unaware of the possibility of conceiving at a late age," he said.
"We also hope it will enable developing medical treatments that activate the genetic quality we identified in other women." The DNA findings, which were recently reported at a Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society conference, could lead to innovative treatments that could help "rejuvenate the body" of women and men, said Laufer.
Meanwhile in the quest for the fountain of life (and the corresponding financial bonanza for the pharmaceutical company that can bottle it), the Longevity Genes Project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx is trying to find whether people who live with good health into their 90s and past 100 have something in common - and if so, can it be employed for others? And indeed, they have so far identified or corroborated at least seven associative markers that correlate with longevity.
In an interesting twist, the Bronx project's main test group, a cohort of 540 "SuperAgers," consists entirely of Ashkenazic Jews, as did the pregnancy study.
There must be something in the water. Or at least the genes.