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Take Heart If Your Parents Died at a Ripe Old Age: Framingham Heart Study

the basis has to do with risk factors. "You don't have to say, 'My parents died young so I can't do anything about it.' What this suggests to me is, 'Why don't you change the risk factors?' ", Benjamin opines.

In an editorial about the article, Dr. Clyde B. Schecter of Albert Einstein College of Medicine expresses his queries, "Heart disease accounts for a large enough proportion of all deaths that any factor that promotes exceptional longevity almost inevitably must lead to decreased risk of cardiac death."

The Framingham researchers are pursuing answers to these, in the genes.

A genome-wide scan of participants across the generations in the study began last autumn with genotyping that Levy expects to be completed by the end of summer.

"Longevity may be related to risk factors we don't yet know," he says.

"We intend to look at the genetic variations that may differentiate children whose parents live to an old age from children whose parents died at a young age."
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