Betty White Lived to 99; Research May Help More Reach ‘Ripe Old Age’
Jan 5, 2022
Ashley Boarman
Happy seniors enjoying a small get-together

You can’t help but love Betty White and be inspired by the actress’ long and energetic life. America’s “Golden Girl” died on New Year’s Eve at age 99, just shy of her 100th birthday.

“White was the picture of aging healthfully and gracefully,” said Dr. Steven Cummings, a research scientist at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, director of the San Francisco Coordinating Center and principal investigator of the Longevity Consortium.

Like White, Dr. Cummings says people are living longer these days. That’s including the oldest old — that is, those ages 85 and older.

“To extend our healthy, active years, we must better understand how our bodies change as we age,” said Dr. Cummings.

Research on aging

Aging is a strong risk factor for many chronic diseases. What’s more, the diagnosis and treatment of these common chronic illnesses, like dementia, place a significant burden on healthcare budgets.

“Now is the time for the public health community to plan for the ‘older-older age wave’,” says Dr. Cummings.

Sutter Health has long been at the forefront of research into longevity through its partnership with the SFCC. As the home of the Longevity Consortium, Sutter’s CPMC Research Institute and the SFCC coordinate the work of laboratory scientists, biostatisticians, genomics researchers, epidemiologists and clinical investigators to understand genes associated with human aging and longevity. The overall purpose is to identify molecular targets for interventions to slow or delay the aging process.

“Research on aging will lead to the development of preventative measures that will help keep people healthier for longer and may even add years to people’s lives,” says Dr. Cummings.

Sutter Health’s research institutes are home to hundreds of clinical trials and research studies, including these on aging. Here are just a few:


Recent Articles