Supercentenarian Research Study

A number of ongoing research programs aim to collect more data on the biochemistry and genetics of the oldest of old people, and here is an example of one of them. I don't believe that these efforts contribute greatly towards building meaningful treatments for aging, for all the same reasons that trying to build calorie restriction mimetic drugs is a dead end: the underlying causes of aging are known, the damage that produces degeneration and loss of function, and researchers should be focused on repairing it to extend healthy life by decades, not on exploring comparatively small differences in how the body adapts to high levels of damage, or how to eke out a few more years while in a diminished and dysfunctional state. From a purely academic perspective, the study of natural variations in human aging is a good way to learn more about the fine details of how exactly aging progresses at the cellular level, however. Just don't expect this to have practical results beyond the production of new knowledge.

Supercentenarians are very rare, very precious individuals, who have lived to at least 110 years of age. Surviving decades longer than their peers -- often in far better health -- supercentenarians may hold the keys to protection from disease, decline, and early death. Our researchers are engaged in an extensive, international study of individuals demonstrating increased or extreme resistance to devastating, age-related diseases -- such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, organ failure, immune system failure, and neurodegeneration -- as well as the illness and injury caused by bone and muscle deterioration, dementia, loss of mobility, and cognitive decline. Supercentenarians have avoided the vast majority of these age-related illnesses, and the study of the protective mechanisms that have ensured their survival may lead to the discovery and development of new treatments and therapies, bringing the good health and great longevity of supercentenarians to the rest of us.

There is a great deal of research to support the theory that supercentenarians' longevity is hereditary. The siblings of supercentenarians are up to 17 times more likely to survive to age 100 than the siblings of non-supercentenarians. Many of these individuals also enjoy increased and lifelong resistance to disease, suffering far less age-related morbidity. Studies reveal a strong link between inherited traits and healthy longevity, as well as mechanisms that protect against a wide variety of illnesses. The careful study of supercentenarians and their families can provide unparalleled insights into the mechanisms of health, aging, and disease.



You greatly under state and under estimate the damage that end-of-life / centenarian studies do to the field of anti-aging research. As you state, the symptoms of aging are well known and it's more than obvious that they are result of a default genetic cascade process - if not a program - in which evolution takes care of species maintenance up to reproduction, but where there is a general lack of post-reproduction feedback means that increased longevity is hard to achieve simply because there is little significant longevity related feed back - without extending the age of reproduction of the species.

Consequently, the only effective way to create great strides in extendended longevity without current aging symptoms (anti-aging) in humans is to elucidate the genetic changes prior to, during and immediately after reproductive age. Then to implement the necessary genetic changes to eliminate post-reproductive genetic based aging symptoms. Not waste resources examining the atypical extremes of the statistical norms in human aging which have little significance in the aging process. Or, in plainer terms who wants to live to look and live like current centenarians.

Worse this ignorant pursuit of the end result of aging symptomatic iseases - parasitizes the very limited resources for the needed genetic longevity and anti-aging research that will ultimately delay or eliminate genetic default aging. We may in the future, look back at the current lack of informed prioritization of anti-aging research as the criminal negligence - which it truly is.

Posted by: Mason Hamilton at August 2nd, 2015 10:09 AM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.