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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Florida: Researchers Explore Why 45,000 Floridian Superagers Are So Healthy

An ongoing pilot study of the factors associated with successful aging in a population of those 90 and older found about 45,000 “superagers” in Florida. These are people free of Alzheimer’s, dementia or stroke, living independently with few hospitalizations or emergency room visits and generally free of disease, among other qualifiers. That is out of a population of more than 200,000 people over 90 in a state with 21 million residents.

“I thought making it to 90 and beyond was a pretty rare and special thing, which it is,” said Dr. Demetrius Maraganore, the B.J. and Eve Wilder professor of Alzheimer’s disease in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology. “But more than 45,000 superagers living in Florida? That’s pretty amazing.”

Dr. Maraganore and Dr. Steve Anton, an associate professor in the UF College of Medicine and the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions and faculty member at the UF Institute on Aging, are co-principal investigators of the Understanding Resistance, Resilience and Repair in the Health Span study, or the Over 90 study. This is one of UF’s “moonshot” initiatives, a series of ambitious projects to improve the lives of Floridians.

The Over 90 study seeks to identify people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and geographic locations who are resistant to the effects of aging, as well as those who are resilient and recover from past illnesses. The investigation hopes to examine their biology, genetics, environment and lifestyle for clues about how they aged successfully.

“Nowadays, everybody wants to learn the secret of living longer and healthier,” said Dr. Anton. “And we’re on the verge of getting closer to those answers. This is an exciting research opportunity.”

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