Abigail Klein Leichman
June 3, 2014, Updated May 29, 2014

Last year, ISRAEL21c told you about how Israeli biogerontologists are unraveling the biological mysteries of human longevity.

The latest Israeli and international research on extending human life was shared at two major conferences – “Live till 200 or Forever: Longevity in Tomorrow’s Era” on June 1 at the University of Haifa; and “The Biology of Longevity and Quality of Life” on Israel Science Day (March 26) at Bar-Ilan University.

Speakers at the latter conference, representing nearly all of Israel’s universities, shared their research into the degenerative aging process that underlies age-related cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

“This was probably the largest Israeli conference on the biology of aging and longevity so far in terms of attendance,” says Dr. Ilia Stambler, who chaired the televised event with Prof. Haim Cohen and recently published a paper in Current Aging Science entitled “The Pursuit of Longevity — The Bringer of Peace to the Middle East.”

Prof. Gil Atzmon, whose topic was “100: The New 70,” focused on so-called longevity genes. Prof. Gregory Livshits spoke on his system for collecting age-related data, while Keren Yizhak showed her mathematical model of aging and anti-aging pathways in the genome.

“We could use this model to see what interventions could block some aging effects and enhance anti-aging effects,” Stambler tells ISRAEL21c.

Dr. Sivan Korenblit talked about eliminating protein plugs that clog cell machinery, while Cohen spoke on how longevity genes protect against environmental stress. Dr. Nirit Lev of Rabin Medical Center revealed recent developments in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases of old age.

Prof. Esther Priel discussed the substances she studies that increase lifespan in animal models – along with interesting side effects such as hair growth – and Dr. Yael Heifetz shared results of her studies showing that delaying reproduction in flies increases their longevity. Prof. Yosef Gruenbaum talked about sub-cell structures and their role in aging process.

At the more recent Haifa conference, Dr. Roey Tzetzana told of the possibility of an age-blocking drug. Prof. Shulamit Levenberg discussed tissue engineering advances; Prof. Danny Offen talked about brain rejuvenation; Dr. Tal Dvir revealed new approaches to “fixing” hearts; and Prof. Amir Geva discussed repairing brain network activity.

“This field is really burgeoning,” says Stambler, an expert in the history of life-extension research at Bar-Ilan. He says that achieving long life while maintaining good health is a high priority across the globe.

According to the latest World Health Organization statistics, Israeli men boast fourth-highest life expectancy in the world, and Israeli women share 10th place .Overall life expectancy in Israel is 82.1, higher than in both the United Kingdom  and United States (35). Israeli scientists are working to assure that people not only live longer but also in better health throughout their years.



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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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