The 20th century will be remembered for its technological and scientific discoveries and for the exceptional changes in the demographic structure brought about by these and the improved economic and social conditions; in fact, the reduction in the birth rate and a fall in the death rate have caused an increase in the population of the elderly.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relative risk and population attributable risk (PAR) of death with dementia of varying type and severity and other risk factors in a population of exceptional longevity. METHODS: Deaths were monitored over 5 years using vital statistics records and newspaper obituaries in 355 individuals with prevalent dementia and 4,328 without in Cache County, UT. Mean age was 83.3 (SD 7.0) years with dementia and 73.7 (SD 6.8) years without. History of coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other life-shortening illness was ascertained from interviews.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the cause of death for centenarians' offspring and controls. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Community-based, nationwide sample. PARTICIPANTS: Family pedigree information was collected on 295 offspring of centenarians (from 106 families with a parent already enrolled in the nationwide New England Centenarian Study) and on 276 controls (from 82 control families) from 1997 to 2000. Controls were individuals whose parents were born in the same year as the centenarians but at least one of whom died at the average life expectancy.
The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
The choice of a phenotype is critical for the study of a complex genetically regulated process, such as aging. To date, most of the twin and family studies have focused on broad survival measures, primarily age at death or exceptional longevity. However, on the basis of recent studies of twins and families, biological age has also been shown to have a strong genetic component, with heritability estimates ranging from 27% to 57%.
In the late seventies, a small tribal population of Paraguay, the Ache, living under natural conditions, was studied. Data from this population turn out to be useful for considerations about evolutionary hypotheses on the aging phenomenon. 1) Ache show an age-related increasing mortality, which strongly limits the mean duration of life, as observed in other studies on mammal and bird species. 2) According to current theories on aging, in the wild very few or no individual reach old age and, so, aging cannot be directly influenced by natural selection.
This report reviews, contrasts, and illustrates previously published findings from a cohort of 27,529 California Seventh-day Adventist adults who completed questionnaires in 1960 and were followed for mortality between 1960 and 1980. Within this population, meat consumption was positively associated with mortality because of all causes of death combined (in males), coronary heart disease (in males and females), and diabetes (in males).
A cohort of 1,904 vegetarians and persons leading a health-conscious life-style in the Federal Republic of Germany was identified in 1978. After a follow-up of 11 years, mortality from all causes was reduced by one-half compared with the general population [the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 0.44 for men, 0.53 for women]. Among the 858 men, 111 deaths were observed, with 255 expected; among the 1,046 women, 114 deaths were observed, with 215 expected.
OBJECTIVES: Vitamin and mineral supplementation is a common practice in the United States, yet little is known about the long-term health effects of regular supplement use. METHODS: To examine the relationship between reported use of supplements and mortality, we analyzed data from US adults 25 to 74 years of age who were examined in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1971 to 1975), with vital status determined through 1987. RESULTS: At baseline, 22.5% of the cohort reported using supplements regularly and 10.0% reported irregular use.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
A major societal challenge is to improve quality of life and prevent or reduce disability and dependency in an ageing population. Increasing age is associated with increasing risk of disability and loss of independence, due to functional impairments such as loss of mobility, hearing and vision; a major issue must be how far disability can be prevented.