What are the secrets to a long and healthy Life?

Some families have the good fortune to live very long lives . . .We want to know about those families!

Welcome to Long Life Family Study

The multicenter LLFS enrolled and studied a unique sample of 4,953 participants in 539 pedigrees in the USA and Denmark which are enriched for familial EL. Through two extensive in-home visits, approximately 8 years apart, these families possess key healthy aging phenotypes (HAPs) in major domains of the aging process (cognitive, cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammatory, etc.). Further, the measured phenotypes are highly heritable cross-sectionally and longitudinally; however considerable familial phenotypic heterogeneity is present. To better understand this heterogeneity and the why and how these families are protected we will: conduct a third in-home visit with existing participants; recruit and enroll the grandchildren of the proband generation for their initial visit; combine linkage and association analyses to identify rare and lineage specific variants for cross-sectional and longitudinal HAPs and EL and their interaction with lifestyle exposures; perform comprehensive OMICs on LLFS pedigrees to discover biologic mechanisms leading to the heterogeneous familial patterns of HAPs and EL in LLFS pedigrees, and discover additional causal variants. Finally, we will combine all the data using systems biology and data integration to more comprehensively explain the biology of healthy aging.

The purpose of the LLFS is to study families in the United States and Denmark that are ALL enriched for exceptional longevity (EL). EL is a complex trait that is likely influenced by multiple genes with small effects interacting with lifetime exposures. The knowledge gained from studying these families will be in why and how they are protected and thus living exceptionally healthy long lives.

This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, grant U19AG063893.

LLFS Project Members

Thomas Perls, MD, MPH

Boston University Field Center Principal Investigator

Stacy Andersen, PhD

Co-Investigator, Neuropsychology


Reena Karki, RN, MPH

Research Coordinator

Joseph H. Lee, DrPH

LLFS MPI; Columbia University Field Site Co-PI; Genetics of aging, telomeres
will be add soon

Stephanie Cosentino, PhD

LLFS MPI; Coumbia University Field Site Co-PI; Cognitive Phenotyping & training
will be add soon

Rebecca Abraham, BS

LLFS Columbia University Field Site Project Coordinator



View all New York Members

Kaare Christensen, DMSc

LLFS Danish Field Site Principal Imvestigator
+45 6550 3049

Qihua Tan, MD, PhD

+45 6550 3536

Gitte Bay Christensen

Nurse, Site coordinator
+45 6550 3040

View all Denmark Members

Anne B Newman, MD, MPH

LLFS Co-Prinicipal Investigator, Pittsburgh Field Site

Joseph M Zmuda, PhD

LLFS Co-Principal Investigator, Pittsburgh Field Site

Nancy W Glynn, PhD

Co-Investigator & Director of LLFS Field Operations
will be added soon

Allison L Kuipers, PhD

Co-Investigator & Project Director for the Pittsburgh Site
will be added soon

Key Publications

Health and Function of participants in the Long Life Family Study: a comparison with other cohorts

Individuals from families recruited for the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) (n= 4559) were examined and compared to individuals from other cohorts to determine whether the recruitment targeting longevity resulted in a cohort of individuals with better health read more…

GWAS for Older Maternal Age & Older Age of Menopause

Consistent with other studies, LLFS demonstrated that women who are able to naturally have children later in life tend to live longer.  In this study we investigate if read more…

Prevalence, Incidence, and Risk Factors for Overall, Physical, and Cognitive Independence Among Those From Exceptionally Long-Lived Families

In the LLFS Proband Generation, we showed that despite having an average age of 90 years, a remarkably large proportion (70%) of those who were free of physical and cognitive read more…

NIA news and tools

The latest research news from the National Institute on Aging at NIH

For media inquiries and or to request an interview with a subject matter expert, please email the NIA Office of Communications and Public Liaison at NIAPressTeam@mail.nih.gov, or call 301/496-1752.

For information about upcoming NIA events »

Maintaining mobility and preventing disability are key to living independently as we age

November 30, 2020

Many people worry about not being able to move around as well when they get older. They fear they won’t be able to continue their favorite activities, visit their favorite read more…

Better executive function predicts less mobility decline after a fall

August 13, 2020

Executive function is the cognitive process that helps with planning, prioritizing, multitasking, and adjusting. Past studies suggest that better cognitive function is associated with  read more…

Higher Daily Step Count Linked with Lower All-Cause Mortality

March 24, 2020

In a new study, higher daily step counts were associated with lower mortality risk from all causes. The research team, which included investigators from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA),  read more…


Mechanisms underlying familial aggregation of exceptional health and survival: A three-generation cohort study

Study demonstrating reduction of disease prevalence persists into thrid generation of relatives. read more…

Patterns of multi-domain cognitive aging in participants of LLFS

Maintaining good cognitive function at older age is important, but our knowledge of patterns and predictors of cognitive aging is still limited. We used read more…

Gene Discovery for High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Level Change Over Time In Prospective Family Studies

Several genes are known to contribute to the levels and metabolism of HDL-C, however, their protective effects in cardiovascular disease (CVD), healthy aging, and longevity are complex and poorly understood read more…

Genome-wide linkage analysis of carotid artery traits in exceptionally long-lived families

Atherosclerosis develops with age and is partially controlled by genetics. We aimed to use family-based genome-wide linkage analysis to identify chromosomal regions  read more…

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