AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Scientists in the Netherlands say they have sequenced the DNA of a woman whose mind was in remarkably good shape when she died at 115 years of age.
Dr. Henne Holstege of the Department of Clinical Genetics at the Vrije Universiteit Medical Center in Amsterdam says the woman, who was the oldest in the world when she died, appeared to have rare genetic changes in her DNA.
"We know that she's special. We know that her brain had absolutely no signs of Alzheimer's," Holstege told the BBC. "There must be something in her body that is protective against dementia.
"We think that there are genes that may ensure a long life and be protective against Alzheimer's."
The researchers, whose work was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics' annual meeting in Montreal, said it was unclear exactly what role her genetic differences contributed to her long life, the BBC said Saturday.
The identity of the woman, who donated her body to science, has not been released. Scientists say she was born prematurely but was healthy most of her life, suffering breast cancer at the age of 100 and dying of a stomach tumor. Two years before she died, scientists said, she had the mental acumen of someone 60 to 75 years old.
Scientists first charted the human genome more than a decade ago and have since charted the full gene map of a few hundred people, the BBC said.