- To live 100+ years, management of inflammation helps the body ward off diseases.
Severe inflammation is an aspect of many aging-related diseases, and the lifelong accumulation of molecular damage resultant from chronic inflammation has been suggested to serve as a major contributor to the process of aging. Thomas von Zglinicki, from Newcastle University (United Kingdom), and colleagues studied data collected on Japanese centenarians (men and women age 100 years), and older. The team measured potential drives of the aging process – namely, blood cell numbers, metabolism, liver and kidney function, inflammation and telomere length. The investigators observed inflammation to be “the prime candidate amongst potential determinants of mortality, capability and cognition up to extreme old age.” They also observed 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. As such, the study authors write that: “Centenarians and their offspring were able to maintain long telomeres, but telomere length was not a predictor of successful ageing in centenarians and semi-supercentenarians. We conclude that inflammation is an important malleable driver of ageing up to extreme old age in humans.”