The idea that putrefaction of the stools causes disease, i.e., intestinal autointoxication, originated with physicians in ancient Egypt. They believed that a putrefactive principle associated with feces was absorbed in to the general circulation, where it acted to produce fever and pus. This description of the materia peccans represented the earliest forerunner of our present notion of endotoxin and its effect.
As the elderly population is increasing rapidly, there is a lot of scientific interest in clarifying the differential life-style, genetic, biochemical and molecular factors contributing to mortality or exceptional longevity. Within the framework of the ZINCAGE project, 249 old (60-85 years) and nonagenarian Greek subjects (>/=85 years old) were recruited and anthropometrical, blood and biochemical indices as well as blood pressure measurements were obtained.
The present study aims at describing the health status of a sample of relatively functional and healthy Greek centenarians and at exploring the potential gender differences in health in this sample. Its objectives are to add to the accumulation of knowledge about the health status of centenarians and therefore to contribute to the exploration of the mechanisms of healthy longevity. The study employs a non-representative community sample of Greek centenarians of both sexes (N=47).
International Journal of Aging & Human Development
This qualitative study provides a comprehensive account of the social and life experiences and strategies and personality attributes that characterize exceptional longevity (living to 100 or over). It is based on nine semi-structured interviews of relatively healthy and functional Greek centenarians of both sexes. The analytic approach was thematic and based on grounded theory. We found that our participants were characterized by selectiveness in their socializing with other people and tendency to avoid conflicts.
BACKGROUND: Centenarians are exceptional ageing paradigms, offering valuable information on achieving longevity. Although, there are several studies examining different biomedical factors as determinants of longevity in centenarians, little is known about gender differences with respect to personality traits and health locus of control. METHODS: Nation -wide study carried out in Greece, between 2007 and 2010. Our final sample of analysis consisted of 400 centenarians who reported on sociodemographic, disease-related and personality factors and health locus of control (HLC).
There is clear evidence that populations living in Mediterranean countries enjoy a longer life expectancy than Northern Europeans. Genetic or racial factors do not explain these societal differences as revealed by migrant studies. The major causes of death in affluent societies, cardiovascular disease, cancers and digestive disorders, show markedly different incidence rates in different European countries. These differences seem to depend on the varied dietary patterns in Europe but the classic lipid hypothesis alone fails to explain the differing rates of coronary heart disease.
Data from several studies are presented which suggest that the traditional Greek diet still exists in several parts of Greece and several segments of the population. The most profound changes in dietary intakes in recent years concern the increase in the consumption of meat and the decrease in the consumption of pulses.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of a specific dietary pattern on overall survival. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: Three rural Greek villages, the data from which were collected as part of an international cross cultural study of food habits in later life. SUBJECTS: 182 elderly residents of the three villages. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Overall mortality. RESULTS: Diet was assessed with a validated extensive semiquantitative questionnaire on food intake.
The health (self-reported health conditions) and nutritional status (food and nutrient intake, nutritional biochemistry, anthropometry) of 189 elderly Greeks living in Melbourne, Australia were described and compared with 104 elderly Greeks living in a rural town in Greece (Spata) using a validated health and food frequency questionnaire. Spata was chosen because the traditional diet is maintained by the community and may act as a 'surrogate' measure of diets prevalent in Greece prior to the Melbourne sample's migration to Australia in the 1960s.