Since 1900, the average human life expectancy has more than doubled. The average lifespan across the globe has climbed from 31 years in 1900 to 73.2 years in 2023, and is predicted to reach 77.1 years in 2050.
The number of people who live to be at least 100 years old is also rising. called centenarians According to Trusted Source, studies predict that by 2050, there will be 3.7 million centenarians worldwide, up from an estimated 450,000 in 2015.
In the early 2000s, research by PreviousTrusted Source predicted that between 2005 and 2030, the number of people worldwide who will reach the age of 100 or older would more than quadruple.
This question is being addressed by a recent study led by scientists from Tufts Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, which discovered that centenarians have a distinct immune cell composition and activity that contributes to their long lifespan and highly functional immune system.
These results, according to scientists, may be utilized to create treatments that promote healthy aging.
The study was just released in the publication Lancet eBioMedicin.
As we age, all parts of the body experience changes, including the immune system.
According to Dr. Scott Kaiser, a geriatrician, and director of Geriatric Cognitive Health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, there are two main concepts when it comes to how the immune system changes as we get older.
“One is immunosenescence and that’s the age-related process of immune dysfunction,” he explained to Medical News Today.
“So changes in our immune system composition and function over time can lead to poor immune function in older people. And that’s closely related to people’s vulnerability to infection, autoimmune disease, and even various types of cancer,” he said.
“And then there’s this issue of inflammagingTrusted Source, which is a term that’s been used to describe age-related increases in inflammation because of high levels of pro-inflammatory markers in the blood and different tissues in the body. That’s a strong risk factor for all sorts of diseases, including neurodegenerative processes like Alzheimer’s disease, for example,” Dr. Kaiser continued.
“So there’s a lot to look at in terms of the immune function over time and how our immune systems changes with age may either make us more vulnerable or protect us,” he added.