No disease in the brain of a 115-year-old woman

Wilfred F. A. den Dunnen, Wiebo H. Brouwer, Eveline Bijlard, Jeanine Kamphuis, Klaas van Linschoten, Ellie Eggens-Meijer, Gert Holstege*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Are there limits to the duration of high quality of life? Are there limits to healthy life for a human brain? We have had the opportunity to evaluate the performance of a 112-113-year-old woman and perform full pathological examination of her body immediately after death at the age of 115. The psychological tests revealed that her general performance was above average of healthy adults of 60-75 years. The pathological observations revealed almost no atherosclerotic changes throughout the body. In the brain almost no beta-amyloid plaques or vascular changes were found and only slight accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau protein with a Braak-stage 2. Counts of the number of locus coeruleus neurons corresponded with the number of neurons found in the brains of healthy people of 60-80 years old. Our observations indicate that the limits of human cognitive function extends far beyond the range that is currently enjoyed by most individuals and that brain disease, even in supercentanarians, is not inevitable. (c) 2008 Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1132
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2008


  • atherosclerosis
  • supercentenarian
  • neurodegeneration
  • tau
  • locus coeruleus

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