There is increasing evidence to propose that research and innovation should focus on trying to live better rather than living longer. It is also clear that individuals age at different rates and indeed there are particular groups that can provide some clues about how to age in a healthy way.
Centenarians are a segment of the population that exhibits extreme longevity and is rising exponentially, with expectations of becoming the age group with the highest growth rate in the coming decades. Their longevity seems to be accompanied by a lower number of comorbidities and a better quality of life; that´s why some studies propose them as models of healthy aging.
The identification and characterization of blue zones worldwide, areas with the highest concentration of centenarians, have allowed us to define the conditions that characterize these special individuals. They include small body size, regular exercise, healthy diet, avoidance of stress, family connectedness and a positive attitude toward life.
Moreover, the recent advances in -omics technologies have made possible that biologists and clinicians are just starting to unravel the most frequent molecular, genetic and epigenetic changes in centenarians. This is leading to the identification of different pathways and expression patterns associated with this population, which might be relevant for the clinical understanding of centenarians and hence for healthy aging.
The International Congress “Centenarians: Models of healthy aging” that will be held on San Sebastian (Spain) next May 2020 will discuss the characteristics of this population group focusing on multidimensional research in centenarians including demographic, epidemiological, clinical, functional, psychosocial and biological aspects.
In the light of the new findings on centenarians, this meeting will bring together recognized national and international epidemiologists, gerontologists, clinicians and scientists to go over the current and upcoming centenarian’s multidisciplinary approach.
We look forward to seeing you all at San Sebastian!