Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Volume 27, 2007: Biopsychosocial Approaches to Longevity

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Overview

Though exceptional human longevity has captured the imagination for millennia, it has been only in the past fifteen years or so that some of the secrets to very long lives are finally giving way to scientific inquiry.

Written by an international group of experts, this year's review first considers the methodological and design dilemmas faced in conducting centenarian research. It then offers guidance in locating literature and data sources for primary and secondary information on centenarians and the oldest old. This section includes a list of the world's oldest persons and discusses the difficulties in compiling such a list.

The remainder of the review is divided in three sections-the biology and genetics of longevity, the behavioral and social predictors of longevity, and methodological issues in qualitative and anthropologic approaches and the study of the very oldest old, supercentenarians, or those who live to 110 years or more. Data is drawn from studies undertaken among populations in diverse parts of the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826115379
  • Publisher: Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/12/2007
  • Series: Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics , #27
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Leonard W. Poon, PhD, DPhil, hc, is rofessor of public health in the Department of Health Policy and Management, professor of psychology in the Department of Life Span Developmental Psychology, chair of the faculty of gerontology, and director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia. He is also the director of the Georgia Geriatric Education Center. Dr. Poon is the principal investigator of the Georgia Centenarian Study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (1988-1992, 1992-1997) and the National Institute on Aging (2001-2008). He is the founder, and has been executive director, of the International Centenarian Consortium. since 1994. Dr. Poon is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Dr. Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1986. After completing a 3-year geriatrics fellowship at Harvard Medical School, he joined the staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he founded the New England Centenarian Study. He moved to the Boston University School of Medicine's Geriatrics Section in 2001 as an associate professor. Dr. Perls is board certified in internal medicine with special qualifications in geriatrics and he is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Now in its twelfth year, and funded by the National Institute on Aging, the New England Centenarian Study is the largest genetic and social study of centenarians and their families in the world (www.bumc.bu.edu/centenarian). Dr. Perls also has an interest in antiaging quackery and publishes the website www.antiagingquackery.com. Another website that Dr. Perls is responsible for is www.Livingto100.com which hosts a life expectancy quiz based upon work that is discussed in his book Living to 100: Lessons in Maximizing Your Potential At Any Age (1999).

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Table of Contents


About the Editors     ix
Contributors     xi
Forthcoming and Previous Volumes in the Series     xiii
Preface     xv
Acknowledgments     xvii
The Trials and Tribulations of Studying the Oldest Old   Leonard W. Poon   Thomas T. Perls     1
Human Life Span and the Oldest Humans     1
Data Sources     4
Methodological Pitfalls     7
Biomedical
Aging: A Genetic Balancing Act   Jan Vijg   Yousin Suh     11
Aging as a Programmatic Response: Premature Senescence     13
Stochastic Aspects of Aging     18
Future Prospects     24
The Promise of Human Life Span Extension   Preston W. Estep III     29
What Is Senescence?     30
Antisenescence Therapeutic Approaches     33
SENS     41
The Familiality of Exceptional Longevity   Thomas T. Perls     63
The Nature Versus Nurture Debate     63
A Proposed Multifactorial Model for Exceptional Longevity     69
Summary and Conclusions     74
Centenarian Offspring: A Model of Successful Aging   Dellara F. Terry     79
Benefits of Focusing onCentenarian Offspring for Longevity Research     80
Comparison Groups Used in Centenarian Offspring Studies     80
Advantageous Health Profiles in Centenarian Offspring     81
Conclusions     86
Psychosocial
Personality and Coping Among Centenarians   Peter Martin     89
Theoretical and Conceptual Overview     90
Narrative Descriptions     90
Personality and Events     91
Personality and Biography     93
Personality Traits in Centenarians     95
Personality States and Coping Behaviors in Centenarians     98
Personality as a Predictor of Adaptation     100
Conclusions and Future Directions     101
Social Support for Centenarians' Health, Psychological Well-Being, and Longevity   Maurice MacDonald     107
Background and Conceptual Overview     107
Organization     111
Descriptions of Centenarians' Social Support     111
Theoretical Framework     114
Impacts of Social Support on Centenarian Well-Being     116
Social Support and Longevity     121
Conclusion     122
Cognitive Function of Centenarians and Its Influence on Longevity   Yasuyuki Gondo   Leonard W. Poon     129
Review of Supportive Evidence     129
Reality of Cognitive Function in Centenarians     131
Characteristics of Brain-Cognition Relationship in Centenarians     137
Summary, Conclusions, and New Directions     140
Methodology
Extreme Longevity and Data Quality   Jean-Marie Robine     151
Population-Level Data Quality     153
Change Over Time     157
Individual-Level Data Quality     163
Living Past 100 Years: Perspectives From Anthropology of Longevity   Kyung-soo Chun     173
Serendipitous Discovery as Methodology     177
Case Studies From Asia and Europe     180
Wisdom Learned From the Centenarians: Comparisons After Interviews     198
Concluding Remarks: Toward an Anthropology of Longevity     200
Developing Models of Longevity   Bo Hagberg     205
Background     206
Issues     208
Models Predicting Longevity and Survival     208
Tentative Aging Mechanisms     209
Outcome Variables in Aging Models     212
Model Construction     212
A Psycho-Physiological Model of Aging     213
Empirical Support for a Psychosomatic Unity      217
Complementary Models to Be Considered When Predicting Aging, Longevity, and Well-Being     219
Empirical Support for Time-Related Differences in Predictors of Longevity and Survival     221
Conclusions and Remarks     222
Discussion     224
Methodological Considerations in Studying Centenarians: Lessons Learned From the Georgia Centenarian Studies   Leonard W. Poon et al     231
The Georgia Centenarian Studies     232
Methods     237
Procedures     242
Genetic Contributions to Longevity     245
Neuropathology of Dementia in Centenarians     248
Neuropsychological and Health Predictors of Functional Capacity     250
Adaptation and Resources in Centenarians     253
Summary     255
Index     265
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