This story slipped between the cracks a few weeks ago, but fortunately it’s as timeless as life itself…
In early May, a team of UCSF researchers published published an article that identified a gene which enables both high cognitive functioning and unusual longevity. In other words, there’s a gene that that makes you smarter and live longer — and vice-versa. And science now knows this because the research was organized by none other Neighbor Dena from Banks Street!
A gene variant that scientists already knew to be associated with longer life also seems to make people smarter, and may help offset the effects of normal cognitive decline in old age, according to a team of San Francisco researchers.
The findings, published [on May 8] in the journal Cell Reports, are encouraging news for the roughly 1 in 5 people who have the genetic trait, which is a variant of the klotho gene.
Beyond that, scientists hope the findings will help them develop tools for retaining, or even boosting, intelligence in people who have suffered cognitive losses, either from disease or through the normal course of aging.
“What we’ve discovered is a cognitive enhancer,” said Dr. Dena Dubal, an assistant professor of neurology at UCSF and lead author of the study, which was done with researchers from the Gladstone Institutes. “This may represent a new way to treat problems of cognition in the brain.”
You can read lots more about Neighbor Dena’s research, or, in this glamorous video, you can watch as she explains it herself: