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Hello and welcome to my website. I am a British-born, naturalized American, living in California. Based in Los Angeles, I work as a correspondent for BBC television, radio and digital outlets, covering everything from US politics and world affairs to technology, natural disasters and Hollywood. I also host the Live Long and Master Aging (LLAMA) podcast. My special interest is the science of human longevity - food, fasting, exercise and long-term health. All views expressed reflect my personal experiences. I advise anyone considering adopting a new diet or fitness regime to first consult with their doctor. Links on this site are to my personal portfolio of audio, video and text. Copyright of broadcast works remain with the BBC and LLAMA podcast content with Healthspan Media LLC. Thanks for the visit!

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Ecuadorians that could hold vital clues to healthy aging

I have just returned from a fascinating day at the USC Davis School of Gerentology, which is currently playing host to a group of people from Ecuador with Laron syndrome.

The condition, a form of dwarfism, is characterized by stunted growth, but also an extraordinary resistance to cancer and diabetes.

These individuals are known to have mutations in the gene for the growth hormone receptor, resulting in exceptionally low levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1, which has been linked to aging.

Ongoing studies are exploring parallels with studies in mice - and humans in the wider population - and the aging process.

What a great group of people. Good humored and generous with their time.  They would rather not live with stunted growth, but they know that their body chemistry is special. So special that it could hold vital clues to the aging process for the rest of us.

Photo: Ecuadorian endocrinologist Jaime Guevara-Aguirre and USC cell biologist Valter Longo with the Laron subjects

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