Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more

Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more

Researchers also found that U.S. women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles over the course of the roughly 30-year study period.

Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population
Yanping Li, An Pan, Dong D. Wang, Xiaoran Liu, Klodian Dhana, Oscar H. Franco, Stephen Kaptoge, Emanuele Di Angelantonio, Meir Stampfer, Walter C. Willett and Frank B. Hu
Circulation. 2018;CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047, originally published April 30, 2018

 

Life Expectancy was 70 not 40 1,500 years ago

Life Expectancy was 70 not 40 1,500 years ago

Researchers utilizing new technology dispelled the myth that life expectancy in ancient times was 40. To Quote: “For people living traditional lives without modern medicine or markets the most common age of death is about 70, and that is remarkably similar across all different cultures.”

Britain’s poor ‘will die before they retire’ if pension reforms aren’t matched by health improvements

Stark disparity in healthy life expectancy ‘must be tackled’ for pension age  to be raised fairly

Charlie Cooper

Friday, 6 December 2013

Thousands of Britain’s poorest people “will be dead before they can retire” if sweeping pension reforms are not matched by urgent action on health inequalities between rich and poor, experts have said.

Plans to raise the basic state pension age to 70 for people currently in their twenties were laid out in the George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this week. But with male life expectancy at birth as low as 66 in some of the most deprived parts of the country, public health experts have warned that a “one size fits all” pension age risks condemning many to a life without retirement.

Average UK life expectancy at birth was 78.2 in 2010. Nationally, the figure is increasing, but huge variations exist and progress has been slower in deprived communities where poverty leads to poor diets, smoking rates are higher and alcohol abuse more common.

Continue reading “Britain’s poor ‘will die before they retire’ if pension reforms aren’t matched by health improvements”

U.S. Women Are Dying Younger Than Their Mothers, and No One Knows Why

While advancements in medicine and technology have prolonged life expectancy and decreased premature deaths overall, women in parts of the country have been left behind.
Oct 7 2013, 9:10 AM ET

(jessiejacobson/flickr)

The Affordable Care Act took a major step toward implementation last Tuesday with the launch of the online insurance exchanges, limping across the finish line despite three years of Republican obstruction that culminated in this week’s 11th hour attempt to dismantle the law by shutting down the federal government.

It’s easy to forget, amid the hyper-partisan controversy, that the main purpose behind President Obama’s signature health-care reform law is not to curtail individual freedom or send senior citizens to death panels, but to give more Americans access to health insurance. Whether you think the Affordable Care Act is the right solution or a dangerous step toward tyranny, it’s hard to dispute that the U.S. health-care system is broken. More than 48 million people lack health insurance, and despite having the world’s highest levels of health-care spending per capita, the U.S. has some of the worst health outcomes among developed nations, lagging behind in key metrics like life expectancy, premature death rates, and death by treatable diseases, according to a July study in the Journal of the American Medicine Association.

For some Americans, the reality is far worse than the national statistics suggest. In particular, growing health disadvantages have disproportionately impacted women over the past three decades, especially those without a high-school diploma or who live in the South or West. In March, a study published by the University of Wisconsin researchers David Kindig and Erika Cheng found that in nearly half of U.S. counties, female mortality rates actually increased between 1992 and 2006, compared to just 3 percent of counties that saw male mortality increase over the same period.

“I was shocked, actually,” Kindig said. “So we went back and did the numbers again, and it came back the same. It’s overwhelming.”

Kindig’s findings were echoed in a July report from University of Washington researcher Chris Murray, which found that inequality in women’s health outcomes steadily increased between 1985 and 2010, with female life expectancy stagnating or declining in 45 percent of U.S. counties. Taken together, the two studies underscore a disturbing trend: While advancements in medicine and technology have prolonged U.S. life expectancy and decreased premature deaths overall, women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before. The worst part is no one knows why.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
(Health Affairs/The Population Institute, University of Wisconsin)

The Kindig study does note strong relationships between county mortality rates and several cultural and socioeconomic indicators. In particular, location appears to have an outsized effect on mortality rates. Counties with rising female mortality rates, marked in red, paint a broad stroke across Appalachia and the Cotton Belt, moving across to the Ozarks and the Great Plains. The Northeast and the Southwest, on the other hand, have been largely untouched.

But it’s not clear how these geographical differences play a role in mortality, or why the effect would be so much greater on women than on men. “Clearly something is going on,” Kindig said. “It could be cultural, political, or environmental, but the truth is we don’t really know the answer.”

Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine. In fact, the only parallel is the spike in Russian male mortality after the fall of the Soviet Union, which has primarily been attributed to rising alcohol consumption and accidental death rates.

“It’s unprecedented in American history to see a drop in life expectancy of such magnitude over such a short time period,” said Jay Olshansky, the lead author of the study. “I don’t know why it happened so rapidly among this subgroup. Something is different for the lives of poor people today that is worse than it was before.”

Education alone does not explain why female high-school dropouts are so much worse off than they were two decades ago. But researchers have used it as a proxy to determine more significant socioeconomic indicators, like access to health care and income opportunities, as well as health behaviors like smoking and obesity. Smoking in particular appears to have had a significant impact on female mortality rates, as the health consequences of previous decades of tobacco use set in. Olshansky points out that female obesity and drug abuse have risen dramatically over the past two decades, and may also play a role in mortality rates.

Researchers are hopeful that the expansion of health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act will help ameliorate some of the health risks for poor and uneducated women. But access to health insurance is only part of the puzzle—in fact, Kindig’s study found that medical care factors had no discernible impact on death rates at the county level. “Health care is far from the whole story,” Kindig told me. “More and more people are beginning to realize that the non-health-care factors are at least as important.”

In May, Jennifer Karas Montez, a social demographer who studies health inequalities, co-authored a study that was the first to investigate how quality of life might be playing a role in the early deaths of female high-school dropouts. Montez found that while smoking accounts for half of the decline in life expectancy among these women, whether or not a woman has a job is equally significant. “Women without a high-school degree have not made inroads in the labor force, especially in post-recession America,” Montez said in an interview. In fact, only one-third of women without a high-school diploma are employed, compared to half of their male counterparts, and nearly three-quarters of better-educated women. When they are employed, Montez said, it is usually in low-wage jobs that offer no benefits or flexibility. Smoking and other destructive behaviors, she added, may just be symptoms of the heightened stress and loneliness experienced by women who don’t graduate from high school.

“Life is different for women without a high-school degree than it was a few decades ago, and in most cases it’s a lot worse,” she said. “It’s really just a perfect storm.”

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/us-women-are-dying-younger-than-their-mothers-and-no-one-knows-why/280259/

Google teams up with Apple chairman to try to extend life

Google has teamed up with Apple’s chairman to launch a new company that will attempt to significantly increase the human lifespan.

A Google member of staff walks through the company headquarters in London, UK

Google’s chief executive hinted that the new company could look at curing cancer Photo: Bloomberg News

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6:53PM BST 18 Sep 2013

Calico will use biotechnology to tackle major illnesses and aging, the search giant announced on Tuesday.

The new company will be led by Arthur Levinson, who as well as being chairman of Apple and biotech firm Genentech, holds a PhD in biochemistry from Princeton and is also a member of the Biotech Hall of Fame.

Announcing the creation of Calico, Google chief executive Larry Page said: “Illness and aging affect all our families… from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families.

“With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”

The average life expectancy in the UK is 79 for men and 82 for women, according to the World Health Organisation.

Despite saying the venture is in its “early days”, Mr Page hinted that one of the illnesses Calico’s small team, based near Google’s headquarters in San Francisco, will look at is cancer.

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, more than a third of Brits will develop cancer at some point in their lives.

“We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that’ll totally change the world,” Mr Page told TIME magazine. “But when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it’s very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it’s not as big an advance as you might think.”

Calico is the latest example of Google moving away from its traditional internet business. It has branched out into mobile phones and hi-tech glasses and is also developing a self-driving car.

Mr Levinson said: “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.”

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, added: “For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results.”

Aging really is ‘in your head’

 

Scientists answer hotly debated questions about how calorie restriction delays aging process

September 3, 2013
By Lee Phillion

 

Among scientists, the role of proteins called sirtuins in enhancing longevity has been hotly debated, driven by contradictory results from many different scientists. But new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may settle the dispute.

Reporting Sept. 3 in Cell Metabolism, Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, and his colleagues have identified the mechanism by which a specific sirtuin protein called Sirt1 operates in the brain to bring about a significant delay in aging and an increase in longevity. Both have been associated with a low-calorie diet.

The Japanese philosopher and scientist Ekiken Kaibara first described the concept of dietary control as a method to achieve good health and longevity in 1713. He died the following year at the ripe old age of 84—a long life for someone in the 18th century.

Since then, science has proven a link between a low-calorie diet (without malnutrition) and longevity in a variety of animal models. In the new study, Imai and his team have shown how Sirt1 prompts neural activity in specific areas of the hypothalamus of the brain, which triggers dramatic physical changes in skeletal muscle and increases in vigor and longevity.

“In our studies of mice that express Sirt1 in the brain, we found that the skeletal muscular structures of old mice resemble young muscle tissue,” said Imai. “Twenty-month-old mice (the equivalent of 70-year-old humans) look as active as five-month-olds.”

Imai and his team began their quest to define the critical junctures responsible for the connection between dietary restriction and longevity with the knowledge from previous studies that the Sirt1 protein played a role in delaying aging when calories are restricted. But the specific mechanisms by which it carried out its function were unknown.

Imai’s team studied mice that had been genetically modified to overproduce Sirt1 protein. Some of the mice had been engineered to overproduce Sirt1 in body tissues, while others were engineered to produce more of the Sirt1 protein only in the brain.

“We found that only the mice that overexpressed Sirt1 in the brain (called BRASTO) had significant lifespan extension and delay in aging, just like normal mice reared under dietary restriction regimens,” said Imai, an expert in aging research and a professor in the departments of Developmental Biology and Medicine.

The BRASTO mice demonstrated significant life span extension without undergoing dietary restriction. “They were free to eat regular chow whenever they wished,” he said.

 

In addition to positive skeletal muscle changes in the BRASTO mice, the investigators also observed significant increases in nighttime physical activity, body temperature and oxygen consumption compared with age-matched controls. 

Mice are characteristically most active at night. The BRASTO mice also experienced better or deeper sleep, and both males and females had significant increases in longevity.

The median life span of BRASTO mice in the study was extended by 16 percent for females and 9 percent for males. Translated to humans, this could mean an extra 13 or 14 years for women, making their average life span almost 100 years, Shin said. For men, this would add another seven years, increasing their average life span to the mid-80s.

Delay in cancer-dependent death also was observed in the BRASTO mice relative to control mice, the researchers noted.

Imai said that the longevity and health profile associated with the BRASTO mice appears to be the result of a shift in the onset of aging rather than the pace of aging. “What we have observed in BRASTO mice is a delay in the time when age-related decline begins, so while the rate of aging does not change, aging and the risk of cancer has been postponed.”

Having narrowed control of aging to the brain, Imai’s team then traced the control center of aging regulation to two areas of the hypothalamus called the dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamic nuclei. They then were able to identify specific genes within those areas that partner with Sirt1 to kick off the neural signals that elicit the physical and behavioral responses observed.

“We found that overexpression of Sirt1 in the brain leads to an increase in the cellular response of a receptor called orexin type 2 receptor in the two areas of the hypothalamus,” said first author Akiko Satoh, PhD, a postdoctoral staff scientist in Imai’s lab.

“We have demonstrated that the increased response by the receptor initiates signaling from the hypothalamus to skeletal muscles,” said Satoh. She noted that the mechanism by which the signal is specifically directed to skeletal muscle remains to be discovered.

According to Imai, the tight association discovered between Sirt1-prompted brain activation and the regulation of aging and longevity raises the tantalizing possibility of a “control center of aging and longevity” in the brain, which could be manipulated to maintain youthful physiology and extend life span in other mammals as well.

 


Satoh A, Brace CS, Rensing N, Clifton P, Wozniak DF, Herzog ED, Yamada KA and Imai S. Sirt1 extends life span and delays aging in mice through the regulation of Nk2 homeobox 1 in the DMH and LH. Cell Metabolism 18:1-15, Sept. 3, 2013. 

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Ellison Medical Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was supported by the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

The adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations

Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu press@escardio.org 33-492-947-756 European Society of Cardiology

Results from a large cohort study suggest that exposure to metabolic risks of cardiovascular disease is increasing

Sophia Antipolis, 10 April 2013. Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less “metabolically” healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That’s the conclusion of a large cohort study from the Netherlands which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Assessing the trends, the investigators concluded that “the more recently born generations are doing worse”, and warn “that the prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase”.

The study, reported today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, analysed data on more than 6,000 individuals in the Doetinchem Cohort Study, which began in 1987 with follow-up examinations after six, 11, and 16 years.(1,2) The principal risk factors measured were body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol levels (for hypercholesterolaemia) and levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is considered “protective”.

The subjects were stratified by sex and generation at baseline into ten-year age groups (20, 30, 40, and 50 years); the follow-up analyses aimed to determine whether one generation had a different risk profile from a generation born ten years earlier – what the investigators called a “generation shift”.

Results showed that the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and hypertension increased with age in all generations, but in general the more recently born generations had a higher prevalence of these risk factors than generations born ten years earlier. For example, 40% of the males who were in their 30s at baseline were classified as overweight; 11 years later the prevalence of overweight among the second generation of men in their 30s had increased to 52% (a statistically significant generational shift). In women these unfavourable changes in weight were only evident between the most recently born generations, in which the prevalence of obesity doubled in just 10 years.

Other findings from the study included:

  • Unfavourable (and statistically significant) generation shifts in hypertension in both sexes between every consecutive generation (except for the two most recently born generations of men).
  • Unfavourable generation shifts in diabetes between three of the four generations of men, but not of women.
  • No generation shifts for hypercholesterolaemia, although favourable shifts in HDL cholesterol were only observed between the oldest two generations.

 

As for the overall picture, and based on the evidence of a “clear” shift in the prevalence of overweight and hypertension, the investigators emphasise that “the more recently born adult generations are doing worse than their predecessors”. Evidence to explain the changes is not clear, they add, but note studies reporting an increase in physical inactivity.

What do the findings mean for public health? First author Gerben Hulsegge from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment emphasises the impact of obesity at a younger age. “For example,” he explains, “the prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55. This means that this younger generation is ’15 years ahead’ of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time. So our study firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight – by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.

“The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it’s likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise – but it’s also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it’s difficult to speculate about that.”

Life expectancy for poor white Americans drops sharply… but increases for blacks and Latinos: •White female high school drop-outs lived to 78.5 years in 1990, 73.5 years in 2008

  • White female high school drop-outs lived to  78.5 years in 1990, 73.5 years in 2008
  • Females who finished college lived for 83.9  years, males for 80.4
  • White males who didn’t finish high school  reached 70.5 years in 1990 and 67.5  2008
  • Black and Latino life expectancy rose,  regardless of education
  • The average Latin American life expectancy  rose 45 years from 29 in 1900, to 74 in 2010
  • American women are now 41st in the world  life expectancy league table
  • They were 14th in 1985

By Daniel Bates

PUBLISHED:10:39 EST, 21  September 2012| UPDATED:11:32 EST, 21 September 2012

 

Poor white Americans are seeing their life  expectancy decrease in trend that is close to what happened during the collapse  of the Soviet Union.

Researchers have found that white women who  did not finish high school saw the steepest decline and lost five years of their  lives between 1990 and 2008.

White men with a similar education died three  years earlier than they should have over the same period.

Worrying: The life expectancy for poor white Americans has dropped dramaticallyWorrying: The life expectancy for poor white Americans  has dropped dramatically

Worrying trend: Chart shows how the life expectancy of whites without a high school degree has fallen in recent yearsWorrying trend: Chart shows how the life expectancy of  whites without a high school degree has fallen in recent years

Black and Latino men and women, however, all  saw their life expectancy rise.

A similar study, presented by the Pan American Health Organization, found  that the average life expectancy in Latin  America has risen from 29 years in 1900 to 74 years in 2010, Fox News  Latino reported.

The researchers were appalled that in the US,  the richest country in the world, people were living shorter lives and said the  findings were ‘deeply troubling’.

 

Until now rising life expectancies have been  a given in the developed world and that decreases only happened in war-torn  African countries.

But a combination of unhealthy lifestyles,  obesity and prescription drug overdoses appear to be changing that.

The research found that a lack of education  was the key factor – white women who did not finish high school lived to 78.5  years in 1990 but just 73.5 years in 2008.

By comparison white women who finished  college lived for 83.9 years.

Men saw a drop from 70.5 to 67.5 years over  the same period but when you factor in education, the gap was even  bigger.

School's out: Those who did not finish high school saw the steepest decline in life expectancySchool’s out: Those who did not finish high school saw  the steepest decline in life expectancy

The researchers found that those who finished  college lived for 80.4 years respectively – 13 years more than their less  educated equivalents.

Lead researcher S. Jay Olshansky, a public  health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said that such life  expectancies were on a par with those seen in America in the 1950s and  60.

And at the same time, black men and women- even if they had a poor education – saw their numbers steadily rise.

John Haaga, head of the Population and Social  Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, said: ‘We’re used to  looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven’t improved  fast enough, but to actually go backward is deeply troubling’.

The decline has caused America to shoot down  the international league table of life expectancy, the New York  Times reported.

Unhealthy lifestyles: A rising number of obese people is partly to blame for the shift, researchers foundUnhealthy lifestyles: A rising number of obese people is  partly to blame for the shift, researchers found

According to the UN’s Human Mortality  Database, American women were 14th place in 1985 but were in 41st in  2012.

Among developed countries, American women  were bottom.

Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of  Health Equity in London, said that a five year decline in life expectancy was  like what happened in the former Soviet Union when it broke up.

Men lived seven years less on average than  they did before due to rampant alcoholism, high levels of smoking and a  healthcare system that had fallen apart.

Astonishing: A chart by the CDC shows the number of deaths per 100,000 people across the states in 2010 (NB not race-related)Astonishing: A chart by the CDC shows the number of  deaths per 100,000 people across the states in 2010 (NB not  race-related

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