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Vitality 90+

Vitality 90+ Study is an ongoing multidisciplinary research project focusing on longevity and the oldest old population. Research is motivated by the rapid changes in the population structure and by the increase in longevity. In Finland, the number of people aged 90 or older has doubled in the past 20 years from 22 000 to 55 000 thousand, and by 2040, it will reach 150 000. The Vitality 90+ Study was initiated in 1995 by Antti Hervonen and Marja Jylhä.

Major research themes:

  • Time trends of health and functioning
  • Predictors of longevity
  • Quality of life
  • Formal and informal care and services
  • Old age as an individual experience
  • Biological basis of longevity

Data collections:

  • Mailed surveys for community dwelling individuals aged 90 years and older in 1995, 1996 and 1998, and for all individuals in the age group in 2001, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022 in the city of Tampere (n=10 830).
  • Health examinations including health interview, anthropometric measurements and physical and cognitive performance tests in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2010, and blood samples for biological measurements in 1998, 2000, 2010 and 2014.
  • Face-to-face life story interviews have been conducted in 1995 and 2012.
  • National register data on medication, health and social care use and mortality have been linked with the survey data.

Vitality 90+ is a unique data source consisting of population-based survey data with exceptional high response rates (around 80%), multidisciplinary research approach and covering over 25 years period.

The project improves understanding of the dynamics between longer life expectancy and the development of health and quality of life of the oldest old. The aims are to make visible the diverse lives and needs of the oldest old, to improve the position of older people in society, and to develop services for older people so that they can continue to enjoy a good life until the end.

Research findings have been reported in nearly 100 scientific publications and the data materials have been used in 10 doctoral dissertations.

More information on the Vitality 90+ Study can be found on the project’s website

Funding sources

Academy of Finland, Juho Vainio Foudation, Pirkanmaa Cultural Founfation and other competetive research funding.

Research group

Project leader and contact person of the survey, Senior Research Fellow Linda Enroth

Contact person of the life story interviews, Professor of Gerontology Anu Siren,

Contact person of the health examination, Senior Research fellow Juulia Jylhävä,

Doctoral Researcher Pauliina Halonen,

Professor Marja Jylhä,

Senior Research Fellow Laura Kananen,

University Lecturer Kirsi Lumme-Sandt,

Post-doctoral Researcher Saara Marttila,

Researcher Jani Raitanen,

Researcher Maija Satamo,

Senior Research Fellow Kristina Tiainen,

Doctoral Researcher Katariina Tuominen,

Juulia Jylhävä. Cell-free DNA as a novel biomarker of aging – characterization and genetic regulation. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1295. Tampere University Press 2013.

Saara Marttila. Ageing-associated changes in gene expression and DNA methylation with implications for intergenerational epigenetic inheritance. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2150. Tampere University Press 2016.

Laura Kananen. Aging-associated changes in the DNA methylome and characteristics of the epigenetic clock. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2355. Tampere University Press 2018.

Lily Nosraty. Successful aging among the oldest old. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2370. Tampere University Press 2018.

Enroth Linda. Social inequality in the health of the oldest old : Socioeconomic differences in health, functioning, mortality and long-term care use in the population aged 90+. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2335. Tampere University Press 2017.

Lisko Inna. Obesity in the Oldest Old : Associations of body mass index and waist circumference with physical functioning and mortality. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2267. Tampere University Press 2017.

Uotila Hanna. Vanhuus ja yksinäisyys. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1651. Tampere University Press 2011.

Goebeler Sirkka. Health and Illness at the Age of 90. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1484. Tampere University Press 2009.

Jolanki Outi. Fate or Choice? Talking about age and health. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1434. Tampere University Press 2009.

Lumme-Sandt Kirsi. Ikäihmiset ja lääkkeiden käytön moninaiset maailmat. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 900. Tampere University Press 2002


Enroth L, Fors S 2021. Trends in the social class inequalities in disability and self-rated health: Repeated cross-sectional surveys from Finland and Sweden 2001-2018. International Journal of Public Health, (66), 1–10.

Enroth L, Pulkki J 2021. Aistivaikeudet, arki ja toimintakyky 90 vuotta täyttäneillä. Gerontologia 35(2), 121–137. (Sensory difficulties, everyday life and functional ability among people aged 90+)

Hyvärinen M, Hatavara M, Rautajoki H 2021. Positioning with Master and Counter-Narratives. Narrative Inquiry 31, (1), 97–125.

Nevalainen T, Autio A, Puhka M, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2021. Composition of the whole transcriptome in the human plasma: Cellular source and modification by aging. Exp Gerontol 143:111119.

Rautajoki H, Hyvärinen M. Aspects of voice in the use of positioning in polyphonic storytelling. Special Issue in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies: “Ventriloquism as a Practice and Metaphor” (ed. by Wiklund M, Hoegaerts J) (forthcoming 2021).


Autio A, Nevalainen T, Mishra BH, Jylhä M, Flinck H, Hurme M 2020. Effect of aging on the transcriptomic changes associated with the expression of the HERV-K (HML-2) provirus at 1q22. Immunity & ageing: I & A, 17, 11.

Enroth L, Raitanen J, Halonen P, Tiainen K, Jylhä M 2020. Trends of Physical Functioning, Morbidity, and DisabilityFree Life Expectancy Among the Oldest Old: Six Repeated Cross-Sectional Surveys Between 2001 and 2018 in the Vitality 90+ Study. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. 2020.

Lisko I, Törmäkangas T & Jylhä M 2020. Structure of self-rated health among the oldest old: Analyses in the total population and those living with dementia. SSM – Population Health, vol. 11. p.100567-100567

Raitanen J, Stenholm S, Tiainen K, Jylhä M, Nevalainen J 2020. Longitudinal change in physical functioning and dropout due to death among the oldest old: a comparison of three methods of analysis. European Journal of Ageing, (17), 207–216.


Enroth L, Veenstra M, Aartsen M, Kjær AA, Juul Nilsson C, Fors S 2019. Are there educational disparities in health among the oldest old? Evidence from the Nordic countries. European Journal of Ageing, (16), 415–424.

Halonen P, Raitanen J, Enroth L, Jämsen E, Jylhä M 2019. Chronic conditions and multimorbidity in population aged 90 years and over: associations with mortality and long-term care admission. Age and Ageing, 48(4), 564–570.

Hoogendijk EO, van der Noordt M, Onwuteaka-Philipsen Bregje D, Deeg Dorly JH, Huisman M, Enroth L, Jylhä M 2019. Sex differences in healthy life expectancy among nonagenarians: A multistate survival model using data from Vitality 90+ study. Experimental Gerontology 116 (2019) 80–85.

Hyvärinen M, Hatavara M, Rautajoki, H 2019. Kerronta, asemointi ja haastattelun analyysi [Narration, Positioning and the Analysis of Interviews]. Sosiologia 56, no. 1: 6–25.

Jylhä M, Enroth L, Halonen P 2019. Vanhoista vanhimpien terveys ja toimintakyky. Duodecim, 135 (11), 1085–1091.

Nevalainen T, Autio A, Kummola L, Salomaa T, Junttila I, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2019. CD27- IgD- B cell memory subset associates with inflammation and frailty in elderly individuals but only in males. Immun Ageing 16:19-019-0159-6. eCollection 2019.

Ozsait-Selcuk B, Komurcu-Bayrak E, Jylhä M, Luukkaala T, Perola M, Kristiansson K, Mononen N, Hurme M, Kähönen M, Goebeler S et al 2019. The rs2516839 variation of USF1 gene is associated with 4-year mortality of nonagenarian women: The Vitality 90+ study. Annals of human genetics, 83(1), 34–45.

Tuominen, K, Pirhonen, J 2019. Who would take a 90-year-old? Community-dwelling nonagenarians’ perceptions of social relationships. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, Advance access.


Nevalainen T, Autio A, Mishra BH, Marttila S, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2018. Aging-associated patterns in the expression of human endogenous retroviruses. PLoS One 13:e0207407.


Enroth L, Aaltonen M, Raitanen J, Nosraty L, Jylhä M 2017. Does use of long-term care differ between occupational classes among the oldest old? Vitality 90+ Study. European Journal of Ageing, 15, 143–153 (2018).

Halonen, P, Enroth, L, Jylhä, M, Tiainen K 2017. Pitkäaikaissairaudet ja monisairastavuus hyvin vanhoilla sekä niiden yhteys toimintakykyyn ja itse arvioituun terveyteen-Tervaskannot 90+ -tutkimus. Gerontologia 31 (4), 269–281.

Kauppi M, Raitanen J, Stenholm S, Aaltonen M, Enroth L, Jylhä M 2017. Predictors of long-term care among nonagenarians: the Vitality 90 + Study with linked data of the care registers. Aging clinical and experimental research, 30(8), 913–919.

Lisko, I, Tiainen, K, Raitanen, J, Jylhävä, J, Hurme, M, Hervonen, A, Stenholm, S 2017. Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference as Predictors of Disability in Nonagenarians: The Vitality 90+ Study. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 72(11), 1569–1574.

Marttila S, Nevalainen T, Jylhävä J, Kananen L, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2017. Human endogenous retrovirus HERV-K(HML-2) env expression is not associated with markers of immunosenescence. Experimental Gerontology, 97, 60–63.

Nevalainen T, Kananen L, Marttila S, Jylhava J, Mononen N, Kahonen M, Raitakari OT, Hervonen A, Jylha M, Lehtimaki T et al 2017. Obesity accelerates epigenetic aging in middle-aged but not in elderly individuals. Clinical Epigenetics, 9(1), 20. [20].

Nosraty L, Pulkki J, Raitanen J, Enroth L, Jylhä M 2017. Successful Aging as a Predictor of Long-Term Care Among Oldest Old: The Vitality 90+ Study. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 38(4), 553–571.


Enroth L, Raitanen J, Hervonen A, Lehtimäki T, Jylhävä J, Hurme M, Jylhä M 2016. Cardiometabolic and Inflammatory Biomarkers as Mediators Between Educational Attainment and Functioning at the Age of 90 Years. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 71, 412–419.

Jylhävä J, Kananen L, Raitanen J, Marttila S, Nevalainen T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2016. Methylomic predictors demonstrate the role of NF-κB in old-age mortality and are unrelated to the aging-associated epigenetic drift. Oncotarget, 7(15), 19228–41.

Kananen L, Marttila S, Nevalainen T, Kummola L, Junttila I, Mononen N, Kähönen M, Raitakari OT, Hervonen A, Jylhä M et al 2016. The trajectory of the blood DNA methylome ageing rate is largely set before adulthood: evidence from two longitudinal studies. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands), 38(3), 65.

Nevalainen T, Kananen L, Marttila S, Jylhävä J, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2016. Increased Paternal Age at Conception Is Associated with Transcriptomic Changes Involved in Mitochondrial Function in Elderly Individuals. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0167028. [e0167028].


Enroth L, Raitanen J, Hervonen A, Nosraty L, Jylhä M 2015. Is Socioeconomic Status a Predictor of Mortality in Nonagenarians? The Vitality 90+ Study. Age and Ageing, 44(1), 123–129.

Kananen L, Nevalainen T, Jylhävä J, Marttila S, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2015. Cytomegalovirus infection accelerates epigenetic aging. Exp Gerontol 72:227-229. Experimental Gerontology, 72(S: C), 227–29.

Lisko I, Stenholm S, Raitanen J, Hurme M, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Tiainen K 2015. Association of Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference With Physical Functioning: The Vitality 90+ Study. Journal of Gerontology A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 70(7), 885–891.

Marttila S, Kananen L, Häyrynen S, Jylhävä J, Nevalainen T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Nykter M, Hurme M 2015. Ageing-associated changes in the human DNA methylome: genomic locations and effects on gene expression. BMC Genomics, 16(1), [179].

Marttila S, Kananen L, Jylhävä J, Nevalainen T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2015. Length of paternal lifespan is manifested in the DNA methylome of their nonagenarian progeny. Oncotarget, 6(31), 30557–30567.

Marttila S, Nevalainen T, Kananen L, Jylhävä J, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Ilonen J, Hurme M 2015. Number of sons contributes to ageing-associated inflammation. Scientific Reports, 5(8631), [8631].

Nevalainen T, Kananen L, Marttila S, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M, Jylhävä J 2015. Transcriptomic and epigenetic analyses reveal a gender difference in aging-associated inflammation: the Vitality 90+ study. AGE, 37(4), 9814. [76].

Nosraty L, Enroth L, Raitanen J, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2015. Do Succesful Agers Live Longer? The Vitality 90+ Study. Journal of Aging and Health, 27(1), 35–53.

Nosraty L, Raittila T, Jylhä M, Lumme-Sandt K 2015. Perceptions by the oldest-old of successful aging. Journal og Aging Studies, 32, 50–58.

Tiainen K, Raitanen J, Vaara E, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2015. Longitudinal changes in mobility among nonagenarians: the Vitality 90+ Study. Bmc Geriatrics, 15(124), [124].


Jylhävä J, Raitanen J, Marttila S, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2014. Identification of a prognostic signature for old-age mortality by integrating genome-wide transcriptomic data with the conventional predictors: the Vitality 90+ Study. Bmc Medical Genomics, 11(54), 54.

Marttila S, Jylhävä J, Kananen L, Hervonen A, Jylhä M, Hurme M 2014. Molecular mechanisms associated with the strength of the anti-CMV response in nonagenarians. Immunity & Ageing, 11(1), 2. [2].


Enroth L, Raitanen J, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2013. Do socioeconomic health differences persist in nonagenarians. The Journals of Gerontology Series B : Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 68(5), 837–847.

Galenkamp H, Deeg DJH, Huisman M, Hervonen A, Braam AW, Jylhä M 2013. Is self-rated health still sensitive for changes in disease and functioning among nonagenarians? The Journals of Gerontology Series B : Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 68(5), 848–858.

Jylha M, Enroth L and Luukkaala T 2013.  Trends of functioning and health in nonagenarians- the Vitality 90+ Study. In J-M. Robine, C. Jagger, & E. Crimmins (Eds.), Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 313–332. Springer Publishing Company.

Jylhävä J, Nevalainen T, Marttila S, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2013. Characterization of the role of distinct plasma cell-free DNA species in age-associated inflammation and frailty. Aging Cell, 12(3), 388–397.

Kämppä N, Mäkelä KM, Lyytikäinen LP, Peltonen N, Hautamäki J, Seppälä I, Mononen N, Goebeler S, Karhunen PJ, Hervonen A et al 2013. Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble Fas and hepatocyte growth factor as predictors of mortality in nonagenarians: the Vitality 90+ study. Experimental Gerontology, 48(11), 1167–72.

Lisko I, Tiainen K, Stenholm S, Luukkaala T, Hurme M, Lehtimäki T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2013. Are body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio associated with leptin in 90-year-old people? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(4), 420–422.

Tiainen K, Luukkaala T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2013. Predictors of mortality in men and women aged 90 years and older: nine-year follow-up. Age and ageing, 42(4), 468–475.


Helminen S, Sarkeala T, Enroth L, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2012. Vanhoista vanhimpien terveys ja elämätilanne. Tuloksia vuoden 201 Tervaskannot 90+- tutkimuksesta. Gerontologia 26(3):162–171, 2012.

Jylhävä J, Jylhä M, Lehtimäki T, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2012. Circulating cell-free DNA is associated with mortality and inflammatory markers in nonagenarians. Experimental Gerontology, 47(5), 372–378.

Lisko I, Tiainen K, Stenholm S, Luukkaala T, Hurme M, Lehtimäki T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2012. Inflammation, adiposity and mortality in the oldest old. Rejuvenation Research, 15(5), 445–452.

Nosraty L, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2012. Is there successful aging for nonagenarians? Vitality 90+ study. Journal of Aging Research, 2012, [ID 868797].

Vuorisalmi M, Sarkeala T, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2012. Among nonagenarians, congruence between self-rated health and proxy-rated health was low but both predicted mortality. Journal Of Clinical Epidemiology, 65(5), 553–559.

2011 ja vanhemmat

Jylhävä J, Kotipelto T, Raitala A, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2011. Aging is associated with quantitative and qualitative changes in circulating cell-free DNA: the Vitality 90+ study. Mech Ageing 132(1-2), 20–26.

Marttila S, Jylhävä J, Pesu M, Hämäläinen S, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2011. IL-7 concentration is increased in nonagenarians but is not associated with markers of T cell immunosenescence. Experimental gerontology, 46(12), 1000–1002.

Sarkeala T, Nummi T, Vuorisalmi M, Hervonen A, Jylhä M 2011.  Disability trends among nonagenarians in 2001-2007: Vitality 90 study. European Journal of Ageing, 8(2), 87–94.

Jylhävä J, Eklund C, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2010. Expression profiling of immune-associated genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells reveals baseline differences in co-stimulatory signalling between nonagenarians and younger controls: the vitality 90+ study. Biogerontology, 11(6), 671–677.

Jylhävä J, Eklund C, Jylhä M, Hervonen A, Lehtimäki T, Karhunen P, Hurme M 2009. Complement factor H 402His variant confers an increased mortality risk in Finnish nonagenarians: the Vitality 90+ study. Experimental Gerontology, 44(4), 297–9.

Jylhä M, Paavilainen P, Lehtimäki T, Goebeler S, Karhunen PJ, Hervonen A, Hurme M 2007. Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein as predictors of mortality in nonagenarians: the vitality 90+ study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci., 62A(9), 1016–1021.

Niemi AK, Hervonen A, Hurme M, Karhunen PJ, Jylhä M, Majamaa K 2003. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms associated with longevity in a Finnish population. Human Genetics, 112(1), 29–33.

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