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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2001 April;92(2):75-8

language: Italian

The family longevity of centenarians

Rotundo A., Gareri P., Ciotti D., Olivo M., Mattace C.


Background. The increase of mean lifetime has also given rise to an increase in the number of centenarians; such a circumstance finds its explanation in an improvement in hygienic conditions in addition to the progress in the medical field. The aim of this retrospective study is the attempt to identify the probable factors encouraging the achievement of an extreme longevity.
Methods. The study was carried out, on a house to house basis, on a sample of 46 calabrian centenarians. In order to demonstrate the hereditary component, the frequency of the centenarians among the closest relatives was considered, through birth and death certificates. The case history questionnaire used most geriatric and gerontological centres associated to the national project ''Italian Multicentric Study on Centena-rians'' was used. Results. The profile of our long-lived subject has allowed us to underline the importance of the environmental factor as well as the hereditary component. In most cases these subjects live with their family and have excellent relationships, receiving a great deal of attention from the persons with which they live.
Conclusions. The authors have therefore reached the conclusion by stressing the importance of both factors (hereditary and genetic); however a type of intervention in order to lengthen the mean lifetime is hypothesized exclusively in the environment field through the elimination of certain risk factors.

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