Scientists study rise in centenarians

January 1, 2007

With the number of centenarians growing, scientists have been researching the secrets of living to age 100 and beyond, the Baltimore Sun says.

Recently interviewed by scientists was Lois Vaught, 104, who is the oldest resident at Friends Nursing Home in Sandy Spring, Md. Although deaf, Vaught is able to respond to questions written to her in writing and still remains very sharp. But researchers said Vaught was also genetically advantaged, having parents that lived into their 90s.

Genetics, scientists have found, play a significant role in longetivity. But behaviors are known to be a factor, too. Vaught and her late husband never drank alcohol or smoked, and always cooked healthy, even long before the trends towards organic foods.

Scientists specializing in aging said there is an increase throughout the world in people living to 100 and beyond. Much of this is attributed to vaccination programs and better water and sewage systems.

The Sun reported that several studies are under way by epidemiologists and other experts, some of whom predict that humans will eventually live to 125 on average.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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