In Honor of Sylvia and All Humankind: DNA & Longevity Studies

Today I had a blood draw.  Four small test tubes now hold about four ounces of my 100 year-old blood.  It wasn’t taken for me.  It was taken by a lab technician resembling Conan O’Brien (with the humor to match.)  I have given these blood samples, that hopefully hold some unique information, to the Archon Genomics X Prize and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Longevity Projects.  I did this in memory of Sylvia, my beloved wife of 70 years, who passed away in January this year from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her death left me so empty and sad, but months later I found out about these studies and decided to live again for her.

The goal of the X Prize is to bring our medical care system into a new era of preventive and personalized medicine by studying the DNA of 100 centenarians worldwide.  I am honored to be part of this study.  Its goal is to transform healthcare for people all over the world.  If my DNA can help just one person with Alzheimer’s, I’ll be very happy.  I wish I could have done this while Sylvia was still alive, but who ever said life was fair?

I recently joined the Longevity Project taking place at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  These studies will hopefully identify factors that contribute to healthy, long lives.  Led by Dr. Nir Barzilai, I am again honored to be allowed to participate in this research.  I commend the doctor and his team for dedicating their professional lives to such a worthy cause.

I have been blessed with a wonderfully long life.  How is this possible with all of the doughnuts and chocolate I eat?  I’m not sure why, but if my DNA can help science understand the reasons and it helps others, that’ll be plenty good enough for me.

The lab technician’s assistant applies a bandaid after my painless blood draw.

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