A new study revealed the reasons for the increase in the average life of some people over 100 years, and based on the analysis of data collected in previous studies to propose a new theory.
Researchers from Boston University and Tufts Medical Center have shown that people who live to be 100 years old or older may have a unique combination of immune cells that protect them from disease, according to a study published in the Lancet eBiomedicine.
To reach the results, the researchers tracked a single cell to evaluate molecules in blood mononuclear cells, from samples from seven people over the age of 100. These cells represent the type of immune cell circulating in the blood.
“Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that enable them to recover from disease and reach old age,” said USA Today, lead author of the study, Tania Karagiannis.
The researchers say that the immune system’s ability to respond to infection declines with age, but they claim that this may be different in the case of those over the age of 100.
“The results support the hypothesis that centenarians are enriched with protective factors that increase their ability to recover from infection,” said senior researcher at Tufts Medical Center, Paola Sebastiani.
However, they could not tell whether the unique immune ability was hereditary, naturally occurring or met with external factors.