Stacy Andersen, PhD has conducted research with the New England Centenarian Study since 2000. Her earlier work involved the investigation of the delay or escape of age-related illnesses and disability in centenarians and their family members. Historically, gerontologists and the lay public assumed that living longer was associated with an increased duration of age-related illnesses. Then, in 1980, Jim Fries proposed his compression of morbidity hypothesis, suggesting that as people live to the limit of human life span, they necessarily postpone or delay age-related diseases towards the end of life. She first investigated this hypothesis in relation to cancer, normally associated with high mortality risk. In this study she documented a 17-year delay in the onset of cancer diagnoses compared with a national cancer database. Much more recently, she published evidence that those truly near the limit of human life span, supercentenarians (age 110+ years), postpone not only morbidity but also functional and cognitive decline. The supercentenarians spend an average of the last 5 years of their lives with one or more age-related diseases whereas younger centenarians spend approximately 9 years with morbidity. These studies demonstrate that extremely long-lived individuals are models for disease-free aging that can help us learn more about health spans and successful aging.
More recently Dr. Andersen has been investigating cognitive function in family members of long-lived individuals in the Long Life Family Study. Analyses of cognitive function in this cohort reveal that family members from the offspring generation perform better on some tests of neuropsychological function than their spouses who do not have familial longevity. In addition, there is familial clustering of exceptional episodic memory performance such that individuals with high-performing family members were more likely to demonstrate better episodic memory than those without high-performing family members. Assessment of more specific deficits in cognitive function consistent with Alzheimer’s disease revealed lower risk of impairment among individuals with familial longevity compared with their spouses. Dr. Andersen’s dissertation research involved an expanded neuropsychological assessment protocol in this cohort. She documented that in spite of average fewer years of education and lower proxies of cognitive reserve, participants with familial longevity performed at the same levels as the referent group. She concluded that individuals with familial longevity may have non-education related advantages that may be conducive to preserved cognitive function. She is now investigating a variety of potential modifiers of cognitive function in this cohort.
- Boston University School of Medicine, PhD
- Brandeis University, BS
- GMS BN 778
- Published on 5/1/2017
Fagan E, Sun F, Bae H, Elo I, Andersen SL, Lee J, Christensen K, Thyagarajan B, Sebastiani P, Perls T, Honig LS, Schupf N. Telomere length is longer in women with late maternal age. Menopause. 2017 May; 24(5):497-501. PMID: 27922939.
- Published on 3/15/2017
Sebastiani P, Gurinovich A, Bae H, Andersen S, Malovini A, Atzmon G, Villa F, Kraja AT, Ben-Avraham D, Barzilai N, Puca A, Perls TT. Four Genome-Wide Association Studies Identify New Extreme Longevity Variants. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Mar 15. PMID: 28329165.
- Published on 7/5/2016
Ismail K, Nussbaum L, Sebastiani P, Andersen S, Perls T, Barzilai N, Milman S. Compression of Morbidity Is Observed Across Cohorts with Exceptional Longevity. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Aug; 64(8):1583-91. PMID: 27377170.
- Published on 4/21/2016
Brodaty H, Woolf C, Andersen S, Barzilai N, Brayne C, Cheung KS, Corrada MM, Crawford JD, Daly C, Gondo Y, Hagberg B, Hirose N, Holstege H, Kawas C, Kaye J, Kochan NA, Lau BH, Lucca U, Marcon G, Martin P, Poon LW, Richmond R, Robine JM, Skoog I, Slavin MJ, Szewieczek J, Tettamanti M, Viña J, Perls T, Sachdev PS. ICC-dementia (International Centenarian Consortium - dementia): an international consortium to determine the prevalence and incidence of dementia in centenarians across diverse ethnoracial and sociocultural groups. BMC Neurol. 2016 Apr 21; 16:52. PMID: 27098177.
- Published on 10/7/2015
Sebastiani P, Andersen SL, McIntosh AI, Nussbaum L, Stevenson MD, Pierce L, Xia S, Salance K, Perls TT. Familial Risk for Exceptional Longevity. N Am Actuar J. 2016 Jan 01; 20(1):57-64. PMID: 27041978.
- Published on 3/26/2015
Sebastiani P, Nussbaum L, Andersen SL, Black MJ, Perls TT. Increasing Sibling Relative Risk of Survival to Older and Older Ages and the Importance of Precise Definitions of "Aging," "Life Span," and "Longevity". J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Mar; 71(3):340-6. PMID: 25814633.
- Published on 2/1/2015
Stevenson M, Bae H, Schupf N, Andersen S, Zhang Q, Perls T, Sebastiani P. Burden of disease variants in participants of the Long Life Family Study. Aging (Albany NY). 2015 Feb; 7(2):123-32. PMID: 25664523.
- Published on 1/1/2015
Sun F, Sebastiani P, Schupf N, Bae H, Andersen SL, McIntosh A, Abel H, Elo IT, Perls TT. Extended maternal age at birth of last child and women's longevity in the Long Life Family Study. Menopause. 2015 Jan; 22(1):26-31. PMID: 24977462.
- Published on 6/2/2014
Kaufman LB, Setiono TK, Doros G, Andersen S, Silliman RA, Friedman PK, Perls TT. An oral health study of centenarians and children of centenarians. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Jun; 62(6):1168-73. PMID: 24889721.
- Published on 9/30/2013
Sebastiani P, Sun FX, Andersen SL, Lee JH, Wojczynski MK, Sanders JL, Yashin A, Newman AB, Perls TT. Families Enriched for Exceptional Longevity also have Increased Health-Span: Findings from the Long Life Family Study. Front Public Health. 2013; 1:38. PMID: 24350207.
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