Characteristics of 32 Supercentenarians

Authors

  • Emily A. Schoenhofen BA,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • Diego F. Wyszynski MD, PhD,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • Stacy Andersen BS,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • JaeMi Pennington BS,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • Robert Young BA,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • Dellara F. Terry MD, MPH,

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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  • Thomas T. Perls MD, MPH

    1. From the *Clinical Aging Program, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGenetics Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MassachusettsNew England Centenarian Study, Geriatrics Section, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts§Gerontology Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia.
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Address correspondence to Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH, New England Centenarian Study, Boston University Medical Center, 88 East Newton St., Robinson 2400, Boston, MA 02118. E-mail: thperls@bu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To report phenotypic characteristics of 32 age-validated supercentenarians.

DESIGN: Case series.

SETTING: U.S.-based recruitment effort.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-two supercentenarians.

MEASUREMENTS: Multiple forms of proof were used to validate age claims. Sociodemographic, activities of daily living, and medical history data were collected.

RESULTS: Age range was 110 to 119. Fifty-nine percent had Barthel Index scores in the partially to totally dependent range, whereas 41% required minimal assistance or were independent. Few subjects had a history of clinically evident vascular-related diseases, including myocardial infarction (n=2, 6%) and stroke (n=4, 13%). Twenty-two percent (n=7) were taking medications for hypertension. Twenty-five percent (n=8) had a history of cancer (all cured). Diabetes mellitus (n=1, 3%) and Parkinson's disease (n=1, 3%) were rare. Osteoporosis (n=14, 44%) and cataract history (n=28, 88%) were common.

CONCLUSION: Data collected thus far suggest that supercentenarians markedly delay and even escape clinical expression of vascular disease toward the end of their exceptionally long lives. A surprisingly substantial proportion of these individuals were still functionally independent or required minimal assistance.

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