Medicine: Searching for Life's Elixir: HDL, the good cholesterol

HDL, the "good" cholesterol, seems to play a pivotal role in fighting heart disease by keeping arteries clear of deadly plaque

In and around Cincinnati live some 50 families who in an earlier time of myth and legend might have been accused of drinking from Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth. Yet even in today's pragmatic, scientific world, their arteries do seem to carry an elixir of long life. The members of these families, says investigator Dr. Dennis Sprecher of the University of Cincinnati, "typically live for long periods of time, into their 80s and 90s, with very few instances of heart disease, if indeed they have any at all."

Doctors have discovered that these people carry in their blood a component...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!