Page 1
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

Science Report: Living to 100 and Beyond

Researchers are starting to piece together a roadmap to end the one condition we’re all born with and for which there is no cure: aging. And though science cannot hold back the chronological sands of time and there is yet no magic elixir for living longer, some scientists predict that in our lifetime, medical advances will enable us to enjoy our centenarian years active, healthy, and well.

It comes down to genetics and research that is rapidly advancing biomedical technologies to help the body rejuvenate by repairing and regenerating damaged cells and organs.

In 2007 genetic scientists at Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) in La Jolla, California, launched the Wellderly study. For 10 years they looked at the entire genome sequence of more than 1,400 exceptionally healthy individuals who are 80 to 105 years old with no common chronic diseases. The goal of the study was to see what genetic factors are involved in mediating a long and healthy life (i.e., health-span versus lifespan).

What scientists found is that the elderly-well have an abundance of genetic variants associated with living to 100 and beyond, and they have discovered a possible link between long-term cognitive health and protection from chronic, age-related diseases.


What scientists found is that the elderly-well have an abundance of genetic variants associated with living to 100 and beyond.


“We didn’t find a silver bullet,” says Dr. Ali Torkamani, director of genome informatics. “There isn’t any one simple explanation — aging is a complex disease, and healthy aging is a complex combination of many different things. But we found that our study group have a higher-than-normal presence of genetic variants that protect against cognitive decline and have a lower genetic risk for chronic conditions, including coronary disease and Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Torkamani says he and his colleagues are not certain how, exactly, preservation of cognitive function is related to healthy aging. He hypothesizes that it could just be that if you’re older and cognitive function is declining, you don’t take care of yourself, whereas if your mind works well, you engage in behaviors to preserve your health. “Of course, there’s a strong connection between the brain and all the organs in our body, so there could be a more biological link between brain function and healthy function of other organs.” There is much to study, and it’s why SRI has made the Wellderly Study genetic dataset available to other researchers.

A Roadmap to Healthy Aging

Former University of Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey doesn’t beat around the bush. “Aging kills us,” he says bluntly. “In a nutshell, aging is basically the process of metabolism, which is everything that goes on in our bodies that keeps us alive from one day to the next. And like the aging of mechanical things like cars and planes, the more it’s used, the more damage is caused.”

De Grey is VP of new technology discovery at AgeX Therapeutics and chief science officer at SENS Research Foundation in Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that funds academic and private sector research focusing on regenerative medicine and therapies that he says will make 70-year-olds have the health of 20-year-olds — including, among others, stem cell therapy, gene therapies, and immunotherapies.

“Longevity,” de Grey says, “is a side effect of not getting sick. Stop people getting sick at any age and we’ll all live longer — unless we get hit by an asteroid.”


Longevity is a side effect of not getting sick. Stop people getting sick at any age and we’ll all live longer.


In the meantime, don’t burn your workout clothes and reach for the ice cream, because keeping in shape and eating right remains a critical part of the biological complexity of healthy aging.

“[SENS and STSI] have got hold of the future there, but little of it is actionable yet, and there’s good evidence that healthy aging isn’t just genetic,” says internist Dr. Keith Roach, who teaches clinical medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and is an associate attending physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “Aging well is most certainly complex, and our health behavior choices can have a significant impact on living a healthier, longer life.”

Dr. Roach is co-creator of the RealAge Test, a science-based interactive health-risk assessment that predicts your health age versus your chronological age based on good and bad behaviors as well as conditions, and says most people think diet is everything. “But it’s not. It’s a piece of the puzzle, but a smaller piece. If you eat fish a few times a week and have high levels of omega fatty acids in your blood, yes, you’ll be less likely to get dementia.” But he says studies have proven that regular vigorous exercise, especially in middle age, predicts longevity. “You will live as much as 12 years longer and be a lot less likely to develop dementia.”

So while we wait for the future of rejuvenation technologies and gene therapies to keep us well in our old age, we still need to eat right and exercise right. And keep our fingers crossed about that asteroid.

Photo: Beatrix Boros

You Might Also Like

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber
Wellness

6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate that packs a powerful...

read
Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days
Fitness

Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days

In today’s “go big or go home” mentality, it is easy to...

read
7 Ways to Strengthen Bones Naturally
Wellness

7 Ways to Strengthen Bones Naturally

For many, bone density holds cause for concern: Osteoporosis is a diagnosis...

read
3 Foam Roller Exercises to Limber You Up
Wellness

3 Foam Roller Exercises to Limber You Up

Pretty much everyone can benefit from a few foam roller exercises, says...

read
Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love
Beauty

Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love

The solution to chronic fatigue requires a holistic deep dive into your...

read
Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber
Wellness

6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate that packs a powerful...

read
Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days
Fitness

Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days

In today’s “go big or go home” mentality, it is easy to...

read
Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover
Beauty

Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover

As your hair’s pigment seemingly evaporates into thin air, you might notice...

read
7 Ways to Strengthen Bones Naturally
Wellness

7 Ways to Strengthen Bones Naturally

For many, bone density holds cause for concern: Osteoporosis is a diagnosis...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Beta Hydroxy Acids
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Beta Hydroxy Acids

When you were younger, your skin functioned more nimbly. It produced loads...

read
9 Little Black Dresses That Work Around the Clock
Style

9 Little Black Dresses That Work Around the Clock

We’ve been contemplating the idea of a uniform. These little black dresses...

read
Digital Fitness: Yay or Nay?
Fitness

Digital Fitness: Yay or Nay?

The music’s pumping, the sweat is dripping, and the high-energy instructor is...

read
Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends
#RealTalk

Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends

One of the biggest arguments I ever had with my father was...

read
Office Hours: What Should I Wear on a Job Interview?
Living

Office Hours: What Should I Wear on a Job Interview?

Welcome to Office Hours, where each month a Fairygodboss expert answers a question from...

read
Women Who Inspire: Beauty Industry Titan Bobbi Brown
Living

Women Who Inspire: Beauty Industry Titan Bobbi Brown

When makeup artist Bobbi Brown created 10 simple brown-based lipsticks at her...

read
The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty
#RealTalk

The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty

Angelika Buettner is on a crusade to celebrate the natural beauty of...

read
11 Water Bottles We’re Thirsty For
Fitness

11 Water Bottles We’re Thirsty For

Above the political din, the conversation about saving the planet rises. Innovative...

read
My Second Awkward Stage
#RealTalk

My Second Awkward Stage

A couple of weeks ago, I took my eldest son and my...

read
3 Foam Roller Exercises to Limber You Up
Wellness

3 Foam Roller Exercises to Limber You Up

Pretty much everyone can benefit from a few foam roller exercises, says...

read
Every Little Reason to Use a Foam Roller
Wellness

Every Little Reason to Use a Foam Roller

If you experience stress or regularly exercise, your muscles will thank you...

read
‘Aging Isn’t for Wimps’ and Other Quotes From Our Readers
#RealTalk

‘Aging Isn’t for Wimps’ and Other Quotes From Our Readers

We asked our Facebook followers what part of aging has surprised them...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Vitamin E
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Vitamin E

We’re always on the lookout for products that multitask, so if an...

read
Road Test: Elle Macpherson’s SUPER ELIXIR Greens
Beauty

Road Test: Elle Macpherson’s SUPER ELIXIR Greens

I was preparing to write this story when I met a long-time...

read
Women Who Inspire: The F-Factor Diet Founder Tanya Zuckerbrot
Wellness

Women Who Inspire: The F-Factor Diet Founder Tanya Zuckerbrot

Food was always an important part of Tanya Zuckerbrot’s life growing up,...

read
8 Red Lipsticks for a Luscious Pucker
Beauty

8 Red Lipsticks for a Luscious Pucker

Think you can’t rock red lipstick in your 40s and beyond? Think...

read
Load More
share
To Top