The 100-plus Study of cognitively healthy centenarians: rationale, design and cohort description

Eur J Epidemiol. 2018 Dec;33(12):1229-1249. doi: 10.1007/s10654-018-0451-3. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


Although the incidence of dementia increases exponentially with age, some individuals reach more than 100 years with fully retained cognitive abilities. To identify the characteristics associated with the escape or delay of cognitive decline, we initiated the 100-plus Study ( ). The 100-plus Study is an on-going prospective cohort study of Dutch centenarians who self-reported to be cognitively healthy, their first-degree family members and their respective partners. We collect demographics, life history, medical history, genealogy, neuropsychological data and blood samples. Centenarians are followed annually until death. PET-MRI scans and feces donation are optional. Almost 30% of the centenarians agreed to post-mortem brain donation. To date (September 2018), 332 centenarians were included in the study. We analyzed demographic statistics of the first 300 centenarians (25% males) included in the cohort. Centenarians came from higher socio-economic classes and had higher levels of education compared to their birth cohort; alcohol consumption of centenarians was similar, and most males smoked during their lifetime. At baseline, the centenarians had a median MMSE score of 25 points (IQR 22.0-27.5); most centenarians lived independently, retained hearing and vision abilities and were independently mobile. Mortality was associated with cognitive functioning: centenarians with a baseline MMSE score ≥ 26 points had a mortality percentage of 17% per annual year in the second year after baseline, while centenarians with a baseline MMSE score < 26 points had a mortality of 42% per annual year (p = 0.003). The cohort was 2.1-fold enriched with the neuroprotective APOE-ε2 allele relative to 60-80 year-old population controls (p = 4.8 × 10-7), APOE-ε3 was unchanged and the APOE-ε4 allele was 2.3-fold depleted (p = 6.3 × 10-7). Comprehensive characterization of the 100-plus cohort of cognitively healthy centenarians might reveal protective factors that explain the physiology of long-term preserved cognitive health.

Keywords: 100-plus Study; Centenarians; Cognitive health longevity; Prospective cohort study.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over / psychology
  • Aged, 80 and over / statistics & numerical data*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Cognition*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Apolipoproteins E