What’s the secret to living past 100?

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a 35 year old man Only 1.5 percent chance of dying in the next ten years, But the same 75-year-old man has a 45 percent chance of dying before he reaches 85. Obviously, old age is injurious to our health. On the bright side, we have made unprecedented progress in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that control aging and late-stage disease.

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certain tightly linked biological processes, sometimes called “Signs of Aging”, including our supply of stem cells and the communication between cells, function to keep us healthy in the early part of our lives – with These fail as soon as problems arise, clinical trials underway To see if targeting some of these specifications might improve diabetic kidney disease, aspects of immune function and age related lung lesions among others. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, big, unanswered questions remain in the biology of aging. To evaluate what these are and how to address them, American Federation for Aging Research, a charity, recently organized a series of Meetings for leading scientists and doctors, Experts agreed that understanding what is special about the biology of humans who have lived for more than a century is now a significant challenge.

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this century Covers less than 0.02 percent of the UK population But has exceeded the life expectancy of their peers by about 50 years (children born in the 1920s typically had a life expectancy of less than 55). How are they doing it?

We know that centenarians live in good health for about 30 years longer than most normal people, and when they do eventually fall ill, they are only sick for a very short time. This “Compression of morbidity” Obviously good for them, but also benefits society as a whole. In the US, the last two years of their lives cost a century of medical care There are about a third of those who die in their seventies (A time when most centenarians don’t even need to see a doctor).

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Centenarians are also healthier than average, indicating that they have inherited something beneficial from their parents. But is it genetic or environmental?

Centenarians are not always health conscious


Most people know that small dogs live longer than large dogs, but few know that this is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom.

Are centenarians the poster child of healthy lifestyles? For the general population, watching your weight, not smoking, drinking moderately, and eating fruits and vegetables at least five times a day may benefit you. Increase life expectancy to 14 years Comparison with someone who does none of these. this difference more than seen Among the least and most deprived areas in the UK, it would therefore instinctively be expected to play a role in survival for a century.

But the surprising thing is that this does not have to be the case. a study found that up to 60 percent of Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians have smoked heavily for most of their lives, half are obese for the same period of time, less than half get even moderate exercise and less than 3 percent are vegetarian. Centenarian children do not appear to be more health-conscious than the general population.

However, compared to peers with similar food consumption, wealth and body weight, They have half the prevalence of heart disease, There is something extraordinary about these people.

big secret

Could it be down to rare genetics? If so, there are two ways this could work. Centenarians may carry unusual genetic variants that increase lifespan, or instead they may lack normal ones that cause late-life disease and impairment. Many studies, including our own work have shown That centenarians have just as many bad genetic variants as the general population.

Some also have two copies of the greatest known common risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease (APOE4), but still do not get the disease. So a plausible working hypothesis is that centenarians have rare, beneficial genetic variations, rather than a lack of harmful ones. And the best available data is consistent with this.

Centenarians comprise less than 0.02 per cent of the UK population

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Centenarians comprise less than 0.02 per cent of the UK population

People over the age of 60 have genetic changes that alter genes that control growth in early life. This implies that these remarkable people are human examples of a type of lifespan extension seen in other species. most people know that Small dogs live longer than large dogs But few people know that this is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Ponies can live longer than horses and several strains of laboratory mice with the dwarfing mutation live longer than their full-sized counterparts, One possible reason for this is a decrease in the level of a growth hormone called IGF-1 – although the human centenarian We are not necessarily smaller than the rest,

Obviously, growth hormone is essential early in life, but there is increasing evidence that high levels of IGF-1 in mid to late life Associated with an increase in late-life disease, The detailed mechanism underlying this remains an open question, but even in the middle of the century, women with the lowest levels of growth hormone live longer than those with the highest, They also have better cognitive and muscle function.

However this does not solve the problem. Centenarians differ from the rest of us in other ways as well. For example, they have higher levels of good cholesterol – indicating that there could be a number of reasons for their longevity.

Ultimately, centenarians are “natural experiments” that show us that it’s possible to live in excellent health, even if you’ve been given a risky genetic hand and have chosen not to heed health messages – but only if you’re rare, carry poorly understood mutations.

Understanding how these work should allow scientists to develop new drugs or other interventions that target biological processes in the right tissues at the right time. If these become a reality, perhaps more of us will see it in the next century than we think. But, until then, don’t take healthy lifestyle tips from Shatabdi.

Richard Faragher is Professor of Biogerontology at the University of Brighton. Nir Barzilai is Professor of Medicine and Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This article first appeared on Conversation,

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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