A longer life is elsewhere, such as a longevity hot spot

Monday, 17 February, 2014

People residing in certain regions of Greece, Italy, Japan, California, and Costa Rica, tend to live longer than those elsewhere. Relocating to one of these places would only be part of the longevity equation though, if you wanted to try and boost your lifespan.

After discovering that there are longevity hot spots where people tend to live especially long, writer Dan Buettner spent the last 12 years locating and documenting these areas, dubbed “blue zones.” “I increasingly was interested in mysteries that dealt with the human condition,” says Buettner, a National Geographic fellow. Through that research, he found several factors that might prolong health and life for people in blue zones. “Longevity is a consequence of constant, longterm little things,” Buettner says. “There’s no silver bullet.”

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Old people have been millions of years in the making

Monday, 16 September, 2013

Old people, in this instance anyone aged thirty or over, are the not so gradual result of several million years of human evolution and development… people really just didn’t get “old”, or passed age thirty in the distant past, it’s something that only started happening relatively recently.

Anthropologist Rachel Caspari of Central Michigan University used teeth to identify the ratio of old to young people in Australopithecenes from 3 million to 1.5 million years ago, early Homo species from 2 million to 500,000 years ago, and Neanderthals from 130,000 years ago. Old people – old here means older than 30 (sorry) – were a vanishingly small part of the population. When she looked at modern humans from the Upper Paleolithic, about 30,000 years ago, though, she found the ratio reversed – there were twice as many adults who died after age 30 as those who died young.

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Even though we want more life, living to 90 isn’t a bad innings

Wednesday, 14 August, 2013

Even though advances in medical science may allow us to live healthy, active, lives up to age 120, most US adults see living to age 90, and not much longer, as being ideal:

Given the option, most Americans would choose to live longer than the current average. Fully 69% of American adults would like to live to be 79 to 100 years old. About 14% say they would want a life span of 78 years or less, while just 9% would choose to live more than 100 years. The median ideal life span is 90 years.

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Why do women often outlive men? It comes down to mitochondria

Monday, 6 August, 2012

Women tend to outlive men by about four years, and up until now the difference in lifespans had been attributed to things like testosterone, and men’s general inclination to engage in risky behaviour. Some joint Australian-British research however has found that women are less prone to certain cell mutations than men, and this may account for their longer lives:

Both men and women have mitochondrial DNA but researchers from Monash University in Melbourne and Lancaster University in Britain found only females were immune to mutations carried in the mitochondria, which is found in every cell of the body. This “evolutionary quirk” means males are more susceptible to the mutations, negatively affecting their life expectancy. “A significant genetic difference in lifespan between men and women can be traced back to the mitochondria,” said the Monash University evolutionary biologist Damian Dowling. “This difference is not caused by hormonal differences between the sexes, such as testosterone in males, or to risk-taking behaviour. It’s genetic.”

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Your colleagues may need a government health warning

Thursday, 18 August, 2011

Annoying colleagues may be more than a mere (or not so mere) nuisance… their antics may be detrimental to your health and even longevity

In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.

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See you next millennium… here’s some tips for living that long

Thursday, 10 March, 2011

Twelve “unusual” tips for living a longer – possibly eternal – life, including advice to eat less and exercise more.

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Only the jerks die young, to live long longer become conscientious

Tuesday, 8 March, 2011

Live fast, or hard… and die young, in the longevity stakes its the well-behaved, conscientiousness, and confident, who will outlive the rest of us.

Studies have shown for nearly 20 years that the key personality trait that predicts longevity is conscientiousness. In one long-term study, students judged by their parents and teachers to be conscientious as 12-year-olds were more likely to be alive when researchers followed up 64 years later. Surprisingly, though, the same study found that cheerfulness was related to greater mortality risk, suggesting that happy, popular kids turn out to be at greater risk for disease later on, perhaps because they feel overly confident about their abilities to defeat life’s difficulties.

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Is your finger on the pulse of good health?

Thursday, 6 January, 2011

Finger length, grip strength, birth order, height, and a person’s partialness to flossing (all sorts of nasties are manifest in tooth plaque) can be used to draw reasonably accurate conclusions as to a person’s overall health, and also act as a gauge to their risk of developing certain medical disorders.

Today’s computer-powered studies allow researchers to look beyond obvious health risks of the past. New analyses show, for example, that finger length, grip strength and even height may be reliable predictors of cancer, longevity and heart disease.

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Living forever is one thing, but what to do when living forever?

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

While I’m not sure about living forever, the ability to remain fit and active to our final days is another matter, a state of affairs medical science may be able to bring about while trying to figure out to live eternally.

The researchers profiled by Stipp are seeking to master the mechanisms of our decline, so that we can frolic vigorously for eight or nine decades before dying in a brief and efficient fashion. Weiner’s muse is prophet, maverick, and crank Aubrey de Grey of Cambridge University, whose vision is more ambitious. A theoretician in the gerontology field, he challenges bench scientists to come up with the necessary biological fixes so humans can reach something close to immortality.

The main problem with immortality – as I see it – is trying to keep ourselves amused for, like, forever. It occurs to me that slow technology may be part of the solution though.

For instance, due to various technology failures this morning it’s taken two hours to churn out the last two posts here. Software therefore that hinders or throttles our progress, to the extent we end each day having taken two steps forward and one back, will ensure we always have something to do the next day.

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Celebrating your 1000th birthday, now there’s a milestone

Wednesday, 26 May, 2010

Medical technology and know-how that either exists, or is close to fruition, could allow people who are aged 60 today to live through to their 1000th birthday claims Aubrey de Grey, a geneticist at Cambridge University.

I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already. It is very complicated, because ageing is. There are seven major types of molecular and cellular damage that eventually become bad for us – including cells being lost without replacement and mutations in our chromosomes. Each of these things is potentially fixable by technology that either already exists or is in active development.

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