Centenarians are those who live to the ripe old age of 100 years or more, this is a group which is becoming ever more populated. However, this cannot be said for the supercentenarians (those who live to 110 years of age). Still only 1 in every 100 centenarians become a super.
As if to add insult to injury to the rest of the comparatively rapidly degenerating general population, this elite bunch tend to make it past 100 with a figurative hop, skip and a jump; maintaining reasonable cognitive function and physical ability.
- A team at the Centre for Supercentenarian Medical Research at Keio University Medical School, in Tokyo, Japan, set out to identify biomarkers associated with exceptional survival to the supercentenarian ages.
- A major strength of the study was the uniqueness of the cohort. A nation-wide marketing phase recruited 1,427 of the oldest people, including >600 105 year olds and 36 supercentenarians. This is the largest cohort of 105+ year olds to ever be assembled.
- The most remarkable finding was that “low NT-proBNP levels are statistically associated with a survival advantage to supercentenarian age”. Dr. Yasumichi Arai, one of leaders of the study, suggested that NT-proBNP may be a surrogate marker for hemodynamic stress accompanied with aging of the cardiovascular and renal systems, and that further investigating this molecular pathway could lead to therapeutic potential.
- The team also found that the cardiovascular disease-related biomarkers: NT-proBNP, interleukin-6, cystatin C and cholinesterase, were all associated with all-cause mortality.
Earlier, one of our research analysts, Chris Curwen, had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Arai. Keep an eye out for our interview with him, which we will be publishing in the coming weeks!