Living to be 100 may seem nearly impossible, but some Americans do, and scientists may now be able to tell, through your genes, if you will be a centenarian.
According to Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study, centenarians actually tend to be the vision of health in that about “90 percent of centenarians are disability-free until around age 93.” The study looked at a little over 1,000 Caucasian centenarians in the United States and found several common DNA sequences.
According to this research, about 15% of Americans should be predisposed to live to 100. This is not the case, however, as there is only one centenarian per 6,000 people in the U.S. today. Researchers attribute this to the fact that at the time when most centenarians (or would-be centenarians) were born and raised, medicine was not as advanced as it is now, proving that environment and lifestyle play a role in healthy aging as well. Lifestyle factors can be further stressed when researchers found that very few who live to be 100 smoke or are obese, and many have very healthy diets and exercise regularly. Researchers also discovered that healthy aging may be attributed to a wide range of genetic variants protecting people from all sorts of diseases. Drugs are now being tested using information from these tests to improve quality of life. “Our goal is not to make people live to 100,” says Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “the goal is to have good quality of life at the end of their life.”
Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets of a Long and Happy Life, co-authored by Home Care Assistance Founders Dr. Kathy and Jim Johnson as well Lily Sarafan, COO, addresses Dr. Barzilai’s goal in regards to quality of life in our later years and how to achieve this effectively.