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Critically Speaking

Sep 30, 2020

Some people live more than a hundred years with no health problems and very little cognitive decline.  How come?  While healthy lifestyles certainly play a part in healthy aging, these “centenarians” share a number of special biological attributes.  Furthermore, these attributes, along with attaining an age of 100 or greater, show a strong genetic component.  Dr. Stacy Andersen of the Boston University School of Medicine has been studying these centenarians and the factors that are associated with not only their attaining an advanced age, but doing so with no history of major physical or mental health problems.  In her interview, Dr. Andersen discusses what she and her colleagues have discovered about this unusual group of older people.


 Key Takeaways:

  • Centenarians are people who have reached 100 years of age, while “supercentenarians” are 110 and older.
  • Recent studies of these groups of adults reveal that during their lives they have “escaped” the diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, dementia, and diabetes that cause earlier mortality among adults born at the same time.
  • Dr. Anderson discusses her work on the genetic bases for being an “escaper”, as well as the lifestyle and personality characteristics they have in common.


"The older you get, the healthier you’ve been." —  Dr. Stacy Andersen


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