Volume 4 Issue 4

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Page 29 of 55

e search for "the fountain of youth" has a long history; from tracking down sacred, life-giving water sources in the days of antiquity, to the invention of "miracle pills" and stem cell research in the modern age, the fascination with extreme longevity is an enduring one. One of the most recent studies on this topic investigated the blood of a woman who lived to be just over 115 years old. At her death, she only had two blood stem cells le, and stem cell exhaustion, the researchers believe, may explain why people eventually die at an advanced age despite being in good overall health. H O W B L O O D S T E M C E L L S M A Y A F F E C T Y O U R L O N G E V I T Y You are born with approximately 20,000 blood stem cells, which your body uses to replenish your blood. Over time, and depending on the "abuse" you put your body through, these cells become damaged and die. As your blood stem cells dwindle, your body becomes less efficient at repairing and regenerating itself. In essence, your blood stem cells may be the proverbial "clock" that eventually runs out, no matter how well you take care of yourself. In the meantime, however, you have a great deal of control over how quickly those cells perish. e woman also had hundreds of non-coding mutations in her white blood cells, leading the researchers to speculate that certain mutations may promote longevity. Secrets T H AT C A N H E L P Y O U L I V E L O N G E R Other recent research and accompanying editorial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that low-intensity daily exercise leads to less disability in old age and a longer, healthier life, which shouldn't come as any great surprise. ere are a number of other factors though that also appear to be instrumental for longevity, and many people fail to give them the consideration they deserve. I S Y O U R P E R S O N A L I T Y G E A R E D F O R L O N G E V I T Y ? According to results from e Longevity Project, a Stanford study spanning 80 years, your level of conscientiousness may have a great deal to do with how long you end up living. Having a personality that strives to do things well; being thorough and vigilant—this is a trait that most of the people who live the longest share. As noted in the featured Time Magazine article: "'e qualities of a prudent, persistent, well-organized person, like a scientist-professor — somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree' are the qualities that help lead to a long life. 'Many of us assume that more relaxed people live longer, but it's not necessarily the case.' Why? Conscientious behavior influences other behaviors. Conscientious people tend to make healthier choices, including who they marry, where they work, and the likelihood they'll smoke, drive too fast, or follow doctors' orders." Page 30 | Abby's Magazine -

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