Ethnicity and aging: Latina es mejor!

If you want to live a long life, it helps to be Latino. Latinos tend to age more slowly than other ethnic groups, despite having higher rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Researchers at UCLA think they’ve discovered why.

Researchers analyzed 18 different data sets from the DNA of more than 6,000 people across seven ethnic groups. The blood cells in healthy Latinos actually age slower than the blood cells in people of other ethnicities, according to the study findings, published in the journal Genome Biology. The same goes for several other body tissues.

The study also revealed that, in general within each race, women’s blood and brain tissue aged more slowly than men’s.

“We suspect that Latinos’ slower aging rate helps neutralize their higher health risks, particularly those related to obesity and inflammation,” said lead author Steve Horvath, professor of human genetics at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, in a university news article. “Our findings strongly suggest that genetic or environmental factors linked to ethnicity may influence how quickly a person ages and how long they live.”

The study results have intrigued scientists in what makes Latino cells so different, and the UCLA team plans to dig deeper into the molecular mechanisms of aging within this ethnicity.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Clinical