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AFAR in the News: Austad, Barzilai, and Longo comment on the Oldest Incoming President in the Washington Post

Jan 18

AFAR in the News: Austad, Barzilai, and Longo comment on the Oldest Incoming President in the Washington Post View MoreBACK

AFAR Scientific Director Steven Austad, Deputy Scientific Director Nir Barzilai,  and 1998 AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty awardee and 2013 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research Award recipient Valter Longo lent insights to a January 18 article exploring the health of the incoming president in The Washington Post.

Trump’s health: What we could expect with the oldest incoming president” explores the potential impact of stress, lifestyle, genetics, and age-related diseases on Donald Trump’s current health.

Early in the article, Austad addresses the relationship between stress and health:

Given that the 45th president will be exposed to extraordinary stress levels, what else could affect his health and capabilities to respond to the challenges of office?
“I think the main thing is that the future is a lot less predictable when you’re 70 than when you’re 40 or 50,” said Steve Austad, scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research. “He could be fine 10 years after his presidency, or he could be in bad shape a year from now.”


Later, Barzilai explains how age-related diseases and genetics can impact longevity:

But research shows that the chances of acquiring three diseases simultaneously rises ten-fold between ages 70 and 80, then ten-fold again during the following decade of life, said Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
“I think we all realize that humans age at different rates,” Barzilai said. “Seventy means nothing to me. It can be very young, and it can be very old.”
Barzilai said his first question would be how long Trump’s parents lived, particularly his mother. Eighty-five of every 100 centenarians are female, and the influence of long-lived women’s genes on their children is evident, he said.

Longo lends insights on family history and risk for Alzheimer’s:

The risk of Alzheimer’s, which eventually afflicted the second-oldest incoming president, Ronald Reagan, doubles every five years after age 60, said Valter Longo, professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Trump’s family history puts him at greater risk, though.

Read the full article here.

Steven Austad, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor and Department Chair at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Nir Barzilai, MD, is the Director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a two-time AFAR grant recipient.

Valter Longo, PhD, is the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, Davis.

For more on theories of aging, age-related diseases, and healthy lifestyle, visit AFAR’s InfoAging center here.