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Supercentenarian validation debate


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#1 OP2040

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 06:58 PM

I'm not sure why there is no topic on this yet, as the implications are quite important.  The simple breakdown is this.  People are starting to question the validity of age claims regarding supercentenarians.  I find their arguments compelling.  Here's the most recent iteration (from July) of this debate, which I find to be more of an opinion piece than a study, but with a good summary and some important insights.




Though largely an opinion and review piece, I find this part to be somewhat of a smoking gun:



In total, 82% of supercentenarian records from the USA (N=536) predate state-wide birth certification. Forty-two states achieved complete birth certificate coverage during the survey period. When these states transition to state-wide birth registration, 85 the number of supercentenarians falls by 80% per year (Fig 1a), or approximately 69% per capita (Fig 1b).



Anyway, I'm pretty convinced the number of supercentenarians is very much over-stated, and almost convinced that it could be entirely the result of statistical errors, record-keeping anomalies and fraud.


The major implication of this, to my mind, is that we are much less able to control our aging through lifestyle factors than we thought, and that Blue zones are a huge distraction.  The amount of effort people put into diet and exercise as the solution to this problem is almost comical.  At this point there are a few obvious lifestyle changes that we all know about, and even these will largely prevent premature death not mold you into a supercentenarian, or even a nonagenarian for that matter.  So we are wasting a lot of time and money on these low-tech, century old ideas.  I've fallen for this myself, mainly because the Mediterranean diet was the only diet I found that seemed to not cause immeasurable misery.  I'm sticking with it just for that reason, but no longer because I think some poor peasant from southern Italy made it to 110 (he likely didn't).


I suppose I should explain further why I've always been against this idea that we have a lot of control over the aging process.  Aside from the huge waste of time and money being side-tracked, there is a puritanical tone to it.  We actually preach to each other our own version of lifestyle magic.  That annoying enough, but it gets worse when actual disease and suffering are involved.  Then it morphs into the worst example of blame-the-victim since the holocaust.  Assuming that people have a large degree of control over their own aging destiny, we logically conclude they are morally lacking in some way when they succumb to age or disease.  I'm of the age when people you know start getting sick or dying, starting usually with your parents.  What's the first thing we do when this happens?  Someone will offer an explanation based in diet or lifestyle.  I've done it myself.  First, we all ask if they were smokers lol.  Then we ask if they "took care of themselves" whatever the hell that even means when we still don't know what causes diseases of aging.  The worst among don't just ask, we accuse.  I recently had a friend who died in their 50s.  We know he didn't smoke, wasn't obese, and probably not into drugs, but very little about the rest of his lifestyle.  Yet, over and over again I heard "he must not have been taking care of himself"?  That is a pretty terrible thing to say about someone who just died without any evidence, no?  There are many, many things that affect lifespan and health that we have absolutely no control over.  Males die sooner than women.  Within species, larger individuals die sooner. There's fetal and social factors involved.  There's environmental factors like pollution, etc.  All in all, I'd wager that an individual has very little control over any of it.  


And for these reasons, I'd be glad to see the supercentenarian/blue zone cult tossed into the dustbin of history.   

Edited by OP2040, 19 December 2019 - 07:02 PM.

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#2 Mind

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 08:53 PM

There has been some discussion of this here.




https://www.longecit...er/#entry878059 Poor records in Okinawa.


Still, good lifestyle habits still correlate with long life and more healthy years: https://www.newser.c...12-for-men.html This is well studied and consistent across cultures and through decades of study. Maybe "healthy" lifestyle will not get you to super longevity, but it will allow you to beat the average.

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