(HealthDay)—Genetic variations correlate with mortality in the elderly, although their effect can be influenced by lifestyle behaviors, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Debora Rizzuto, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, and colleagues conducted a 25-year population-based cohort study involving 1,229 individuals aged 75 years and older. The authors examined the correlations between single nucleotide variations in 14 genes, relevant lifestyle risk behaviors, and mortality.
The researchers found that the likelihood of dying was increased for individuals with allelic variation in four genes related to cardiovascular disease and metabolism (apolipoprotein [APO]C1 GG and AG carriers, APOE ε4 carriers, insulin-degrading enzyme [IDE] TC carriers, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase [PI3KCB] GG carriers). Compared to those with no adverse alleles, individuals with multiple adverse alleles had a 62 percent higher mortality rate. The mortality rate was 65 percent lower for people with no risk behaviors (low-risk profile) than for those with all risk behaviors (high-risk profile). Independent of genetic risk profile, mortality was up to 64 percent lower for individuals with a low-risk profile versus those with a moderate high- or high-risk profile and at least one genetic risk factor.
"In conclusion, this study extends past observations that genetic background is related to survival, but lifestyle behaviors attenuated the genetic risk, suggesting that that a long life can be achieved even in the presence of unfavorable genes," the authors write.
Explore further: Raising 'good cholesterol' not as effective as lowering 'bad cholesterol'