What is the key to living longer? A new study suggests a hidden secret

What is the key to living longer? A new study suggests a hidden secret

What is the key to living longer? A new study suggests a hidden secret


Throughout history, brilliant minds have attempted to discover the secret to living longer. Much of the research has credited diet and exercise, but a group of scientists have expanded on earlier data to suggest another theory.

Researchers from Boston University and Tufts Medical Center have found that people aged 100 or older — known as centenarians — may have a unique makeup of immune cells that are highly protective against disease. according to a study published Friday in the peer-reviewed journal Lancet eBiomedicine.

“Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that allow (them) to recover from illness and reach old age,” said lead author Tanya Karagiannis, senior bioinformatician at the Center. for Quantitative Methods and Data Science, and Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center.

People with normal immune systems are exposed to infections, recover from them, and learn to adapt to future infections. While the immune system’s ability to respond to infections declines with age, scientists have speculated that it might be different for centenarians.

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The researchers analyzed immune cells circulating in the blood taken from seven centenarian participants in North America and identified specific immune patterns of aging and extreme human longevity.

They compared this information with other publicly available data that looked at immune cells from people across the human lifespan and found that the immune profile of centenarians did not follow trends associated with natural aging.

The findings “support the hypothesis that centenarians are enriched with protective factors that increase their ability to recover from infections,” said lead author Paola Sebastiani, director of the Center for Quantitative Methods and Data Science, and the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy. Studied at Tufts Medical Center.

What is the key to living longer? A new study suggests a hidden secret


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It’s unclear whether this unique immunological capacity is genetic, natural, or a confluence of outside factors, said lead author Stefano Monti, associate professor of medicine, biostatistics, and bioinformatics at Boston University School of Medicine. .

“The answer to what makes you live longer is very complex,” he said. “There are many factors, there’s genetics – what you inherit from a parent, there’s lifestyle, there’s luck.”

The study authors hope that the report’s findings will build on existing research that could help develop therapies for the world’s aging population.

“Centenarians, and their exceptional longevity, provide a ‘model’ of how we might live more productive and healthier lives,” said lead author George J. Murphy, associate professor of medicine at the medical school. from Boston University.

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Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Coverage of patient health and safety at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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