Centenarians, once considered rare, have become commonplace. Indeed, they are the fastest-growing demographic group of the world's population, with numbers roughly doubling every ten years since the 1970s.
How long humans can live, and what determines a long and healthy life, have been of interest for as long as we know. Plato and Aristotle discussed and wrote about the ageing process over 2,300 years ago.
The pursuit of understanding the secrets behind exceptional longevity isn't easy, however. It involves unravelling the complex interplay of genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors and how they interact throughout a person's life.
Now our recent study, published in GeroScience, has unveiled some common biomarkers, including levels of cholesterol and glucose, in people who live past 90.
Nonagenarians and centenarians have long been of intense interest to scientists as they may help us understand how to live longer, and perhaps also how to age in better health. So far, studies of centenarians have often been small scale and focused on a selected group, for example, excluding centenarians who live in care homes.