2 minute read


What Centenarians Can Tell Us

Although centenarians, who have lived through changes most people can only imagine, can teach us much about the past, history is not the only thing that can be learned from them. The study of centenarians can provide new perspectives on several unsolved puzzles of humans and human biology. For example, why do people age, and how do they age? What can be done to help more people live longer, healthier lives? What will the future look like, when there is a much larger proportion of very old, possibly very frail, people in the population? What adaptations will families, society, and public policy need to undergo to deal effectively with this aging population?



BENNETT, N. G., and GARSON, L. K. "Extraordinary Longevity in the Soviet Union: Fact or Artifact?" Gerontologist 26 (1986): 358–361.

FRANCESCHI, C.; BONAFÈ, M.; VALENSIN, S.; OLIVIERI, F.; DE LUCA, M.; OTTAVIANI, E.; and DE BENEDICTIS, G. "Inflamm-aging: An Evolutionary Perspective on Immunosenescence." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 908 (2000): 244–254.

MCMURDO, M. E. T. "A Healthy Old Age: Realistic or Futile Goal?" British Medical Journal 321 (2000): 1149–1151.

PERLS, T. T.; BOCHEN, K.; FREEMAN, M.; ALPERT, L.; and SILVER, M. H. "Validity of Reported Age and Centenarian Prevalence in New England." Age and Ageing 28 (1999): 193–197.

RITCHIE, K. "Mental Status Examination of an Exceptional Case of Longevity: J. C. Aged 118 Years." British Journal of Psychiatry 166 (1995): 229–235.

SCHÄCHTER, F. "Human Genetics '98: Causes, Effects, and Constraints in the Genetics of Human Longevity." American Journal of Human Genetics 62 (1998): 1008–1014.

SCHÄCHTER, F. "Genetics of Survival." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 908 (2000): 64–70.

TULJAPURKAR, S.; LI, N.; and BOE, C. "A Universal Pattern of Mortality Decline in the G7 Countries." Nature 405 (2000): 789–792.

VAUPEL, J. W.; CAREY, J. R.; CHRISTENSEN, K.; JOHNSON, T. E.; YASHIN, A. I.; HOLM, N. V.; IACHINE, I. A.; KANNISTO, V.; KHAZAELI, A. A.; LIEDO, P.; LONGO, V. D.; ZENG, Y.; MANTON, K. G.; and CURTSINGER, J. W. "Biodemographic Trajectories of Longevity." Science 280 (1998): 855–860.

WESTWENDORP, R. J. G., and KIRKWOOD, T. B. L. "Human Longevity at the Cost of Reproductive Success." Nature 396 (1998): 743–746.

WILMOTH, J.; SKYTTHE, A.; FRIOU, D.; and JEUNE, B. "The Oldest Man Ever? A Case Study of Exceptional Longevity." Gerontologist 36 (1996): 783–788.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Centenarians - Age Verification, Epidemiology Of Centenarianism, Characteristics Of Centenarians, Why Some People Live To Be One Hundred