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As wealthy people spend untold amounts of money in an attempt to stave off aging, what if the secret to a longer life is actually hidden away in the genetic makeup of people who have a rare form of dwarfism?

This particular cohort of little people have a rare genetic disorder called Laron syndrome, which is caused by a mutation that bestows them with deficient receptors for a growth hormone — hence their short stature.

But it also gives them intriguing health advantages. A new paper published in the journal Med found that people with Laron syndrome are at decreased risk of developing heart issues due to lower blood pressure, and less artery plaque buildup, among other benefits.

"We have shown in studies people with Laron have a very low incidence of cancer, diabetes and cognitive decline," University of Southern California professor of gerontology and biological sciences and the study's principal author Valter Longo told CNN.

"It doesn’t mean that they are immune to these diseases, but people with Laron syndrome certainly seem to be very protected," he added. "This is how powerful this mutation seems to be."

People with Laron syndrome have a genetic mutation that disrupts the body's ability to use an "insulin-like growth factor" called IGF-1.

People with this mutation tend to have lower levels of the protein in their bloodstream, which might be a great health benefit. Studies have shown that IGFs play a major role in the control of aging.

For their study, Longo and his colleagues examined the cardiovascular risk factors in two cohorts of people. One group resided in California and was made up of 16 people with Laron syndrome and 14 family members without the mutation. The second cohort lived in Ecuador and was composed of 21 people with Laron syndrome and 23 without the condition.

The researchers found that people with Laron had better sensitivity to insulin, lower blood pressure, and no heart rhythm disturbances.

Their findings also challenged some preconceived notions about people living with the syndrome.

"We found people with Laron certainly do not have an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease despite the fact that they are often obese and live in poor environments, and some markers of cardiovascular disease were even improved," Longo told CNN.

Nathaly Paola Castro Torres, a Los Angeles resident who has Laron syndrome, told CNN she gets stared at for her diminutive height of four feet and two inches. But even though she is technically overweight, her doctor told her that she is in perfect health.

"I am also quite lucky because in reality my body protects me a lot from diseases that other people have every day," she said. "This height, at the same time as being a limitation, is also a blessing."

Studying people like Torres, Longo explained to Nature, can also perhaps help regular people be healthier in the future, such as in the form of a medication that reduces IGF-1 levels in their bodies.

Such drugs could even provide antiaging benefits, according to the researcher.

“The idea would be for people who have high circulating IGF-1 levels to get drugs that lower the IGF-1 back to the range that seems to be associated with the lowest mortality rate, much like people take a drug for high cholesterol," Longo told CNN.

More on aging: Harvard/MIT Scientists Claim New "Chemical Cocktails" Can Reverse Aging

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