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Science. 2004 Sep 17;305(5691):1736-9.

Inflammatory exposure and historical changes in human life-spans.

Author information

1
Andrus Gerontology Center and Departments of Biological Sciencesand of Sociology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. cefinch@usc.edu

Abstract

Most explanations of the increase in life expectancy at older ages over history emphasize the importance of medical and public health factors of a particular historical period. We propose that the reduction in lifetime exposure to infectious diseases and other sources of inflammation--a cohort mechanism--has also made an important contribution to the historical decline in old-age mortality. Analysis of birth cohorts across the life-span since 1751 in Sweden reveals strong associations between early-age mortality and subsequent mortality in the same cohorts. We propose that a "cohort morbidity phenotype" represents inflammatory processes that persist from early age into adult life.

PMID:
15375259
DOI:
10.1126/science.1092556
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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