Scientific research into aspects of the ageing process


Within the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) scientific research is done on healthy ageing. Our research includes the physical and mental functioning of elderly people and the diseases that occur in old age. We make use of a number of cohorts (large groups of people). We extensively characterize a number of characteristics of physical and psychological functioning. We also examine how and which genetic factors contribute to longevity.

The aging research at the LUMC is implemented by the departments Geriatric Medicine and Molecular Epidemiology, in close collaboration with the Institute of Biology of the Leiden University.

Leiden Longevity Study

420 families of Caucasian origin take part in the Leiden Longevity Study (LLS). This group consists of 991 long-lived brothers and/or sisters, their children and partners of their children. The men were considered to be long-lived from 89 years and the women as they were 91 years or older. Families were invited when there were at least two long-lived brothers and/or sisters alive.


A long and healthy life is the result of genes, environmental factors, chance and the interaction between them. Within the families who participated in the LLS, there is familial longevity. The aim of the study was to identify genetic mechanisms of longevity and to characterize their interaction with the environment. Using the results the future health of people without familial longevity can be improved in old age.


The first results show that first-degree relatives of the long-lived brothers and/or sisters have an average of 30% lower mortality risk compared with people of the same year of birth. This survival advantage persists into old age. The children of the long-lived brothers / sisters were compared with their life partners and hereby were made some interesting findings. In the group of children less cardiometabolic diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes and high blood pressure occurred than their life partners. And the children of long-lived brothers / sisters have a favorable image with lower values ​​for blood glucose, insulin, triglycerides and thyroid and better insulin sensitivity.

More info

For more information, please contact Marian Beekman


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