The average life expectancy in Australia is 82.10 years. The global life expectancy worldwide is 71. Those with better diets and healthcare statistically live longer regardless of where they live on this planet, but this remote Italian village of Acciaroli, which is nestled between the ocean and the mountains on the western Italian coast, has 300 citizens over the age of 100!
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, paired up with University of Rome La Sapienza, are going to be the first group of researchers allowed to study this population. Before the study begins, the only things known about the village are that the diet is a mediterranean diet heavy in fish and olive oil, with notable amounts of rosemary (Previous research has found that some compounds in carnosic acid – which is present in rosemary – help improve memory. Carnosic acid can also improve eye health and fend off free radical brain damage, and some research has indicated it may have anti-inflammatory and tumour-fighting properties.), and that the location of the village leads to locals walking long distances and hiking in the mountains as part of a daily routine for the locals.
“The goal of this long-term study is to find out why this group of 300 is living so long by conducting a full genetic analysis and examining lifestyle behaviours, like diet and exercise, the results from studying the longevity of this group could be applied to our practice at UC San Diego and to patients all over the world,” said Alan Maisel, MD, lead UC San Diego School of Medicine investigator and professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.
The village has markedly low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and the teams will be working with the villagers over the next six months to collect questionnaires about their daily lives, and blood samples, as well as tests to look at metabolomics, biomes, cognitive dysfunction and protein biomarkers for risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease and cancer, according to Science Daily.
“This project will not only help to unlock some of the secrets of healthy aging, but will build closer ties with researchers across the globe, which will lead to more science and improved clinical care in our aging population,” said Salvatore DiSomma, MD, lead Italian investigator and professor of emergency medicine at University of Rome La Sapienza.
The population of Acciaroli -a town believed to have inspired Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea– is about 2,000, which means the 300 centenarians mark an incredible proportion compared with the rest of the world. The full genetic analysis is only part of the study, with observations on daily habits outside of the questionnaires.