One in 5 people are born with the KL-VS variant of the klotho gene. They live 7% to 10% longer. They still undergo age-related declines in memory and learning, but they start at a higher baseline.

A study published in the February 11, 2015, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience reported that enhancing the activity of this gene in a mouse model provided resilience to their brains, and they functioned better even though they had amyloid buildup.

Researchers are excited over the possibility that a compound could increase the production of klotho and slow or perhaps prevent cognitive decline. This is a new area for research. Aging is the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s, but exactly why this is the case is not known. Perhaps increasing activity of the klotho genecould counteract both aging and Alzheimer’s.

For more information, see Neurology Today, March 5, 2015.

Jack Florin, MD

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