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Important worldwide changes in human aging are developing rapidly. Life expectancy has doubled during the past century. Due to advances in public health, vaccines, and science, people are living longer. The increase in the elderly population is happening in varying degrees all over the world. Although heart disease and cancer rates are falling, Alzheimer’s is increasing because of its strong link to aging and lack of disease-modifying therapies. It is important to consider what can be done about the expansion of aged populations. A forward-looking approach to health care will provide resources to people throughout life to keep them healthy and enhance their four reserve factors. This is ethically and economically preferable to a health care system which only takes care of people when they’re sick and doesn’t strive to prevent illness. Recent advances in diagnosis, metagenomics (studies of gut bacteria), and artificial intelligence will hopefully assist in the growth of preventive measures. Advances in public policy and technology can help people to enhance their four reserve factors and help them to avoid disease and remain fit as they age.
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory problems, were probably less prevalent throughout much of human history compared to today in post-industrial societies. Therefore, I explore the possibility that individuals today have greater Alzheimer’s disease risk compared to our age-matched, pre-modern counterparts. Additionally, a critical way in which human physiology has changed across history relates to dramatic changes in female reproductive life history norms. Reproductive life history may exert cumulative effects across an individual’s lifespan, bestowing considerable influence on geriatric disease risk. A growing body of research links women’s reproductive life histories with Alzheimer’s disease risk. Here, I briefly discuss ways in which aspects of female reproductive life history (e.g. reproductive span, pregnancy and breastfeeding) might alter physiological pathways implicated in Alzheimer’s disease aetiology, as well as how each of these aspects of female reproductive life history have shifted across our species’ evolutionary past. I also explore the connections between the apolipoprotein E gene, its context-dependent role in Alzheimer’s disease risk and its emerging role in women’s reproductive function. In summary, some aspects of pre-modern female reproductive life history patterns could indicate lower age-matched risk in the past, but further research is needed to establish the relevant biological pathways and epidemiological patterns.
We're all getting older from the moment we're born. Ageing is a fundamental and ubiquitous aspect of life. Yet in ethics, not much work is done on the questions surrounding ageing: how do diachronic features of ageing and the lifespan contribute to the overall value of life? How do time, change, and mortality impact on questions of morality and the good life? And how ought societies to respond to issues of social justice and the good, balancing the interests of generations and age cohorts? In this Cambridge Handbook, the first book-length attempt to stake this terrain, leading moral philosophers from a range of sub-fields and regions set out their approaches to the conceptual and ethical understanding of ageing. The volume makes an important contribution to significant debates about the implications of ageing for individual well-being, social policy and social justice.
The very question, Is ageing good?, is odd in several ways, and we do not usually ask it of other life stages. Nonetheless, raising the question is important because it presents the opportunity to counter ageist assumptions that old age is nothing but a period of loss and decline. I suggest a variety of candidate reasons for saying that ageing is good, for ageing persons themselves. These include renewable pleasures; new activities, relationships, and goals; and features distinctive of old age, such as connections with younger generations, long-lasting relationships, and an enriched outlook on life. I also acknowledge the various factors that may readily detract from the goodness of ageing, including poverty, disability, and the loss of family and friends. Hence, whether ageing is good is partially dependent on material and social circumstances. I conclude with three moral and political reasons for affirming that ageing is or can be good.
The purpose of this study was to identify factors at various time points in life that are associated with surviving to age 90. Data from men enrolled in a cohort study since 1948 were considered in 12-year intervals. Logistic regression models were constructed with the outcome of surviving to age 90. Factors were: childhood illness, blood pressure (BP), body mass index (BMI), chronic diseases, and electrocardiogram (ECG) findings. After 1996, the Short Form-36 was added. A total of 3,976 men were born in 1928 or earlier, and hence by the end of our study window in 2018, each had the opportunity of surviving to age 90. Of these, 721 did live to beyond his 90th birthday.The factors in 1948 which predicted surviving were: lower diastolic BP, lower BMI, and not smoking. In 1960, these factors were: lower BP, lower BMI, not smoking, and no major ECG changes. In 1972, these factors were lower BP, not smoking, and fewer disease states. In 1984, these factors were lower systolic BP, not smoking, ECG changes, and fewer disease states. In 1996, the factors were fewer disease states and higher physical and mental health functioning. In 2008, only higher physical functioning predicted survival to the age of 90. In young adulthood, risk factors are important predictors of surviving to age 90; in mid-life, chronic illnesses emerge, and in later life, functional status becomes predominant.
Past research shows there are significant barriers for creating long lasting products. In this paper we examine, the distinct collaborative barriers design consultancies face when striving to design long-lasting products for client firms. Data is collected through case studies (four months of observations and interviews) from three projects. Through the study we find indications, that the value chain intricacies, provide distinct interfirm barriers for creating long lasting products. These barriers include vision clashes, misalignment in the aspired manufacturing quality and price position.
Only a few studies have been conducted so far on the long-term impact of war. We investigated whether a life-long impact of the war experiences could be detected in advanced-agers who have successfully overcome all life's challenges. The participants in this study were oldest-old (80+ years) residents of retirement homes in Zagreb (Croatia), who were divided into two groups – ‘war-exposed’ and ‘not-exposed’ – according to their direct war experience (First World War, Second World War, Croatian Homeland War). Within this 1906–1928 birth cohort, a higher percentage of participants with war experiences reached extreme longevity (95+ years). We found no significant difference (p < 0.01) between the two groups concerning demographic and socio-economic characteristics, their life satisfaction, their self-rated current health and functional ability status. Despite numerous similarities, several traits related to life-history, current quality of life, attitudes and reflections distinguish the group of participants with direct war experience. The kind of war involvement – active military service, imprisonment in concentration camps or prisons, forced migration due to war and war-related death of close family members – stretched through various aspects of the life-history features, quality of life and attitudes. It differed for men and women, so it is no wonder that the significance pattern in the two genders mostly seems mutually exclusive. Socio-economic situations strongly differed by gender and according to the kind of war exposure, amplifying the differences within the ‘war-exposed’ group in terms of the life-long impact of wars on their lives. Therefore, we could claim that the war experiences were not the same for everybody, and that they had lasting consequences on the lifecourse of persons who directly faced war-related events. The results also point to the high resilience capacity as a common feature among persons who survived direct exposure to at least two wars and yet survived to exceptionally old age.
The future of the old is a matter of concern for Chinese families and for the government. Increasing life expectancy, a dearth of good pensions and the expense of health care mean that old people may be a drain on their families’ resources. While still fit, grandmothers are a great benefit to their families, but when they become frail they may be a burden. As their lives lengthen they are supported by fewer descendants than would have been the case in earlier times. The desire for longevity, even immortality, is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Diet, medication, gentle exercise, prayer are all means to achieve longevity. There is a growing ‘silver market’ in China, to provide for the ederly, but retirement homes are not popular with old people and reflect poorly on a family.
COVID-19 has had a disastrous impact on the elderly in many countries. The impact in China is not known, though the virus seems to have done less damage in its country of origin than elsewhere.
What are the normative implications of political regulation waves? Based on quantitative counterfactual estimation and qualitative case description, this chapter assesses the hard tradeoffs imposed by political regulation waves – between social stability, employment, economic growth, and health and longevity among local populations. Local leaders face incentives to signal competence by promoting laxer environmental regulation to benefit jobs and the economy, imposing a measurable human cost due to dirtier air. Conversely, when local leaders seek to move up the political ladder by strengthening the implementation of regulations in pursuit of blue skies, air quality improves, but firms suffer profit losses, and many people lose their jobs and are forced to spend brutal winters without heating. One form of the political regulation wave is not inherently better than another. These are difficult tradeoffs.
This chapter introduces the threats to product longevity and durability created by legal frameworks and product design decisions that shift power from consumers to device makers. In contrast to earlier generations of technology, today’s devices—from smartphones and headphones to medical and agricultural equipment—are designed to be replaced, not repaired.
To maximize seed longevity, seeds should be harvested at optimal maturity, that is, when seeds have acquired maximum physiological quality before deterioration begins. The aim of this study was to map the variation in temporal patterns of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) seed quality development when grown across four regeneration environments, which differ in the level of temperature and humidity control throughout the growing season, at the Australian Grains Genebank. Seeds of two lentil accessions (76080 and 76072) were harvested at different stages throughout development, commencing at 21 d after 50% anthesis until a maximum of 130 d. At each harvest, physiological quality traits, including germinability (fresh and dried seeds) and seed longevity, were determined, as well as seed dry weight and moisture content. Seeds of both accessions, and in all environments, started to accumulate physiological quality early on in development but did not reach their maximum until 3–54 d after mass maturity. The temporal patterns of desiccation tolerance and storage longevity were highly influenced by the environmental conditions during the maturation drying phase, affecting both ‘when’ maximum quality was attained and for how long it was maintained, thereafter. Seeds did not show a typical developmental response, rather variation was observed in seed quality development both between and within accessions grown in the different environments. The poorest storage longevity was seen when seeds of both accessions were grown in the cooler, temperature-controlled glasshouse, and the maximum longevity was observed in the warmer, semi-protected environments of the green and the big igloo for accessions 76080 and 76072, respectively.
Our societies are witnessing a steady increase in longevity. This demographic evolution is accompanied by some convergence across countries, but at the same time substantial longevity inequalities persist within nations across income classes. This Element aims to survey some crucial implications of changing longevity on the design of optimal public policy. For that purpose, it first focuses on some difficulties raised by risky and varying lifetime for the representation of individual and social preferences. Then, it explore some central implications of changing longevity for optimal policy making, regarding prevention against premature death, pension policies, education, health care and long-term care. The author distinguishes between the case when longevity is partially the responsibility of individuals and the case when longevity is plainly exogenous.
Increased population longevity could be influenced by early life factors. Some areas have long-lived populations, also in a historical perspective. We aimed to study these factors in Halland, an area with the highest life expectancy in Sweden. We collected archival data on gestational age and birth characteristics from 995 live singleton full-term births at the Halmstad Hospital, Halland, from the period 1936 to 1938 and compared these to 3364 births from three hospitals in nearby Scania for the period 1935–1945. In addition, data were obtained on maternal and offspring characteristics from the national Swedish Medical Birth Register during 1973–2013. The results show that when controlling for background maternal and offspring characteristics, mean birth weight (BW) and mean birth length were higher in Halland than in Scania, but the proportion of low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA) was lower. However, mean BW for Halland did not differ from the rest of Sweden in recent years 2004–2013. We also conducted a mortality follow-up for children born in Scania, which showed that LBW, being born SGA, or short birth length reduced survival. In conclusion, the high mean life expectancy in Halland compared to the rest of Sweden could have been associated with beneficial early life factors influencing birth size in the past. In more recent decades the mean BW of Halland is not different from the national mean. Thus, longevity could be expected to become more equal to the national mean in the future.
We explored the ‘coping reflections’ of elderly couples living alone (without any other family members) during the COVID-19 pandemic in urban Odisha, India.
Evidence worldwide suggests that older people are at increased risk from COVID-19 adverse outcomes and experience greater stress. In our previous community-based study urban dwelling, particularly elderly participants, and living alone reported higher pandemic-associated health care challenges than their rural and residing-with-family counterparts. We intended to explore how the elderly couples living alone coped through this challenging yet stressful situation during the COVID-19 pandemic and what were their key strategies adopted toward this.
We conducted telephonic in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 11 urban elderly couples living alone in Bhubaneswar city of Odisha, India using a semi-structured interview guide. All IDIs were digitally recorded, transcribed into the original language, and translated to English. We used a thematic approach for analysis.
Four themes emerged: (1) Risk appraisal and feeling vulnerable; (2) Safeguarding against COVID-19; (3) Managing routine health care and emergency; and (4) Pursuing mental and psychological well-being. Although fear, anxiety, and loneliness were continuing stressors, many of them learnt to adapt and emerge resilient with the evolving situation. Various elements at the individual, family, community, and organizational levels were conducive to better coping. The companionship and complementary support of spouse, self-health literacy, and digital efficacy, virtual connectedness with family and friends, availability of community pharmacy and diagnostic services in the vicinity, support of neighbors, reengaging with creative leisure time activity, and assurance of a responsive administration at the time of emergency helped them to cruise through the pandemic. Furthermore, watching the re-telecast of prime time serials made these elderly fondly remember their own youth time memories. Self-health monitoring, indoor physical exercise, spiritual practices, continuation of previous prescription, telephonic advice of physicians were add-on strategies that facilitated their physical and psychological well-being during the pandemic.
Boredom has dominated discussions about longevity thanks to Bernard Williams’s influential “The Makropulos Case.” I reveal the presence in that paper of a neglected, additional problem for the long-lived person, namely alienation in the face of unwanted change. Williams gestures towards this problem but does not pursue it. I flesh it out on his behalf, connecting it to what I call the ‘curmudgeonly attitude to change.’ This attitude manifests itself in the tendency, amongst those getting on in years, to observe that things are getting worse. Curmudgeonliness is typically met with dismissal because it often concerns changes that don’t radically inhibit the curmudgeon’s well-being or autonomy. I believe that taking the curmudgeonly attitude more seriously will provide insight into the longer-lived self and its relation to the future. Using Williams’s approach to longevity as the framework, I contend that—as with boredom—a sense of alienation born of curmudgeonliness can become terminal for the subject, rendering her unable to envision the future as a site of worthwhile activity. However, I also uncover ways in which this agential stasis is significantly distinct from boredom and constitutes a different worry and a different risk for the long-lived individual.
The ocean quahog, Arctica islandica, is a commercially important bivalve in the eastern USA but very little is known about the recruitment frequency and rebuilding capacity of this species. As the longest-living bivalve on Earth, A. islandica can achieve lifespans in excess of 200 y; however, age determinations are difficult to estimate and age variability at size is extreme. Objectives for this study included the creation of an extremely large age-composition dataset to constrain age at length variability, development of reliable age-length keys (ALK), and descriptions of sex-based population dynamics for the quasi-virgin A. islandica population at Georges Bank (GB) within the greater US Mid-Atlantic stock. Sexually dimorphic characteristics are clearly present, as females are larger than males within age classes and males tend to dominate the oldest age classes. A male represented the maximum age of 261 years and is older than the maximum age previously documented for this region. Sex-specific ALKs were robust and reliable but not interchangeable. This population had higher estimated natural mortality rates than presumed for other regions in the Mid-Atlantic, and females have the highest mortality rate. However, recruitment expansion was also occurring which would affect the age-frequency data used to derive mortality estimates and result in higher mortality. Age frequencies at GB suggest effective recruitment to the population each year since 1867 CE. Reduced recruitment periods are documented and likely attributed to fluctuating environmental conditions. Sex-based demographics are clearly divergent in regard to growth rate, maximum size, longevity and mortality rates.
We discuss physical changes that are encountered in aging and how music may be a part of optimizing health outcomes and wellness. This chapter presents how music affects thinking, feeling, and acting. Other topics include effects of noise, biological theories of aging, physical changes with aging, longevity, mind-body interactions, music in a Utopian environment, and exercise. Finally, a discussion ensues on retirement centers that celebrate living, such as Casa Verdi, Triangle Partnership, and The George Center.
This paper assesses inequality in longevity across education and gender groups in 23 OECD countries around 2011. Data on mortality rates by age, gender, educational attainment, and, for 17 countries, cause of death were collected from national sources, with similar treatment applied to all countries in order to derive comparable measures of longevity at age 25 and 65 by gender and education. These estimates show that, on average, the gap in life expectancy between high and low-educated people is 7.6 years for men and 4.8 years for women at age 25 years, and 3.6 years for men and 2.6 years for women at age 65. At the age of 25, the gap in life expectancy between high and low-educated people varies between 4.1 years (in Canada) and 13.9 years (in Hungary) for men, and between 2.5 years (in Italy) and 8.3 years (in Latvia) for women; in the United States, the gap is 10.0 years for men and 7.0 years for women. Cardiovascular diseases are the first cause of death for all gender and education groups after age 65 years, and the first cause of mortality inequality between the high and low-education elderly.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the literature on psychosocial stressors and psycho-social protective factors already clearly indicated that the two were linked in a multitude of ways to longevity. These ways include 1) directly through increased risk in suicides with respect to psycho-social stress or lack of connectivity 2) increased risk for psychopathologies such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and others, which in turn can decrease longevity in indirectly, and 3) a worse/healthier lifestyle that may be associated through decreased/improved social connectivity. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ways in which these psychosocial factors could be impacted by policy came into focus. Attempting to quantify the potential future impact of such policies on longevity through psycho-social changes appeared necessary to allow better guidance of policy making. Objective: This presentation aims to leverage the experience gained from making a projection of the impact of pandemic mitigation strategies on longevity in the early advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authors model indicated the high need for measures that are protective of the general populations’ psychosocial health in the face of a pandemic and associated mitigation strategies. Discussion: This presentation will discuss issues concerning quantifications of the impact of COVID-19 related policy on psychosocial health. The assumptions necessary to arrive at projective models may be at odds with parts of the current culture in the field. The presentation will discuss potential strategies in order for the scientific community to be better prepared for similar events in the future.
In the present study, the influence of three sex ratios (1:1, 1:2, and 1:3; female:male) of the mirid Engytatus varians (Distant) (Hemiptera) on different biological parameters and on its offspring was evaluated. The prey preference of different developmental stages of this predator for different nymphal instars (N) of Bactericera cockerelli (Sulcer) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) was also evaluated. The fertility was significantly higher (24 nymphs/female) in the 1:3 sex ratio than in the 1:1 and 1:2 sex ratios (14 and 16 nymphs/female, respectively). The females in the 1:1 and 1:2 sex ratios lived 1.14 and 1.43 days more (27 and 28 days, respectively) than those in the 1:3 sex ratio (26 days). The nymphs derived from the females of the three sex ratios (first filial generation, F1) had five instars and a duration of 17 or 18 days. The ratio of the F1 generation females was not affected by the sex ratio of their parents. In choice tests, independent of whether the preys were placed on a single or multiple tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaflets, the consumption of females and males and N3, N4, and N5 nymphs of E. varians on B. cockerelli, generally showed the order of N2>N3>N4>N5. In conclusion, the findings revealed in this study can help to improve the rearing methodology for increasing populations of E. varians. In addition, they can serve as a guideline for releasing this predator in times when there is an abundance of early instar nymphs of B. cockerelli.