Clinical Genetics


Current Genetic Medicine Reports




Formal publication: September 2022

Authors: Castruita, P.A., Piña-Escudero, S.D., Rentería, M.E. and Yokoyama, J.S


Purpose of Review
“Healthy aging” is the state of the aging process in which a person can maintain physical, social, mental, and spiritual wellness. This literature review presents an overview of recent studies that explore how biological, social, and environmental factors contribute to healthy aging.

Recent Findings
A number of genome-wide association studies have been conducted recently for traits related to healthy aging, such as frailty index, healthspan, muscle strength, and parental longevity, leading to the discovery of dozens of genetic variants associated with these traits. In parallel, associations between healthy aging measures and multiple non-biological environmental elements have been identified as key moderators of the aging process, indirectly influencing day-to-day homeostatic processes.

Individual variations in lifespan and healthspan are influenced by genetic factors, with a heritability of ~ 25% in developed countries. Non-genetic risk variance is explained in part by social, cultural, and lifestyle conditions. Altogether, these factors contribute to a multifaceted state of wellness over time, shaping individual risk to frailty and resilience during the aging process. Notably, “Blue Zone” populations, which are characterized by an abundance in healthy lifestyles across generations, share some commonalities regarding determinants of health.