Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Centenarians

"It actually is a wonderful thing to get to 100," says physician and researcher Thomas Perls. He adds many younger people don't understand what living to 100 is really like.

"A lot of people ask, 'Gosh, who would want to live to 100?' because they get this idea of 'the older you get, the sicker you get,' when in fact, what we've found is very opposite to that," he says. "Centenarians, they markedly delay the onset of any kind of disability well to their early- to mid-90s. It's almost as if, if you have any kind of disability, it's much tougher to get to that age. So instead of it being a matter of 'the older you get, the sicker you get,' it's much more of the case, 'the older you get, the healthier you've been,' which is really a very optimistic view of aging."

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