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A super long life is great if and only if it is accompanied by excellent health. Fortunately for those who do live past 110 years, they are healthy to the very end. Those people who die young commonly have bad health even in their young adult years and so even in their prime, they aren’t feeling very good.

The New York Times has a feature article, The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us, where they report on the collecting of DNA of supercentenarians. That means they need to collect blood and cheek swabs from many people over the age of 110 to discover the special good and bad DNA codes. “Of the 70,000 or so Americans who live to be 100, only some two dozen are typically alive at 110.” Worldwide there are now about 150 supercentenarians.

The results for increasing human lifespan through improvements in DNA are inconclusive so far, but some experiments on roundworms, rats, and mice DNA have doubled these animals’ normal life expectancy. World life expectancy in 1900 was 31 years and now it’s 71.5. That was from improvements in sanitation and medicine and was just as successful as improvements from modification of rats’ DNA. If the DNA fixes on us humans doubles our present average life expectancy we might live to 143, and that doubling might give our current natural supercentenarians 200 years.

One tidbit in the article caught my eye, “The Supercentenarian Research Project offers a glimpse at what that might entail, including perseverance, compassion and a sense of humor that trends toward dark.” I like to think those qualities quoted are applicable to me personally. … 1. Perseverance as in my creating 3,662 blog posts. 2. Compassion, as many of the posts are about developing personal kindness. 3. A sense of humor that tends to make light of unpleasant happenings.

My close friend Ralph Raphael told me, “The secret to long life is to keep breathing,” but I guess he forgot to take his own advice and died.

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