Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why Study Longevity?

Dear Colleagues,

I would greatly appreciate your advice on how to respond to this criticism of longevity studies:

"The uniqueness of people with exceptional longevity and the focus on tail event longevity limits the overall value of longevity studies because living to 100 is a rare event.  Animal studies including genetic animal studies as well as human studies suggest that, short of dramatic medical advances that increase longevity for a large proportion of the population, living beyond 100 years old is largely a random event.  A random event still has causes; it merely suggests that a large number of factors may exert an impact individually or jointly. The usefulness of identifying longevity factors is limited.  Even if some longevity factor is more represented among centenarians, this information may be of limited use because the probability of a centenarian among people with this particular longevity factor is still so small. Many unknown factors could be at work."

Please advise.  Thank you!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

New Study of Exceptional Longevity


We are pleased to alert you about our new article on exceptional human longevity, published by peer-reviewed academic journal.  This article presents new research methodology and scientific findings on longevity predictors.

Here is the full reference to the article for future possible citations:

Determinants of Exceptional Human Longevity: New Ideas and Findings.
Leonid A. Gavrilov; Natalia S. Gavrilova
Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2013, 11: 295-323
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2013s295

Full text is publicly available at:

Feel free to contact us for complimentary PDF file of this article, if you have any problems using the provided links.

Comments and suggestions are most welcome!

Thank you, and looking forward to hear from you.

Kind regards,

-- Leonid  and  Natalia

-- Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D., GSA Fellow
-- Natalia Gavrilova, Ph.D., GSA Fellow
Center on Aging, NORC at the University of Chicago

P.S.:  Here is the abstract of the new article:


Studies of centenarians are useful in identifying factors leading to long life and avoidance of fatal diseases. In this article we consider several approaches to study effects of early-life and midlife conditions on survival to advanced ages: use of non-biological relatives as controls, the within-family analysis, as well as a sampling of controls from the same population universe as centenarians. These approaches are illustrated using data on American centenarians, their relatives and unrelated shorter-lived controls obtained from the online genealogies.

The within-family analysis revealed that young maternal age at person's birth is associated with higher chances of exceptional longevity. Comparison of centenarians and their shorter-lived peers (died at age 65 and sampled from the same pool of online genealogies) confirmed that birth timing in the second half of the calendar year predicts survival to age 100. Parental longevity as well as some childhood and midlife characteristics also proved to be significant predictors of exceptional longevity.

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