Skip to comments.Ecuadorean Villagers May Hold Secret to Longevity
Posted on 02/18/2011 9:29:36 PM PST by neverdem
People living in remote villages in Ecuador have a mutation that some biologists say may throw light on human longevity and ways to increase it.
The villagers are very small, generally less than three and a half feet tall, and have a rare condition known as Laron syndrome or Laron-type dwarfism. They are probably the descendants of conversos, Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal who were forced to convert to Christianity in the 1490s but were nonetheless persecuted in the Inquisition. They are also almost completely free of two age-related diseases, cancer and diabetes.
A group of 99 villagers with Laron syndrome has been studied for 24 years by Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, an Ecuadorean physician and diabetes specialist. He discovered them when traveling on horseback to a roadless mountain village. Most such villages are inhabited by Indians, but these were Europeans, with Spanish surnames typical of conversos.
As Dr. Guevara-Aguirre accumulated health data on his patients, he noticed a remarkable pattern: though cancer was frequent among people who did not have the Laron mutation, those who did have it almost never got cancer. And they never developed diabetes, even though many were obese, which often brings on the condition.
I discovered the population in 1987, Dr. Guevara-Aguirre said in an interview from Ecuador...
The Laron patients mutation means that their growth hormone receptor lacks the last eight units of its exterior region, so it cannot react to growth hormone. In normal children, growth hormone makes the cells of the liver churn out another hormone, called insulinlike growth factor, or IGF-1, and this hormone makes the children grow. If the Laron patients are given doses of IGF-1 before puberty, they can grow to fairly normal height...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
These folks would live forever except, according to the article, they’re all accident-prone alcoholics. So maybe the gene that keeps them cancer free also makes them accident-prone alcoholics instead?
On the plus side, you can go Halloweening forever.
FReepmail me if you want on or off the diabetes ping list.
A 67-year-old man who has Laron-type dwarfism with his daughter, 5, and sons, 7 and 10.
Little things mean a lot.
My grandfather was a smallish man of Welsh, Scots, English ancestry who lived to be 98. All his siblings except the youngest lived into their 90’s, and one lived to 103 or 104. I have heard that large men tend to die sooner.
Also probably were never vacinnated with tainted vaccines that had SV-40 and other cancer causing agents in them.
So? Helen Thomas was there at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and this deficiency explains her longevity...aside from sucking the blood of virgins every full moon.
“I have heard that large men tend to die sooner”
Hope not! My husband is a tall and broad guy.
I don’t think so.
My dad is 83 and 6’-5” tall. His grandmother died at 98, and she was 6’-1” tall in her stockinged feet.
He looks like LBJ.
may be of interest
He fathered children in his 60s. I’d like to see what his wife looks like. Is she his age, and able to be fertile longer than normal, or did he marry someone quite a bit younger?
Bilbo Baggins lived a long life, too.
Yes, but can they mix chocolate?
Maybe being a dwarf in the boondocks is a risk factor for hitting the sauce or accidents when using adult sized tools?.
From the abstract linked in comment# 1:
A possible explanation for the very low incidence of cancer was suggested by in vitro studies: Serum from subjects with GHR deficiency reduced DNA breaks but increased apoptosis in human mammary epithelial cells treated with hydrogen peroxide.
It is an assumption that the growth hormone receptor mutation is the only abnormality. Something in their serum either repairs damaged DNA or tells the cell to die, i.e. apoptosis, aka programmed cell death. This is just the beginning of the story, IMHO. One treatment for all of the different cancers has been oncology's Holy Grail.
I’m sure you have some kind of comment...like “ewoks”, or something.
Ditto my grandfather from Scotland.
Short, thin, (130 pounds, maybe?) lived to 93, in New York.
His son, my father, also Scottish born, was a few inches taller, always thin but a few pounds heavier, lived only to 83 - back in 1999.
You said you heard large (meaning tall?) men tend to die sooner, but did I read once that really tall men usually have good arteries - - - because they’re good and stretched out, or something?