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Rare Genetic Variants from Birth Have Negative Effect on Lifespan

A new study from investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School sheds new light on the risk of developing long-term diseases and overall human lifespan. The researchers found that the combined effects of rare, damaging mutations present at birth have a negative impact on healthspan and longevity.

Findings from the new study—published recently in eLife through an article titled “Germline burden of rare damaging variants negatively affects human healthspan and lifespan”—suggest one additional inherited damaging mutation could carve off six months of life, and combinations of these rare mutations determine how soon someone will develop diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia.

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