Severe inflammation is part of many diseases in the old, such as diabetes or diseases attacking the bones or the body’s joints, and chronic inflammation can develop from any of them.
Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, led the UK part of the study. He said: “Centenarians and supercentenarians are different – put simply, they age slower. They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population.”
In groups of people aged 105 and over (semi-supercentenarians), those 100 to 104 (centenarians), those nearly 100 and their offspring, the team measured a number of health markers which they believe contribute towards successful ageing, including blood cell numbers, metabolism, liver and kidney function, inflammation and telomere length.
Scientists expected to see a continuous shortening of telomeres with age, however what they found was that the children of centenarians, who have a good chance of becoming centenarians themselves, maintained their telomeres at a ‘youthful’ level corresponding to about 60 years of age even when they became 80 or older.
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