The Fountain of Youth
My Pop-Pop is 81 years old, and sometimes I think he leads a more full, exciting life than I do. He still goes to work at his auto body shop every day. He hangs out with his buddies from high school, goes bowling and plays darts, and even goes dancing. He also dates, although if I ask him about it, he quickly changes the subject!
We're seeing many people live quite active lives in their old age, and live longer as well. Maybe my Pop-Pop, whose mother died at age 97, has what scientists now call a "longevity gene." Researchers are starting to study centenarians to see if they possess a gene helping them live longer. Scientists also realize healthy living and good habits (not smoking, eating right, exercising) also help lengthen lives, but they are now examining whether the APOE gene (which variants, incidentally, have been linked to Alzheimer's disease) could be the key to living longer. Research has found the gene is 50 percent less common in centenarians than in younger people.
Researchers hope after studying this gene more, there is a possibility to use it to create a drug to mimic these genes. Even if this is someday possible, I hope to live an active life at 81 just like my Pop-Pop -- whether by lucky genes or a "magic pill."