Wellderly Study –
Uncovering the genetic secrets of good health
To date, medical research has largely neglected the genetics of good health, instead focusing on finding genetic markers of disease. Through the Wellderly study, researchers seek to understand the mechanisms that help keep people healthy and protected from disease, and to translate key discoveries into improvements in patient care.
“We all carry genes that make us susceptible to diseases, but some of us avoid the major illnesses that afflict others,” said Eric J. Topol, M.D., Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Scripps Genomic Medicine and the study’s principal investigator. “Looking at the genes of healthy elderly people is a unique approach to understanding the underpinning biology of health, and ways this can be inherited.
“A great many people carry the genes that cause heart attack, cancer and other diseases, but some have modifier genes that cancel out their risk – it’s nature’s way of protecting them,” Dr. Topol said. “These so-called ‘wellderly’ are, in fact, harboring the secrets of good health.”
While the study will be based in Southern California, participants will also be enrolled in cities across America through Scripps Health‘s relationships with other health care providers.
Locating healthy elderly (80 years of age and older) to get DNA samples is challenging, since they don’t spend much time in health care facilities. Scripps currently attracts volunteers by conducting outreach efforts in the community.
“The logistics are tricky, but we have to find them,” said Dr. Topol. “We think as people learn about this program, they’ll want to participate as a way to help benefit the health and well-being of future generations.”
Wellderly Variant Browser
To determine whether you, a family member or loved one qualify to volunteer for the study, telephone 1-800-SCRIPPS (1-800-727-4777), or e-mail [email protected]
For more information
- Whole Genome Sequencing of a Healthy Aging Cohort, Cell, April 2016
- Healthy Aging May Not Require Winning the Genetic Lottery, KPBS News, April 2016
- ‘Wellderly’ have more gene variants for good cognition, study finds, San Diego Union-Tribune, April 2016
- Genetic secrets of the health elderly unveiled, Nature News, April 2016
- These Are The Genes Behind Health Aging, Time, April 2016
- Scientists search for the genes behind health aging, CBS News, April, 2016
- A Long Life is Genetically Different From a Healthy One, Buzzfeed, April 2016
- Is this the secret to the Queen’s long life?Study finds a ‘cocktail’ of genes that protect people form disease as they age, Daily Mail, April 2016
- Secrets of the ‘Wellderly’: Scientists Hope to Crack the Genetic Code of Those Who Live the Longest, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2008
- Genetic fact-check for aging story, Nature, August 2008
- KGTV San Diego, 2008