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2.  Late-Life Factors Associated With Healthy Aging in Older Men 
To identify potentially modifiable late-life biological, lifestyle and sociodemographic factors associated with overall and healthy survival to age 85.
Prospective longitudinal cohort study with 21 years of follow-up (1991–2012)
The Hawaii Lifespan Study
1,292 American men of Japanese ancestry (mean age 75.7 years, range 71–82 years) without baseline major clinical morbidity and functional impairments.
Overall survival and healthy survival (free from six major chronic diseases and without physical or cognitive impairment) to age 85. Factors were measured at late-life baseline examinations (1991–1993).
Of 1,292 participants, 1,000 men (77%) survived to age 85 years (34% healthy) and 309 (24%) survived to age 95 years (<1% healthy). Late-life factors associated with survival and/or healthy survival included biological (body mass index, ankle:brachial index, cognitive score, blood pressure, inflammatory markers); lifestyle (smoking, alcohol use, physical activity), and sociodemographic factors (education, marital status). Cumulative late-life baseline risk factor models demonstrated that age-standardized (at 70 years) probability of survival to age 95 years ranged from 27% (no factors) to 7% (≥5 factors); to age 100 years ranged from 4% (no factors) to 0.1% (≥5 factors). Age-standardized (at 70 years) probability of healthy survival to 90 years ranged from 4% (no factors) to 0.01% (≥ 5 factors). There were nine healthy survivors at age 95 years and one healthy survivor at age 100 years.
Several potentially modifiable risk factors in men in late-life (mean age 75.7 years) were associated with markedly increased probability of subsequent healthy survival and longevity.
PMCID: PMC4024082  PMID: 24779449
healthy aging; risk factors; longevity; longitudinal cohort study; late-life
3.  The FoxO3 gene and cause‐specific mortality 
Aging Cell  2016;15(4):617-624.
The G allele of the FOXO3 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2802292 exhibits a consistently replicated genetic association with longevity in multiple populations worldwide. The aims of this study were to quantify the mortality risk for the longevity‐associated genotype and to discover the particular cause(s) of death associated with this allele in older Americans of diverse ancestry. It involved a 17‐year prospective cohort study of 3584 older American men of Japanese ancestry from the Honolulu Heart Program cohort, followed by a 17‐year prospective replication study of 1595 white and 1056 black elderly individuals from the Health Aging and Body Composition cohort. The relation between FOXO3 genotype and cause‐specific mortality was ascertained for major causes of death including coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer, and stroke. Age‐adjusted and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) for all‐cause and cause‐specific mortality. We found G allele carriers had a combined (Japanese, white, and black populations) risk reduction of 10% for total (all‐cause) mortality (HR = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.84–0.95; P = 0.001). This effect size was consistent across populations and mostly contributed by 26% lower risk for CHD death (HR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.64–0.86; P = 0.00004). No other causes of death made a significant contribution to the survival advantage for G allele carriers. In conclusion, at older age, there is a large risk reduction in mortality for G allele carriers, mostly due to lower CHD mortality. The findings support further research on FOXO3 and FoxO3 protein as potential targets for therapeutic intervention in aging‐related diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC4933667  PMID: 27071935
FOXO3; heart disease; longevity; mortality
4.  GxE Interactions between FOXO Genotypes and Tea Drinking Are Significantly Associated with Cognitive Disability at Advanced Ages in China 
Logistic regression analysis based on data from 822 Han Chinese oldest old aged 92+ demonstrated that interactions between carrying FOXO1A-266 or FOXO3-310 or FOXO3-292 and tea drinking at around age 60 or at present time were significantly associated with lower risk of cognitive disability at advanced ages. Associations between tea drinking and reduced cognitive disability were much stronger among carriers of the genotypes of FOXO1A-266 or FOXO3-310 or FOXO3-292 compared with noncarriers, and it was reconfirmed by analysis of three-way interactions across FOXO genotypes, tea drinking at around age 60, and at present time. Based on prior findings from animal and human cell models, we postulate that intake of tea compounds may activate FOXO gene expression, which in turn may positively affect cognitive function in the oldest old population. Our empirical findings imply that the health benefits of particular nutritional interventions, including tea drinking, may, in part, depend upon individual genetic profiles.
PMCID: PMC4447795  PMID: 24895270
FOXO genotypes; Tea drinking; GxE interactions; Cognitive disability; Oldest old.
5.  Genetic Analysis of TOR Complex Gene Variation With Human Longevity: A Nested Case–Control Study of American Men of Japanese Ancestry 
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is crucial for life span determination in model organisms. The aim of the present study was to test tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms that captured most of the genetic variation across key TOR complex 1 (TORC1) and TOR complex 2 (TORC2) genes MTOR, RPTOR, and RICTOR and the important downstream effector gene RPS6KA1 for association with human longevity (defined as attainment of at least 95 years of age) as well as health span phenotypes. Subjects comprised a homogeneous population of American men of Japanese ancestry, well characterized for aging phenotypes and who have been followed for 48 years. The study used a nested case–control design involving 440 subjects aged 95 years and older and 374 controls. It found no association of 6 tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms for MTOR, 61 for RPTOR, 7 for RICTOR, or 5 for RPS6KA1 with longevity. Of 40 aging-related phenotypes, no significant association with genotype was seen. Thus common genetic variation (minor allele frequency ≥10%) in MTOR, RPTOR, RICTOR, and RPS6KA1 is not associated with extreme old age or aging phenotypes in this population. Further research is needed to assess the potential genetic contribution of other mTOR pathway genes to human longevity, gene expression, upstream and downstream targets, and clinically relevant aging phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC4366598  PMID: 24589862
Genetic association analysis; Health span; Life span; Longevity; Target of rapamycin.
6.  Defining Successful Aging: A Tangible or Elusive Concept? 
The Gerontologist  2014;55(1):14-25.
Purpose of the Study:
Everyone wants to age successfully; however, the definition and criteria of successful aging remain vague for laypersons, researchers, and policymakers in spite of decades of research on the topic. This paper highlights work of scholars who made significant theoretical contributions to the topic.
Design and Methods:
A thorough review and evaluation of the literature on successful aging was undertaken.
Our review includes early gerontological definitions of successful aging and related concepts. Historical perspectives reach back to philosophical and religious texts, and more recent approaches have focused on both process- and outcome-oriented models of successful aging. We elaborate on Baltes and Baltes’ theory of selective optimization with compensation [Baltes, P. B., & Baltes, M. M. (1990a). Psychological perspectives on successful aging: The model of selective optimization with compensation. In P. B. Baltes & M. M. Baltes (Eds.), Successful aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences (pp. 1–34). United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press], Kahana and Kahana’s preventive and corrective proactivity model [Kahana, E., & Kahana, B. (1996). Conceptual and empirical advances in understanding aging well through proactive adaptation. In V. Bengtson (Ed.), Adulthood and aging: Research on continuities and discontinuities (pp. 18–40). New York: Springer], and Rowe and Kahn’s model of successful aging [Rowe, J. W., & Kahn, R. L. (1998). Successful aging. New York: Pantheon Books], outlining their commonalities and differences. Additional views on successful aging emphasize subjective versus objective perceptions of successful aging and relate successful aging to studies on healthy and exceptional longevity.
Additional theoretical work is needed to better understand successful aging, including the way it can encompass disability and death and dying. The extent of rapid social and technological change influencing views on successful aging also deserves more consideration.
PMCID: PMC4542894  PMID: 24840916
Successful aging; Longevity; Centenarians
7.  Who Are the Okinawans? Ancestry, Genome Diversity, and Implications for the Genetic Study of Human Longevity From a Geographically Isolated Population 
Isolated populations have advantages for genetic studies of longevity from decreased haplotype diversity and long-range linkage disequilibrium. This permits smaller sample sizes without loss of power, among other utilities. Little is known about the genome of the Okinawans, a potential population isolate, recognized for longevity. Therefore, we assessed genetic diversity, structure, and admixture in Okinawans, and compared this with Caucasians, Chinese, Japanese, and Africans from HapMap II, genotyped on the same Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping 500K array. Principal component analysis, haplotype coverage, and linkage disequilibrium decay revealed a distinct Okinawan genome—more homogeneity, less haplotype diversity, and longer range linkage disequilibrium. Population structure and admixture analyses utilizing 52 global reference populations from the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel demonstrated that Okinawans clustered almost exclusively with East Asians. Sibling relative risk (λs) analysis revealed that siblings of Okinawan centenarians have 3.11 times (females) and 3.77 times (males) more likelihood of centenarianism. These findings suggest that Okinawans are genetically distinct and share several characteristics of a population isolate, which are prone to develop extreme phenotypes (eg, longevity) from genetic drift, natural selection, and population bottlenecks. These data support further exploration of genetic influence on longevity in the Okinawans.
PMCID: PMC4271021  PMID: 24444611
Okinawa; Longevity; Ancestry; Genome diversity; HapMap.
8.  Extending healthy ageing: nutrient sensitive pathway and centenarian population 
Ageing is a challenge for any living organism and human longevity is a complex phenotype. With increasing life expectancy, maintaining long-term health, functionality and well-being during ageing has become an essential goal. To increase our understanding of how ageing works, it may be advantageous to analyze the phenotype of centenarians, perhaps one of the best examples of successful ageing. Healthy ageing involves the interaction between genes, the environment, and lifestyle factors, particularly diet. Besides evaluating specific gene-environment interactions in relation to exceptional longevity, it is important to focus attention on modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and nutrition to achieve extension of health span. Furthermore, a better understanding of human longevity may assist in the design of strategies to extend the duration of optimal human health. In this article we briefly discuss relevant topics on ageing and longevity with particular focus on dietary patterns of centenarians and nutrient-sensing pathways that have a pivotal role in the regulation of life span. Finally, we also discuss the potential role of Nrf2 system in the pro-ageing signaling emphasizing its phytohormetic activation.
PMCID: PMC3379947  PMID: 22524452
9.  Association Analyses of Insulin Signaling Pathway Gene Polymorphisms With Healthy Aging and Longevity in Americans of Japanese Ancestry 
Evidence from model organisms suggests that the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway has an important, evolutionarily conserved influence over rate of aging and thus longevity. In humans, the FOXO3 gene is the only widely replicated insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway gene associated with longevity across multiple populations. Therefore, we conducted a nested case–control study of other insulin/IGF-1 signaling genes and longevity, utilizing a large, homogeneous, long-lived population of American men of Japanese ancestry, well characterized for aging phenotypes. Genotyping was performed of single nucleotide polymorphisms, tagging most of the genetic variation across several genes in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway or related gene networks that may be influenced by FOXO3, namely, ATF4, CBL, CDKN2, EXO1, and JUN. Two initial, marginal associations with longevity did not remain significant after correction for multiple comparisons, nor were they correlated with aging-related phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3968832  PMID: 23770741
Longevity; Molecular genetics; Insulin signaling genes; Human.
10.  Shorter Men Live Longer: Association of Height with Longevity and FOXO3 Genotype in American Men of Japanese Ancestry 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94385.
To determine the relation between height, FOXO3 genotype and age of death in humans.
Observational study of 8,003 American men of Japanese ancestry from the Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HHP/HAAS), a genetically and culturally homogeneous cohort followed for over 40 years. A Cox regression model with age as the time scale, stratified by year of birth, was used to estimate the effect of baseline height on mortality during follow-up. An analysis of height and longevity-associated variants of the key regulatory gene in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway, FOXO3, was performed in a HHP-HAAS subpopulation. A study of fasting insulin level and height was conducted in another HHP-HAAS subpopulation.
A positive association was found between baseline height and all-cause mortality (RR = 1.007; 95% CI 1.003–1.011; P = 0.002) over the follow-up period. Adjustments for possible confounding variables reduced this association only slightly (RR = 1.006; 95% CI 1.002–1.010; P = 0.007). In addition, height was positively associated with all cancer mortality and mortality from cancer unrelated to smoking. A Cox regression model with time-dependent covariates showed that relative risk for baseline height on mortality increased as the population aged. Comparison of genotypes of a longevity-associated single nucleotide polymorphism in FOXO3 showed that the longevity allele was inversely associated with height. This finding was consistent with prior findings in model organisms of aging. Height was also positively associated with fasting blood insulin level, a risk factor for mortality. Regression analysis of fasting insulin level (mIU/L) on height (cm) adjusting for the age both data were collected yielded a regression coefficient of 0.26 (95% CI 0.10–0.42; P = 0.001).
Height in mid-life is positively associated with mortality, with shorter stature predicting longer lifespan. Height was, moreover, associated with fasting insulin level and the longevity genotype of FOXO3, consistent with a mechanistic role for the IIS pathway.
PMCID: PMC4013008  PMID: 24804734
11.  FOXO3 Gene Variants and Human Aging: Coding Variants May Not Be Key Players 
FOXO3 is generally recognized as a “master” gene in aging since its association with longevity has been replicated in multiple organisms and human populations. A group of single nucleotide polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium with a coding region has been associated with human longevity, but the actual functional variant is unidentified. Therefore, we sequenced the coding region in our long-lived Japanese American population in order to enhance resources for fine mapping this region. We demonstrate that of 38 published variants, 6 are misalignments with homologous nonallelic sequences from FOXO3B (ZNF286B), a pseudogene on a different chromosome; 2 are attributable to ZNF286B only, and the remaining 30 were unconfirmed, indicating that they are very rare and not likely involved in longevity. Furthermore, we identified a novel, unique, nonsynonymous coding variant in exon 3 (Gly566Ala; rs138174682) that is prevalent in multiple ethnic groups but appeared too rare for major longevity effects in our study populations.
PMCID: PMC3668389  PMID: 22459618
Aging; FOXO3; Genetic; Human longevity
12.  Very old adults with better memory function have higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratios: KOCOA project 
We examined cross-sectionally which lipid profiles are associated with better cognitive function among those aged 80 and older-free of dementia (Clinical Dementia Rating ≤ 0.5), functionally independent and community-dwelling. Our cohort consisted of 193 participants from the “Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging (KOCOA) Project”, a prospective cohort study in Okinawa, Japan. Higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TG/HDL-C) ratios were associated with higher scores in memory performance after controlling for confounders. Further research is required to clarify the associations among LDL-C levels, TG/HDL-C ratios, and healthy cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3586553  PMID: 23207484
Lipoprotein cholesterol; Aged 80 and over; Memory Disorders
13.  Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Decline Among the Oldest Old in Okinawa: In Search of a Mechanism. The KOCOA Project 
The study aim was to test whether the metabolic syndrome or its components predicted cognitive decline among persons aged 80 years and older (mean 85.0 years). Participants were members of the “Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging Project,” a prospective cohort study in Okinawa, Japan. Metabolic syndrome was assessed at baseline. Cognitive functions were assessed annually for up to 3 years. One hundred and forty-eight participants completed at least one follow-up with 101 participating in all three assessments and 47 participating in two of the three assessments. The mean and median duration of follow-up were 1.8 and 2 years, respectively. Metabolic syndrome and four components were not associated with decline in global and executive cognitive functions. However, high glycosylated hemoglobin was associated with decline in memory function at the second follow-up. Our study supports accumulating evidence that the positive association between metabolic syndrome and cognitive function might not hold for the oldest old.
PMCID: PMC3261441  PMID: 22016359
Metabolic syndrome; Cognitive decline; Oldest old; Longitudinal study; Okinawa
14.  Comparisons of Plasma/Serum Micronutrients Between Okinawan and Oregonian Elders: A Pilot Study 
Certain micronutrients are protective against cognitive decline. We examined whether there is any uniform pattern of circulating micronutrients cross–culturally that are associated with successful cognitive aging. For the U.S. sample, we used the stored serum/plasma of 115 participants, collected in Oregon, USA. The Okinawa sample consisted of 49 participants selected using similar inclusion criteria as the Oregon sample, from the Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging Project. All participants were aged 85 years and older without cognitive impairment. We found that the Okinawan elders used fewer vitamin supplements but had similar levels of vitamin B12 and α-tocopherol, lower folate and γ-tocopherol, compared with Oregonian elders. That is, we did not find a uniform pattern of circulating micronutrients, suggesting that micronutrients other than those examined here or other lifestyle factors than nutrition could play an important role in achieving successful cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3031451  PMID: 20643702
Oldest old; Circulating micronutrients; Healthy cognitive aging; Okinawa; Oregon
15.  Oxidative Stress and Longevity in Okinawa: An Investigation of Blood Lipid Peroxidation and Tocopherol in Okinawan Centenarians 
Background. The Free Radical Theory of Aging mechanistically links oxidative stress to aging. Okinawa has among the world's longest-lived populations but oxidative stress in this population has not been well characterized. Methods. We compared plasma lipid peroxide (LPO) and vitamin E—plasma and intracellular tocopherol levels (total α, β, and γ), in centenarians with younger controls. Results. Both LPO and vitamin E tocopherols were lower in centenarians, with the exception of intracellular β-tocopherol, which was significantly higher in centenarians versus younger controls. There were no significant differences between age groups for tocopherol: cholesterol and tocopherol: LPO ratios. Correlations were found between α-Tocopherol and LPO in septuagenarians but not in centenarians. Conclusions. The low plasma level of LPO in Okinawan centenarians, compared to younger controls, argues for protection against oxidative stress in the centenarian population and is consistent with the predictions of the Free Radical Theory of Aging. However, the present work does not strongly support a role for vitamin E in this phenomenon. The role of intracellular β-tocopherol deserves additional study. More research is needed on the contribution of oxidative stress and antioxidants to human longevity.
PMCID: PMC3068305  PMID: 21490698
16.  Physical Aspects of Healthy Aging: Assessments of Three Measures of Balance for Studies in Middle-Aged and Older Adults 
Objectives. To investigate the reliability and correlations with age of the balance components of the EPESE, NHANES, and the Good Balance Platform System (GBPS) in a normal population of adults. Design. Cross-sectional. Setting. Urban Medical Center in the Pacific. Participants. A random sample of 203 healthy offspring of Honolulu Heart Program participants, ages 38–71. Measurements. Subjects were examined twice at visits one week apart using the balance components of the EPESE, NHANES, and the good balance system tests. Results. The EPESE and NHANES batteries of tests were not sufficiently challenging to allow successful discrimination among subjects in good health, even older subjects. The GBPS allowed objective quantitative measurements, but the test-retest correlations generally were not high. The GBPS variables correlated with age only when subjects stood on a foam pad; they also were correlated with anthropometric variables. Conclusion. Both EPESE and NHANES balance tests were too easy for healthy subjects. The GBPS had generally low reliability coefficients except for the most difficult testing condition (foam pad, eyes closed). Both height and body fat were associated with GBPS scores, necessitating adjusting for these variables if using balance as a predictor of future health.
PMCID: PMC3062992  PMID: 21437003
17.  Genetic determinants of exceptional human longevity: insights from the Okinawa Centenarian Study 
Age  2006;28(4):313-332.
Centenarians represent a rare phenotype appearing in roughly 10–20 per 100,000 persons in most industrialized countries but as high as 40–50 per 100,000 persons in Okinawa, Japan. Siblings of centenarians in Okinawa have been found to have cumulative survival advantages such that female centenarian siblings have a 2.58-fold likelihood and male siblings a 5.43-fold likelihood (versus their birth cohorts) of reaching the age of 90 years. This is indicative of a strong familial component to longevity. Centenarians may live such extraordinarily long lives in large part due to genetic variations that either affect the rate of aging and/or have genes that result in decreased susceptibility to age-associated diseases. Some of the most promising candidate genes appear to be those involved in regulatory pathways such as insulin signaling, immunoinflammatory response, stress resistance or cardiovascular function. Although gene variants with large beneficial effects have been suggested to exist, only APOE, an important regulator of lipoproteins has been consistently associated with a longer human lifespan across numerous populations. As longevity is a very complex trait, several issues challenge our ability to identify its genetic influences, such as control for environmental confounders across time, the lack of precise phenotypes of aging and longevity, statistical power, study design and availability of appropriate study populations. Genetic studies on the Okinawan population suggest that Okinawans are a genetically distinct group that has several characteristics of a founder population, including less genetic diversity, and clustering of specific gene variants, some of which may be related to longevity. Further work on this population and other genetic isolates would be of significant interest to the genetics of human longevity.
PMCID: PMC3259160  PMID: 22253498
longevity; genetics; centenarians; Okinawa; longevity genes

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