7. Project Abstract The Kuakini Medical Center (Kuakini) Hawaii Healthspan Study will focus a multidisciplinary team of genetic, epidemiological, and geriatric scientists on the use of innovative approaches for secondary data analysis. We will use existing human data and specimens from the 45-year Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program /Honolulu Asia Aging Study, longitudinal studies of aging and chronic diseases in Japanese-American men. Our work will focus on functional characteristics of healthy aging over the lifespan ("healthspan") and will attempt to identify genetic factors that help people survive to older ages in good health. While terms such as "successful", "healthy" or "effective" aging describe a paradigm of aging with minimal chronic disease, the functional (physical and cognitive), characteristics of such aging are poorly understood and little is known about genetic or environmental predictors. In recent work we have 1) Operationalized phenotypes of healthy aging that use performance-based measures of function 2) Identified environmental predictors of healthy aging and longevity in a longitudinal study, 3) Found a gene (FOXO3A) with variants strongly associated with healthy aging and longevity;4) Replicated the CETP gene association with longevity and extended the finding to healthy aging. For the current study, we propose to: 1) IDENTIFY additional genes associated with longevity using a two stage nested case-control study of candidate genes from energy sensing pathways and sequencing around areas of interest;2) CONDUCT a prospective study of genetic predictors of survival and healthy survival;3) CONDUCT a prospective study of genetic predictors of rate of change in major aging related traits. Discovery of biologic pathways that affect vulnerability to disease and disability could have a dramatic impact on our ability to achieve healthy old age by identifying biological targets for new therapies. Our study directly supports NIA's mission to improve the health and well-being of older Americans.
The Kuakini Medical Center (Kuakini) Hawaii Healthspan Study will investigate how people's genes affect their ability to achieve healthy old age. This study focuses on understanding physical and cognitive function over the lifespan and identifies genetic and environmental factors that enable people to survive to exceptional ages in good health. Research on factors that lead to healthy aging may help us develop therapies that result in less age-related disease and disability and increase quality of life at older ages.
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