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Front Public Health. 2013 Sep 30;1:38. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00038. eCollection 2013.

Families Enriched for Exceptional Longevity also have Increased Health-Span: Findings from the Long Life Family Study.

Author information

1
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health , Boston, MA , USA.
2
Geriatrics Division, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center , Boston, MA , USA.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Sergievsky Center, Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University , New York, NY , USA.
4
Department of Genetics, Washington University , St. Louis, MO , USA.
5
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, PA , USA.
6
Social Science Research Institute, Duke University , Durham, NC , USA.

Abstract

Hypothesizing that members of families enriched for longevity delay morbidity compared to population controls and approximate the health-span of centenarians, we compared the health-spans of older generation subjects of the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) to controls without family history of longevity and to centenarians of the New England Centenarian Study (NECS) using Bayesian parametric survival analysis. We estimated hazard ratios, the ages at which specific percentiles of subjects had onsets of diseases, and the gain of years of disease-free survival in the different cohorts compared to referent controls. Compared to controls, LLFS subjects had lower hazards for cancer, cardiovascular disease, severe dementia, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and stroke. The age at which 20% of the LLFS siblings and probands had one or more age-related diseases was approximately 10 years later than NECS controls. While female NECS controls generally delayed the onset of age-related diseases compared with males controls, these gender differences became much less in the older generation of the LLFS and disappeared amongst the centenarians of the NECS. The analyses demonstrate extended health-span in the older subjects of the LLFS and suggest that this aging cohort provides an important resource to discover genetic and environmental factors that promote prolonged health-span in addition to longer life-span.

KEYWORDS:

Weibull regression; health-span; longevity; onset of disease; survival analysis

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