The secret of centenarians, geriatrician: “35% DNA, food and luck”

“They will increase and we must start developing precision medicine for them too” Nicola Ferrara tells Adnkronos Salute

“The secret of centenarians? DNA weighs 35%, then nutrition and luck”. Thus at Adnkronos Salute Nicola Ferrara, former president of the Italian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (Sigg) and professor at the Federico II University of Naples, comments on what emerges from the Istat report on ‘2022 demographic indicators’: the estimated number of centenarians (100 years of age and older) will reach its highest historical level in 2022, touching the threshold of 22,000 units, over 2,000 more than the previous year.

“The cohort of centenarians in Italy is the one that has grown the most in proportion and will continue to do so in the coming years. Previously it was a very rare event to have an over 90-100 in your building or neighborhood, today it is much easier. The secret There are various elements: genetics has a value that is estimated to reach 35%, then there are nutrition, lifestyle and definitely also a lot of luck in not getting sick or in responding well to pathologies. Women are better than 100 years old, with a ratio of 4 to 1 with men. Except in some communities like Ogliastra in Sardinia, where the ratio is 1 to 1″.

But are there common elements among centenarians? “If we line up the communities that have a large number of over 100 people – replies the geriatrician – it emerges that they often live in non-stressful environments, have a diet that favors vegetables over animal proteins and are surrounded by very stable social ties. C “It is a line of studies on these communities that seeks markers or elements that select these people. And Italy is one of the leading countries in this sense. However, we must understand that when the cohort of centenarians will increase our National Health Service will have to address the social-health issue of how to help and assist them”, because “evidence-based medicine today does not have centenarians inside”.

One of the challenges, and suggestions, of medical research is to bring man to live 120 years. “The French lady Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122, replied to those who asked her about her secret that she had given up smoking a few years before her”, recalls Ferrara to reiterate the unpredictability of her longevity. “She Certainly she-she emphasizes she-she lived in a small community, far from the stressful life of the big city, where there were relationships and sociability, elements that are increasingly difficult to find today”.