Scientists should focus on 'positive biology' to make new medical discoveries, rather than the current focus on what causes disease.
That is the view of political studies professor Colin Farrelly from Queen's University in a new research paper published in Journals of Gerontology.
Professor Farelly said the current pathology-based approach to discovering the cause of the disease is 'negative biology' and research should instead be refocused on 'positive biology', looking into examples of health and happiness.
"This more balanced approach might lead to significant medical breakthroughs. Periodically we should stand back and consider the possibility that the questions we are trying the hardest to answer (such as what causes disease) are perhaps not the most important questions to answer," he said.
Professor Farelly argued that currently the study of aging and longevity, currently the focus of his research is misunderstood and underfunded, but could yield significant health outcomes.
Earlier this year, the whole genome analysis of two supercentenarians was published in the quest to discover the genetic factors that allow some people to live to extreme old age.
Super centenarians occur at a rate of one in five million.