The Hawaii Lifespan Study will focus a multidisciplinary team of genetic, epidemiological, behavioral and biodemographic scientists on the use of innovative approaches for secondary data analysis. We will use existing human longitudinal data and specimens from the 40+ year Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) dataset from one of the longest-lived, healthiest, minority populations in the world. This study will focus on functional characteristics of healthy aging over the lifespan and identify biological and behavioral factors that enable people to survive to exceptional ages in good health. Our study directly supports NIA's mission to improve the health and well-being of older Americans. While terms such as """"""""successful"""""""", """"""""healthy"""""""" or """"""""effective"""""""" aging describe a paradigm of aging with minimal chronic disease, the functional (physical, cognitive, psychosocial) characteristics of such aging are poorly understood. Therefore, we will 1) determine the prevalence of the """"""""healthy aging"""""""" phenotype for exceptional survivors (ES) who have lived to the upper 5% of the U.S. male cohort life table; 2) determine whether biological, behavioral, and/or psychosocial risk factors linked to insulin/IGF-1 in midlife or early elder life predict ES phenotypes; 3) confirm and extend our preliminary findings that gene variants (SNPs) in evolutionarily conserved metabolic pathways in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway are associated with ES phenotypes; and 4) detect and quantify differences in the life course pathway to ES by applying biodemographic methods that use time to event data for morbidity/mortality. To accomplish these goals we will conduct genetic analyses in this unique dataset and will complement these analyses through SNP genotyping using the Japanese SNP database (JSNP). A greater research effort on the mechanisms of healthy aging will help us understand how protective genetic and environmental traits lead to healthy aging and exceptional survival. Discovery of genetic and/or environmental traits that have significant potential to delay or minimize the age-related changes that increase vulnerability to disease and disability would have a dramatic impact on our ability to achieve healthy old age by delaying or preventing age-associated disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-R (50))
Program Officer
Rossi, Winifred K
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Kuakini Medical Center
United States
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Willcox, Bradley J; Willcox, Donald Craig; Suzuki, Makoto (2017) Demographic, phenotypic, and genetic characteristics of centenarians in Okinawa and Japan: Part 1-centenarians in Okinawa. Mech Ageing Dev 165:75-79
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Zeng, Yi; Chen, Huashuai; Ni, Ting et al. (2015) GxE interactions between FOXO genotypes and drinking tea are significantly associated with prevention of cognitive decline in advanced age in China. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 70:426-33

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