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Scientific results


Genes involved in Alzheimer's disease has also shown to be involved in how long we live and the variation in mental decline among the elderly.

  • A nonsynonymous mutation in PLCG2 reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia, and increases the likelihood of longevity.

    Lee SJ, Nygaard M, Mengel-From J, Jeune B, Christensen K, et al.

    Acta Neuropathol. 2019 Aug;138(2):237-250. Pubmed abstract

  • Genome-wide association meta-analysis in 269,867 individuals identifies new genetic and functional links to intelligence.

    Savage JE, Nygaard M, Christiansen L, Debrabant B, et al.

    Nat Genet. 2018 Jul;50(7):912-919. Pubmed abstract


The epigenetic profile changes through life and has a significant impact on longevity. An example is DNA methylation age, which is a biomarker for biological age. Among other things has studies from the group shown, that methylation age in Danes is associated with increased mortality when it is higher than the chronological age. Another example is miRNA.

  • Advanced parental age at conception and sex affects mitochondrial DNA copy number in human and fruit flies.

    Mengel-From J, Svane AM, Pertoldi C, Kristensen TN, Loeschcke V, Skytthe A, Christensen K, Lindahl-Jacobsen R, Hjelmborg J, Christiansen L.

    J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Aug;138(2):237-250Pubmed abstract 

  • Circulating microRNAs disclose biology of normal cognitive function in healthy elderly people - a discovery twin study.

    Mengel-From J, Feddersen S, Halekoh U, Heegaard NHH, McGue M, Christensen K, Tan Q, Christiansen L.

    Eur J Hum Genet. 2018 Sep;26(9):1378-1387. Pubmed abstract

  • DNA methylation age is associated with mortality in a longitudinal Danish twin study.

    Christiansen L, Lenart A, Tan Q, Vaupel JW, Aviv A, McGue M, Christensen K.

    Aging Cell. 2016 Feb;15(1):149-54. Pubmed abstract

Mitochondrial DNA

Our cell's energy lab, the mitochondria, changes through life. Studies from the group have been the first to show that the number of mitochondrial DNA copies has a bearing on how long we live. Furthermore, it is a significant biomarker for several diseases that are affected by our environment.

  • Age-dependent DNA methylation patterns on the Y chromosome in elderly males.

    Lund JB, Li S, Christensen K, Mengel-From J, Soerensen M, Marioni RE, Starr J, Pattie A, Deary IJ, Baumbach J, Tan Q.

    Aging Cell. 2020 Feb;19(2):e12907. Pubmed abstract

  • Epigenetic drift in the aging genome: a ten-year follow-up in an elderly twin cohort.

    Tan Q, Heijmans BT, Hjelmborg JV, Soerensen M, Christensen K, Christiansen L.

    Int J Epidemiol. 2016 Aug;45(4):1146-1158. Pubmed abstract

DNA damage

The ability to repair damage to the DNA decreases with age. A consequence of this may be an increased number of copy number variations (CNVs), where parts of the genome are found in more or fewer copies than the normal two. Studies from the group have shown, among other things, that an increased number of CNVs has an impact on mortality among the oldest-old Danes.

  • Copy number variation associates with mortality in long-lived individuals: A genome-wide assessment.

    Nygaard M, Debrabant B, Tan Q, Deelen J, Andersen-Ranberg K, de Craen AJ, Beekman M, Jeune B, Slagboom PE, Christensen K, Christiansen L.

    Aging Cell. 2016 Feb;15(1):49-55. Pubmed abstract

EBB - Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography Department of Public Health University of Southern Denmark

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Last Updated 20.10.2023