The downside of living a longer life

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 516
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.516-d

Over the years, scientists have identified many factors that increase longevity in animal models. But do these interventions also let animals stay healthy longer, giving them an extended “healthspan”? To find out, Bansal et al. measured a range of physiological parameters over the lifetime of worms with mutations that extended their lifespans. The effect of these mutations on healthspan was variable. In fact, control worms had the greatest healthspan when calculated as a percentage of total lifespan. Extending the period of ill health of an increasingly aged human population could be devastating, suggesting that researchers should focus on optimizing healthspan rather than lifespan.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1412192112 (2015).

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