Healthcare Essentials

Scientists Uncover The Mystery Behind Living Past 100 Years!

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 29 May 2023, Updated on - 16 June 2023

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Did you know that life expectancy has doubled since the 1900s? This increase has prompted researchers to find the secret to living to 100. Moreover, scientists from Tuft Medical Centre and Boston School of Medicine have found a potential "immunity secret" that allows some individuals to live to 100 while avoiding many age-related diseases.

The researchers found that people who live to be 100 have a unique genetic makeup characterised by enhanced immune function, lower levels of inflammation, and better DNA repair mechanisms, which protect them from diseases.

How Does the Immune System Change with Age?

With age, the immune system undergoes several changes that can impact our ability to fight off infections and diseases.

  • Immunosenescence is one of the most significant changes that occur in the immune system over time, causing its gradual deterioration. Immunosenescence results in a decline in the production of immune cells, such as T-cells and B-cells, as well as a decrease in the ability of these cells to recognise and respond to pathogens. This can make older adults more susceptible to infections and less responsive to vaccines.
  • In addition, chronic inflammation, which is often associated with ageing, can further impair immune function. This is because inflammation can damage immune cells and reduce their effectiveness in fighting off infection.

These changes can increase the risk of developing infections and chronic diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

The Secret to Exceptional Longevity Among Centenarians

Several centenarians have been found to experience delayed-onset of ageing-related diseases, which points to a possibility that an ‘elite’ immunity remains functional even as the individual grows older. To find the underlying reason, scientists analysed peripheral blood mononuclear cells (a type of immune cell). On analysis, they found that the same cells in different individuals across ages developed different gene expression patterns, giving them increased longevity.

They also identified that centenarians had unique cell types with specific compositional and transcriptional changes and showed regular immune responses. Studying these unique cell types opened up a world of healthy ageing therapeutics that can help more people live healthier lives.

In conclusion, ageing causes our immune system to undergo several changes that can impact the body's ability to fight infections and diseases. However, by understanding the genetic and immunological differences that protect some individuals from age-related diseases, scientists may be able to develop new treatments and preventative measures to improve immune function and promote healthy ageing.

Consult Apollo’s Expert Doctors


  1. How to live 100 years healthy?

Recent studies have found that people who live up to 100 (centenarians) have genetic changes that regulate their immune system, keeping them healthy for longer.

  1. What are a few key factors that help you live longer?

Eating healthy, regular exercise, steering clear of bad habits and getting plenty of sleep are some ways to live longer.

  1. How rare is it to live till 90?

Statistics state that 16% of men and 34% of women have lived up to 90 or longer.

  1. What should you avoid if you wish to live up to 100?

If you wish to live up to 100 or longer, you must avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, eating an unhealthy diet and living a sedentary lifestyle without exercise.

  1. What is the secret to living 100 years without a disease?

Unfortunately, there is no secret to living 100 years without disease since many factors play a role, including genetics and lifestyle.


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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