November 11, 2011

Living Forever

Here's a fun article in New York Magazine by Jesse Green, What Do a Bunch of Old Jews Know About Living Forever?, about a medical research project in New York on Ashkenazis over the age of 95, including a quartet of four wealthy siblings, the Kahns, all over 100. One Kahn still comes into work everyday as chairman of his financial firm to check up on his 69-year-old son, the CEO, to make sure, presumably, that the youngster's callowness doesn't trip him up.
For these studies, Barzilai has assembled a cohort of some 540 people over the age of 95 who, like the Kahns, reached that milestone having never experienced the so-called big four: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive decline. He theorized that these “SuperAgers,” as he calls them, must have something that protects them from all four conditions. Otherwise, when they didn’t have a heart attack, say, at 78, they’d have succumbed quickly to the next thing on their body’s inscrutable list. So instead of looking, as most genetic studies do, for pieces of DNA that correlate with the likelihood of getting diseases, Barzilai looked for the opposite: genes that correlate with the likelihood of not getting them—and thus with longevity. 
The top correlate for longevity is one that requires no blood test to discover: having a SuperAger in your family already. ... Barzilai has so far identified, or corroborated, at least seven associative markers. The most significant is the Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein gene, or CETP, which in one unusual form correlates with slower memory decline, lower risk for dementia, and strongly increased protection against heart disease. (Among other things, it increases the amount and size of “good” cholesterol.) Only about 9 percent of control subjects have two copies (one from each parent) of the protective form of CETP, while 24 percent of the centenarians do, including all four Kahn siblings. 
There’s evidence, as well, that small stature among the SuperAgers (Irving is now about five foot two) may reflect the influence of a protective factor seen throughout nature; ponies live longer than horses. ... 
But the Einstein project is fascinating for a major reason beyond its science: Its main test group consists entirely of Ashkenazim—that is, Jews who descend, as more than 80 percent of American Jews do, from communities in the Pale of Settlement of Eastern Europe. In longevity news, the spotlight frequently passes from one group to another: Georgian yogurt eaters, Japanese pensioners, the Pennsylvania Dutch. But 540 Jews in a New York–based study of extreme old age is too delicious. The mind cramps with the possibility of jokes. 
... Barzilai centered his studies on Ashkenazim not because they live longer or produce more centenarians than other ethnic groups. They don’t. It’s that their unusual development as a homogeneous community makes them easier to study at the level of DNA. Genetic research done by Barzilai’s Einstein colleague Gil Atzmon suggests that Ashkenazim branched off from other Jews around the time of the destruction of the First Temple, 2,500 years ago. They flourished during the Roman Empire but then went through a “severe bottleneck” as they dispersed, reducing a population of several million to just 400 families who left Northern Italy around the year 1000 for Central and eventually Eastern Europe. Though their numbers increased dramatically once there, to some 18 million before the Holocaust, studies suggest that 40 percent of today’s Ashkenazim descend from just four Jewish mothers. How proud those mothers would be to know that the reason their mishpocheh has remained far more genetically alike than a random population—Barzilai says by a factor of at least 30—is that until recently their sons almost never married outside the clan.

As I've pointed out, "white guilt" is guilt over being too ethnocentric, "Jewish guilt" is is guilt over being not ethnocentric enough.
That likeness means that small genetic differences—as small as one “letter” of DNA code—are more easily spotted on Ashkenazi genes than on those of, say, Presbyterians. Icelanders are good, too: They are all descendants, Barzilai says, of five Viking men and four Irish women. But they are a tiny population, with proportionately fewer centenarians, and aren’t so easy to find in New York. Ashkenazim are plentiful. And because they are also fairly similar in their educational and economic status, some of the variables that can muddy the picture are already controlled. 
Others are controlled more explicitly. An Einstein study published in August asked whether the SuperAgers, over the course of their lives, had better health habits than the general population. 
The answer was no; their habits were, if anything, worse. They smoked as much or more than others and were no better about diet or exercise.

My father is 94. He never smoked, drank only moderately, and comes from a high energy family that needs to be moving all the time. His nephew, my hippie cousin, for example, was an organic farmer for decades, and now that he has a desk job, he spends about 25 hours a week at the gym. When my cousin came for a visit to his parents in Arcadia, CA, at the age of 51, he hiked to the top of Mt. Wilson, a 5,000 foot ascent, every day for two weeks. It's unfortunate that social scientists don't seem to have a reliable quick test of energy the way they have tests of intelligence, since it's obvious that energy differs widely among individuals and is important in influencing life outcomes.

81 comments:

airtommy said...

Obviously, this group has access to extraordinary health care due to wealth and proximity to a metropolis.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, this group has access to extraordinary health care due to wealth and proximity to a metropolis.

Good point. Great wealth and some of the best hospitals in the world, like NY-Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai, and Sloan-Kettering, are right there.

Hanley said...

the reason their mishpocheh has remained far more genetically alike than a random population—Barzilai says by a factor of at least 30—is that until recently their sons almost never married outside the clan.

Define "a random population" please.

Anonymous said...

Steve:

Your cousin spends 25 hours in the gym per week?? How does he find the time and what does he do with all those hours in the gym?

Grumpy Old Man said...

This phenomenon might not be correlated with anything, like the ESP studies of Dr. Rhine a generation ago. Take a large enough sample, and there will be some people who pass the card-guessing tests 100 times in a row. Take enough of a population, and some will live a long time. It might not be correlated to anything.

Then again, it might, in which case the study might come up with something interesting.

This puts me in mind of the old joke. Two old Jewish guys are sitting on the benches on Upper Broadway, and one says to the other, "Nu, Sam, I forget, was it you or your brother that died?"

Antioco Dascalon said...

Wealth and access to top hospitals doesn't explain much, since New York Ashkinazim don't live longer than others.
"Barzilai centered his studies on Ashkenazim not because they live longer or produce more centenarians than other ethnic groups. They don’t."
If you wanted to test for wealth or hospital access you would want to perhaps study NY Ashkinazim and Russian Ashkinazim, but this study is not a comparative one between NY Jews and everyone else (which would then have wealth or proximity to NY as factors) but New York Jews who live over 95 without major illness and the general New York Jewish population.

Thomas said...

Regarding one of the links Steve posted in this piece, it appears that Solzhenitsyn's epic work on relations between Jewish and Christian Russians may be available in English translation soon:

http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/05/during-1917-chapter-14-of-solzhenitsyns-200-years-together/

http://www.ethnopoliticsonline.com/archives/ais/ais%20main.html

Dave said...

Irving Kahn was a teaching assistant to Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett's mentor. He started investing in 1928.

Thomas said...

I found another source for an English translation of Solzenhitsyn's epic history, "200 Years Together."

You can read one of the chapters here:

http://firstword.us/2007/12/derzhavin-the-belarus-famine/

dearieme said...

"this group has access to extraordinary health care": but have they used it much?

It's not uncommon to read about some ancient who boasts of enjoying smoking and a glass of beer, and of never having visited the doctor. How often such claims are checked I don't know.

Steve Sailer said...

I suspect a big part of long life is having an immune system that turns out to be well-tuned for whatever germs come along decades after you are born. For example, my father has always had extremely delicate skin, which combined with his energy, means he gets cut about once a day. After a day pottering around the yard he looks like Chuck Wepner, the Bayonne Bleeder, after 14 rounds with Ali. But, as far as I can remember, my father has never ever gotten infected from any of his countless cuts.

Anonymous said...

It's not uncommon to read about some ancient who boasts of enjoying smoking and a glass of beer, and of never having visited the doctor. How often such claims are checked I don't know.

There is lots of evidence that smoking is actually good for you and promotes longevity:

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/38868-smoking-is-good-for-you/

Most of the "science" against smoking is comprised of bad epidemiological studies:

http://www.stahlheart.com/wispofsmoke/goodforyou.html

Anonymous said...

But, as far as I can remember, my father has never ever gotten infected from any of his countless cuts.

California is a pretty dry climate. Perhaps that helps. Muggy climes seem to harbor more infectious organisms.

Anonymous said...

Some scientists, such as Paul Ewald, argue that a lot of the "diseases of civilization" such as cancer and heart disease that cut down on longevity are due to infectious organisms.

Steve Sailer said...

The funniest was when we were riding motor scooters around Cozumel in 1985. He was bleeding profusely from the head and arm from two separate accidents, but refused all help. He was on vacation and didn't have time to get bandaged. The poor Mexicans we passed were shouting in concern: "Senor! El sangre!"

Harry Baldwin said...

The poor Mexicans we passed were shouting in concern: "Senor! El sangre!"

Ah, the days of innocence. Now you can be decapitated and barely attract attention in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Tim Wise isn't tick-tock cheering for their deaths.

Anonymous said...

it's amazing how 'jewish' new york magazine is. if a similar magazine catered to Christians that way, the ADL would be complaining.

One year they had a crucified easter bunny on the cover - that was the only acknowledgement of a christian holiday i have seen.. and it's often filled with self-love/aggrandizing articles like this.

We're jews, we're great and we're in charge..

Anonymous said...

Does your cousin have a hyper-active thyroid? I have the opposite condition, it seems to have occured in my mid-thirties (10 years ago), and ever since I've had much less energy. A buddy of mine has a hyper-active thyroid and, at the age of 55, is constantly on the move like your cousin. I am actually jealous.

Wes said...

Is there a connection between energy level and lifespan? I was hoping maybe us low-energy types burn out slower

Anonymous said...

this group has access to extraordinary health care due to wealth and proximity to a metropolis.
sardinians have the longest lifespan in the world, they are pretty poor and did not have such access, baby cakes.

Ray Sawhill said...

Energy, energy ...

I had some surgery done on me 10 years ago. Before it, I had about 110% of the energy I needed to get thru a typical day. Ever since the surgery, I've had about 90% of the energy I need to get thru a typical day. A 20% change may not seem like a lot ... but a change from "too much" to "too little" is in fact a pretty dramatic one to experience. Not being able to summon up a burst of energy or aggression at will is a big drag, for instance. I've had to rejigger my life in lots of little ways to take my current "not enough" energy levels into account.

Anonymous said...

Your cousin didn't climb 5K a day for two weeks.

betachains said...

I think the proximity to fancy medical interventions has never been shown to extend lives, in the US. Even the most podunk village can get appendicitis and heart attacks taken care of. Even a grad of PapaDoc School of Medicine of Southern Haiti knows when to place a patient on long-term beta-blockers.

For rarer conditions like leukemia, you get sent to a bigger center (almost never more than 200 miles away).

dearieme said...

Sardinians have some things worth living for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterina_Murino

Jehu said...

Steve,
My guess is that tests for energy and all sorts of other things are around---the problem is, unlike tests like IQ tests, they're way too easy to game to attach any meaningful stakes to them.

Ivy League Bastard said...

>Obviously, this group has access to extraordinary health care due to wealth

These are 95+ year olds (plus a year or two since the start of the study). A century ago the NY Jewish population were largely immigrants in places like the Lower East Side. It is likelier that the 95+ year olds today from that population are people from crowded tenements whose immune systems (as demonstrated by their survival) could better handle that environment with its elevated risks from diseases, lack of sanitation or heat or nutrition, presence of heavy metals, exposure to animals, and other public health factors that are better controlled today.

It's also possible that what doesn't kill a child makes it stronger, building up resistance to things that are lethal in old age; or that relatively low food consumption in childhood slows down the metabolic clock (as shown in worms and yeast) over a lifetime; or that the wealthy are more sedentary. If so, then among the super-old one might find a disproportionate number who were relatively poor as children.

betachains said...

"It's also possible that what doesn't kill a child makes it stronger, building up resistance to things that are lethal in old age; or that relatively low food consumption in childhood slows down the metabolic clock (as shown in worms and yeast) over a lifetime; or that the wealthy are more sedentary. If so, then among the super-old one might find a disproportionate number who were relatively poor as children."

Oh,bollocks. For one thing,caloric restriction has never been shown to work in humans. There is doubt that it even works in other mammals.

These guys are just the lucky genetic outliers; there is no mumble-jumbo about it.

Volksverhetzer said...

In Scandinavia we have church-books registering birth, death, marriage and children of the population dating back for some 500 years, and although the average man now lives longer, the lifespan of the oldest ones have not increased much.

Anonymous said...

I recall seeing this news about UVB rays/ vitamin D and telomerase activity a few days ago.

"Clinical trial finds vitamin D increases telomerase activity"

http://blog.vitamindcouncil.org/2011/11/03/clinical-trial-finds-vitamin-d-increases-telomerase-activity/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

I've seen similar writings before. It's thought by some that increased length of telomeres can result in longevity. It is just observational, but from my genealogy work I noticed family members that lived high up in the Oregon mountains most of their lives tended to live longer - into their 90s sometimes. While my Irish/ Swedish descendants of that family line that moved typically to smoggy San Francisco only made it into their 70s, most of the time. The higher up in altitude, the less atmosphere, results in greater exposure to UVB rays. I just thought it was interesting.

Anonymous said...

Sardinians have some things worth living for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterina_Murino

good to know she might be around for 100 years!

josh said...

I have a similar thing re skin:I get cut a lot,but (almost)never infected. I got one infection in my life. The finger swelled up and was quite gross. I went to the clinic,and the doctor,as a nurse watched,cut into it to let out the pus. He said it would hurt. It did. But I never flinched and the doctor was very impressed and a bit surprised.The nurse said nothing. But I like to think that that may have been "five minutes of alpha" for her. I'll bet she thinks of it still.

Q said...

a medical research project in New York on Ashkenazis over the age of 95


What explains the monomaniacal obsession which researchers have with Ashkenazi Jews? I suppose a lot of the researchers are Ashkenazi Jews themselves, but that just raises the question of why they engage in so much navel gazing.



the reason their mishpocheh has remained far more genetically alike than a random population


That's a staggeringly dumb claim, even by the low standards of the typical discourse on Jews. Every ethnic group is "far more genetically alike than a random population", by definition. You think that e.g. the English are not far more genetically alike than a random sample of the worlds population? Being genetically similar to one another and dissimilar to others is what makes an ethnic group an ethnic group.

Q said...

Barzilai centered his studies on Ashkenazim not because they live longer or produce more centenarians than other ethnic groups. They don’t. It’s that their unusual development as a homogeneous community makes them easier to study at the level of DNA.


Yeah, the fact that the people doing the study are Jewish members of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC is entirely coincidental. And these are not the droids you're looking for!

Cult, -Cause. said...

Stanley Kauffmann is 95 yrs old and still at the top of his game. Amazing.

Maybe many Jews live longer because they work in mind-professions than physical-professions. There's less of a chance of a Jewish accountant or editor getting killed than an Irish policeman or Mexican construction worker.

I suppose many mind-professions are high-stress, but maybe high IQ among Jews ensures that they are better able to cope with tasks.
I was reading Amy Chua's book the other day, and maybe Asians are more stressed out than Jews cuz what Jews can do in 2 hrs, it takes 5 hrs for Asians in terms of preparation.

Or maybe lots of Jews just have good genes.
Also, many Jews of Kauffmann's generation were probably more cautious in terms of lifestyle choices. Jews weren't notable as heavy drinkers like the Irish or Russians. And Jews preferred wine over vodka or fattening beer.
And the pre-boomer Jews didn't indulge in stuff like cocaine and other drugs which boomer Jews might have.

Cult, -Cause. said...

"And the pre-boomer Jews didn't indulge in stuff like cocaine and other drugs which boomer Jews might have."

I'm assuming that guys like Freud were exceptions than the rule.

Q said...

National Geographic and Blue Zones studied those places in the world where people live longest.

Those place are: Okinawa, Japan: Sardinia, Italy: Loma Linda, California: Nicoya, Costa Rica: and Ikaria, Greece.

Investigating what these places have in common, they found several lifestyle traits. I've posted them below. Many of them, such as tribe, family, and belonging, are probably very relevant to Jews in NYC


=================================

1. Move Naturally.
Americans burn fewer than 100 calories a day engaged in “exercise”. We can get more physical activity naturally if we live in walkable communities, de-convenience our homes by getting rid of power tools and grow gardens. Walking is the best activity for longevity.


2. Know your Purpose.
People who know why they wake up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t. Know your values, passions and talents–and how to share them on a regular basis.


3. Down Shift.
Chronic inflammation caused by stress is related to every major, age-related disease. To reverse inflammation, find time each day to meditate, nap, pray or enjoy a happy hour.


4. 80% Rule.
Cut 20% of your calories with evidence based practices: eat a big breakfast, eat with your family, remove the TV from your dining area and say pre-meal expressions of appreciation.


5. Plant Slant.
Eat mostly a plant-based diet heavy on beans, nuts and green plants. Eat meat in small portions (the size of a deck of cards) fewer than twice weekly.


6. Wine at 5.
Drinkers out-live non-drinkers. Two glasses of wine daily will add years to your life, especially when consumed during a plant-based meal.


7. Family First.
Living in a thriving family is worth a half a dozen extra years of life expectancy. Invest time in your kids, nurture a monogamous relationship and keep your aging parents nearby.


8. Belong.
Recommit, reconnect or explore a new faith-based community. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist. People who show up to their faith community four times a month live an extra 4-14 years.


9. Right Tribe.
Your friends have a long-term and measure impact on your health and longevity. Taking stock in who your friends are and expanding your social circle to include healthy-minded, supportive people might be the most powerful thing you can do to add years to your life.

-------------------------------

Ivy League Bastard said...

>"What explains the monomaniacal obsession which researchers have with Ashkenazi Jews? I suppose a lot of the researchers are Ashkenazi Jews themselves, but that just raises the question of why they engage in so much navel gazing." -<

A genetics lab in New York has access to populations in the metro NY/NJ area. It is known that Korean women in northern NJ have the highest life expectancy in the United States (over 90 years) but a very high average could mask the mechanisms for super-longevity, with centenarians having fewer unusual genes that stand out from the background, than in a population that lives to 77. "Whites" around NY have many centenarians but are more diverse than Jews so a larger sample size is needed to get the same statistical power. Ashkenazic Jews are therefore a natural target for such a study. Black centenarians might be another. I expect that all these groups will be studied eventually, together and separately, but it is not surprising the Jews were selected for analysis, for the reasons stated in the article and not as a conspiracy to contemplate navels.


>" You think that e.g. the English are not far more genetically alike than a random sample of the worlds population? " <

Right, which is why the large, genetically homogeneous and isolated population of Icelanders is the #1 subject of genetic analysis for diseases, longevity and all else. But in New York City, how do you find a large enough group of reliably identified "English" or "Norwegian" people so as to have enough centenarians for analysis? Maybe the black or Korean population would work, but there are many fewer Koreans than Jews, and blacks have more genetic diversity (and socioeconomic factors reducing the number of subjects for a study). Given this, I don't see why it is out of the ordinary to pick Jews as a first case for analysis in NYC, similar to what has been done for years in Iceland.

Before the age of gene sequencing, the interest in super-old populations focused not on Jews, but on clusters of centenarian farmers in Soviet Georgia, Ecuador, Okinawa, and other such locales where accidents of genetics combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Q said...

in New York City, how do you find a large enough group of reliably identified "English" or "Norwegian" people so as to have enough centenarians for analysis?


The same way you find people reliably identified as "Ashkenazi Jews". And of course, they are not even slightly restricted to New York City. Research institutions can and do perform research in locations far removed from where they are based. You think that National geographic is based in Okinawa, Sardinia, etc?

And use of the word "conspiracy" undermines all your other points. Learn to discuss things like a grown-up.

Maya said...

I'm really confused... From what I understand, Ashkenazi Jews trace up to a half of their genetic heritage to the regions their ancestors passed along the way to North-Central/North-Eastern Europe as well as to the regions that they eventually settled for hundreds of years. That's not exactly a melting pot, but it's still a large and varied genetic pool. If the scientists wanted similar genetic heritage in the subjects to make it easier to zero in on something or other, surely, it would make more sense to pick a group that is NOT known for wandering around the globe for centuries on end? When I taught in Asia, my students would inform me proudly and often that their civilization is more than 5000 years old and that they've been pure blooded Hans for that long. There are pockets in Scandinavia where the locals are believed to have lived for millenia. It just doesn't make sense to have picked the group that they did for the reason that they give.

betachains said...

Maya,

You are missing the fact that Ashkenazi jews are very inbred *despite* their global wanderings.

Anonymous said...

"the reason their mishpocheh has remained far more genetically alike than a random population—Barzilai says by a factor of at least 30—is that until recently their sons almost never married outside the clan"

But, but, but, what's the big deal that some people's religion just happens to be jewish?

Ivy League Bastard said...

ILB> "in New York City, how do you find a large enough group of reliably identified "English" or "Norwegian" people so as to have enough centenarians for analysis?"

Q> "The same way you find people reliably identified as "Ashkenazi Jews". <

The study found 540 centenarians out of millions of Jews in the NYC area. Do you think they can attain that sample size (which may be marginal in its ability to produce results) if they concentrated on people of comparably homogeneous English or Norwegian descent in the same metropolis? Around NY, the population of Ashkenazic Jews dwarfs that of the other homogeneous white groups. Centenarians being a rare commodity, this has implications for the cost of obtaining a large sample.


Q > "And of course, they are not even slightly restricted to New York City. Research institutions can and do perform research in locations far removed from where they are based. " <

Research is always performed on local (or nearby) subjects when that is possible, to maximize statistical power per dollar of budget. Concentrating on a more homogeneous subpopulation such as Jews or Samoans is done for the same reason: more statistical power per sample. And working locally means more samples per dollar.

It's not true that any lab can study subjects anywhere on earth. To perform studies of Icelanders in a Boston lab you need an office in Iceland and local collaborators, which is why the project was initiated by an Icelandic doctor working at Harvard Medical School, and later moved to Reykjavik.

Q > "You think that National geographic is based in Okinawa, Sardinia, etc? "

Does National Geographic have a lab or get money from NIH? Or are they more a producer of travel films where going abroad is the whole point?

Q> "And use of the word "conspiracy" undermines all your other points. Learn to discuss things like a grown-up. "

The word "conspiracy" is a fairly tame allusion to rhetorical blasts (stated as though they were indisputable facts) about medical researchers having a "monomaniacal obsession" with Jews, and Jewish medical researchers in particular spending a large and inexplicable amount of their time on "navel gazing". The amount of this Jewish gazing being so large that it is a (Jewish) Question calling for analysis. Or at least, you have called for an analysis, when there are simple explanations that do not rely on any particular attribute of Jews. Sometimes it's just a cigar.

Justthisguy said...

I believe Herman Wouk might be one of them. Last I looked, he was still alive.

Orlando Gibbons said...

Steve, I recommend the work of Dr. Ray Peat, a physiologist who has written extensively about the relationship between energy and longevity. Try this article:

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/co2.shtml

Steve Sailer said...

Wouk is 96. I think he lives in Palm Springs.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Wouk and Kaufman, the actor Norman Lloyd (a Jewish kid from Jersey City) is 97 and still working both stage and television roles. He's pretty much the last living actor to have worked closely with Orson Welles pre-Citizen Kane, the last living actor to have worked closely with Hitchcock before Hitch's postwar gig with Universal, and pretty much the last living actor to have worked closely with Chaplin period.

Anonymous said...

Good point. Great wealth and some of the best hospitals in the world, like NY-Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai, and Sloan-Kettering, are right there.

Hospitals can be somewhat helpful if you are already sick. But these guys don't get sick.

Cennbeorc

Q said...

The word "conspiracy" is a fairly tame allusion to rhetorical blasts (stated as though they were indisputable facts) about medical researchers having a "monomaniacal obsession" with Jews, and Jewish medical researchers in particular spending a large and inexplicable amount of their time on "navel gazing".


No, it is not a "tame allusion". It is an attempt to silence discussion about things which you feel should not be mentioned. I've spent several years reading a variety of HBD blogs, and the frequency with which genetic studies of Jews pop up is really quite remarkable.

Of course, it's possible that part of the blame lies with people like Razib Khan and Steve, who focus overmuch on Jewish studies. But I'm guessing that the studies covered on blogs are representative of the studies being done by research institutions.

In which case I stand by my initial remark.

Q said...

You are missing the fact that Ashkenazi jews are very inbred *despite* their global wanderings.


You are missing the fact that they are not especially inbred.

A lot of genetic studies get done involving Jews because a lot of genetics researchers are Jews, including the two mentioned in the NYT piece. I suppose it's also possible that the (Jewish) NY media are more likely to cover any discussion of genetic studies relating to Jews while ignoring or downplaying other studies.

All of which is consistent with Steve's comment about how: "white guilt" is guilt over being too ethnocentric, "Jewish guilt" is is guilt over being not ethnocentric enough".

Q said...

it is not surprising the Jews were selected for analysis, for the reasons stated in the article


The reason stated in the article is that "though their numbers increased dramatically once there, to some 18 million before the Holocaust, studies suggest that 40 percent of today’s Ashkenazim descend from just four Jewish mothers. How proud those mothers would be to know that the reason their mishpocheh has remained far more genetically alike than a random population"

This, as I've pointed out, is nonsense. Saying that Jews are far more genetically alike than a random population is a tautology. All ethnic groups are far more genetically alike than a random population. That's part of the very definition of "ethnic group".

And the study is of Jews over the age of 95 - that is, of Jews born before 1917. So the gene pool they were born into was much larger than the post-Holocaust one.

This "Jews are far more alike than a random population" stuff has nothing to do with science. It's all about Jews trying to strengthen their sense of togetherness, and their sense of separation from others. Whether or not that's a valid goal for them to pursue I can't say, but I do wish they'd stop twisting science in the process.

Anonymous said...

Q,
Jews can be inbred despite having assimilated genetic inputs from non-Middle Eastern sources. Many Askhenazi Jews who submit samples to 23andMe find relationships at the 4th or 5th cousin level with other Ashknazi Jews with whom they cannot trace a genealogic connection. This is suggestive of inbreeding. However, Atzmon et al. and Behar et al. (and Bauchet et al. and David Goldstein's lab at Duke earlier on) have all found evidence of significant (likely Southern) European admixture in the Ashkenazim. The data can be reconciled since the admixture events were likely ancient and the inbreeding happened afterwards. The small numbers of progenitor families who migrated north of the Alps into "Ashkenaz" would have been a setup for the inbreeding. We do know that for at least the last several hundred years (and likely much longer), Ashkenazi Jews were an extremely endogamous population.

Gil Atzmon, the lead author on one of the large autosomal DNA-based studies of Jewish population genetics published last year, is a collaborator of Barzilai's in this study and is quoted in the article. I doubt that any published data would exhibit lack of awareness of his findings.

Q said...

Jews can be inbred despite having assimilated genetic inputs from non-Middle Eastern sources.



All ethnic groups are inbred. To put that another way, all ethnic groups are genetically distinct from a random sample of the worlds population. Swedes are inbred. Japanese are inbred. There's nothing startling or unusual about some group of people being inbred. Jews are on the "out-bred" side of things, compared to several other groups.

And yet, for some reason, all talk of group genetics seems to boil down to a discussion of how fascinatingly unusual Ashkenazi Jews are. That this is so is something nobody tries to dispute. What's left is conjecture about why it is so.

But be careful in your conjecture, lest somebody accuse you of peddling a "conspiracy theory".

Steve Sailer said...

The study is being carried out by researchers at the Albert Einstein medical school of Yeshiva University in New York, a private Jewish university. The researchers have every reasonable reason -- convenience, cost-effectiveness, publicity, the highly endogamous ancestries of Jews born in the early 20th Century, ethnic interests, fund-raising, connections to younger relatives for help in recruiting oldsters, a shared culture that helps the researchers make sense of what these extremely old people are babbling about, access to Yiddish-interpreters, etc. -- to focus upon Ashkenazis. I can't think of any factors upon which any other group would be a better choice for the Einstein researchers.

Q said...

We do know that for at least the last several hundred years (and likely much longer), Ashkenazi Jews were an extremely endogamous population.


We don't actually "know" that. It is the version of history which certain Jewish scientists would like Jews to believe though.

Gil Atzmon, the lead author on one of the large autosomal DNA-based studies of Jewish population genetics published last year, is a collaborator of Barzilai's in this study


I know that he is. That's one of the reasons why I raised the question of why we keep reading articles about Jewish genetic studies written by the same small number (under a dozen people) of Jewish genetic researchers.


Atzmon et al. and Behar et al. (and Bauchet et al. and David Goldstein's lab at Duke earlier on) have all found evidence of significant (likely Southern) European admixture in the Ashkenazim.


If some black genetic researchers told you that African-Americans have not interbred with the white population, would you believe them? Probably not. It's hard not to notice that many American "blacks" have a significant white component, even without examining their genes.

But there are a lot of people who embody pure credulity where the topic of Jews comes up. If some scientist argued that Jews are not human at all but the descendents of a space-faring race from another planet, plenty of people would respond with, "That seems plausible". And Jews would be prominent among them.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, the Andamanese of North Sentinel Island are even more inbred than New York-area Ashkenazi Jews, but it's hard to get from the Einstein medical school in the Bronx to the Andaman Islands by subway.

Q said...

the highly endogamous ancestries of Jews born in the early 20th Century


Only "Catholics" would show greater genetic variance than "Jews". Jews born in the early 20th century do not have a highly endogamous ancestry. Jews born in the early 20th century are as varied a group of people as you can find.

What people mean, but for some reason rarely say, is that Jews born in certain specific countries, or all four of whose grandparents were born in certain specific countries - mostly within the borders of the original Poland - have highly endogamous ancestry. Stated thusly, which is not how anybody ever states it, it is true that "Jews" have highly endogamous ancestry.

Of course, they're not any more highly endogamous than the ancestry of "Swedes", where "Swedes" is similarly narrowly defined. In fact, as shown by the various studies conducted by Jewish genetic researchers, narrowly defined "Jews" show a greater degree of genetic variance than do narrowly defined "Swedes".

They don't highlight this aspect of their findings, and neither does the New York Times, You have to dig a little into the various studies and not accept their precis as being the final word.

Q said...

Yes, the Andamanese of North Sentinel Island are even more inbred than New York-area Ashkenazi Jews, but it's hard to get from the Einstein medical school in the Bronx to the Andaman Islands by subway.


It's about as hard to find people with four grandparents from Ireland or Italy in New York as it is to find people with four grandparents from Poland/Western Russia. Not trivial, but not impossible either. So relax, no trip to the Andaman Islands is necessary.

Justthisguy said...

We USN-ophiles are quite fond of Herman Wouk, as he is of the USN. When he was the only Jew aboard his ship, the men looked askance at him, 'specially when he strapped on the phylacteries and donned the prayer shawl.

Later, they thought of him as a good luck charm. (sailors are famously superstitious)

He wrote of an episode when he was doing his prayers and felt a touch on one of the t'fillin. He turned around and confronted a blushing young sailor, who said he had touched it for good luck.

Don't you people fuck with Herman Wouk. He is kewl&manly.

Steve Sailer said...

Earlier this year, I reread Wouk's 1954 play based on his novel, "The Caine Mutiny Courtmartial." It was excellent.

Q said...

Bear in mind that studies of Mitochondrial DNA are a lagging indicator. They can tell you what happened in the distant past but are less useful when it comes to more recent time frames.

Mitochondrial DNA is a tiny subset of your cells overall DNA. As the name indicates, it controls the mitochondria. It does not control your skin color, eye color, hair color, height, temperament, intelligence, or other physical characteristics.

If you see people whose mitochondrial DNA says Middle East/Southern Europe and whose skin/eye/hair pigmentation says Northern Europe, the correct conclusion is clear - you're looking at people who several hundreds or thousands of years ago commenced a northern migration. And who have been interbreeding with Northern Europeans for a shorter and more recent (in evolutionary terms) length of time. That still means hundreds of years though.

When people talk about Ashkenazi Jews being genetically distinct, they're talking about a very small and in practice meaningless piece of DNA. They're not talking about the genes which control the sorts of things which we all notice in people. They're not talking about the genes for physical appearance or personality or intelligence. Ashkenazi Jews genes for those things come from the European populations they live in.

This guy here may possess in his mitochondrial DNA some echoes of the Jewish migration from the Middle East to America via Europe. The rest of his DNA, notably including that which governs his skin color, bone structure, thought processes etc, his ancestors picked up at some point in their thousand-plus years in Northern Europe.

Galtonian said...

"... Barzilai centered his studies on Ashkenazim not because they live longer or produce more centenarians than other ethnic groups. They don’t."

In my opinion it is highly likely that this statement is false.

I suspect that Barzilai, or perhaps Jesse Green the New York Magazine journalist, has merely ASSUMED that the Ashkenazim do not tend to live longer than other Whites.

You see, during the past decade Ian Deary and colleagues have shown that IQ is the one of the very strongest factors for predicting health and longevity. They have published several dozen papers in top journals on this correlation. Professor Ian Deary of University of Edinburgh is probably the worlds foremost expert on the science of IQ so his research findings are not to be ignored lightly.

So I suspect that since Ashkenazi Jews tend to have much higher IQs, that they also probably tend to have much higher health and longevity.

Although, admittedly I am not certain that Ashkenazim live longer because there is at least one example of an ethnic group that is an exception to the rule of IQs correlating with health and longevity. Hispanic Americans tend to have lower IQs than Whites but the health and longevity of Hispanic Americans tends to be about the same as that of White Americans.

NOTA said...

One other thing that makes Jews a little different than other partly-inbred groups is the whole process of being able to, one way or another, fade out into the bigger population. In places and times where there wasn't much overt anti-Semitism, someone who wanted to marry a Gentile girl and settle down could presumably do so without too much trouble, but his descendants wouldn't be Jewish. Similarly, Jews who wanted to assimilate into the surrounding culture, get baptised in the local church, etc., disappear out of the list of Jewish descendants of the original population of Jews who went wandering through Europe.

I'm not sure how important that effect is, but it seems like it could have a big impact, both in terms of concentrating the relationships of the remaining people labeled Jewish, and in terms of potential selection effects for keeping the label.

The extreme example in the other direction is American blacks, who tend to be labeled as black with a single dark black grandparent or even great-grandparent. There, the label sticks, often even despite the attempts of the person to escape from it.

Claverhouse said...

NOTA said:

Similarly, Jews who wanted to assimilate into the surrounding culture, get baptised in the local church, etc., disappear out of the list of Jewish descendants of the original population of Jews who went wandering through Europe.


For various reasons Jews have been expelled from different european countries at different times *: ( quite like the Jesuits, who, though, neither converted nor left any descendants ). Many would have chosen to convert. Since over long hundreds of years their bloodlines would have gradually intermixed with the general populace, I'm very doubtful that anyone of european or middle eastern ancestry escapes having a slight jewish addition.

Even the barmier nazis...


( One of whom, the fiercely republican journo Goebbels, maintained in his diaries that the great Kaiser Wilhelm was jewish; when Willy was not very fond of some jews at all, despite refraining from murdering them en masse. )


* Random list, from a dodgy site, here:

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/expelled.htm

Dahinda said...

Your cousin took a desk job just when the whole organic/locavore craze hit?

dcite said...

"Most of the "science" against smoking is comprised of bad epidemiological studies:

http://www.stahlheart.com/wispofsmoke/goodforyou.html"

Some research strongly suggested that American cigarettes induce cancer because the tobacco is sugar cured. Cancer grows rapidly on sugar, something long known. Cigarette smoking was not associated with cancer in countries where tobacco was dry curred. Middle east for example. It was, however, associated with clogging the lungs and causing respirtory problems. Smoking may not bad for some people with strong systems who can filter out the toxins, but smoke is not confined just to the smoker. It makes the rounds and gets into to people who want nothing to do with it and might not be able to detoxify it.
I grew up in a house with a chain smoking mother. It plays havoc with the complexion--you can always tell a person who's smoked heavily for years. And the nicotine layer on the kitchen walls. Jeez.
Cancer inducing or not, I'm glad as blazes that by the time I grew up, despite all the other problems of the world today, I don't have to breathe everybody elese's cigarette smoke in small offices, or anywhere else. Been there done that.

Blanca said...

"Whites" around NY have many centenarians but are more diverse than Jews so a larger sample size is needed to get the same statistical power. Ashkenazic Jews are therefore a natural target for such a study. Black centenarians might be another. "

I've noticed this practice of putting quotes around the world "white" when referring to whites; meanwhile, "black" is just Black. What goes?
Can't we just be White? At least at isteve will they just leave us alone to be White?

Dutch Boy said...

The contention that Icelanders are descended from 5 Norsemen and 4 Irish women is absurd:
"Ingólfur was followed by many more Norse chieftains, their families and slaves who settled all the inhabitable areas of the island in the next decades."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Iceland

Anonymous said...

during the past decade Ian Deary and colleagues have shown that IQ is the one of the very strongest factors for predicting health and longevity.


They may have postulated that IQ predicts longevity, but they cannot have shown it. Because it does not do so. Look again at the list of places where people live longest.

Okinawa, Japan: Sardinia, Italy: Loma Linda, California: Nicoya, Costa Rica: and Ikaria, Greece.

They're not known for being intellectual hot-spots.

Q said...

I suspect that since Ashkenazi Jews tend to have much higher IQs, that they also probably tend to have much higher health and longevity.


Have a look at the life expectancy figures for Jews vs those for countries with a mostly white population.

Jewish male life expectancy in Israel is 78.5 years, compared to 79 in Switzerland, 78.7 in Sweden, and 77.8 in Norway. Jewish life expectancy is on the high end of the normal range among whites. But it certainly is not "much higher".

Anonymous said...

Q, you are a stupid little prick.
* Israel's Jewish population is majority Sephardic.
* The life expectancy stats include Jews and Arabs.
* If you look at the IQ stats you'll see that it's VERY unimpressive.
* Ashkenazim in the Diaspora are smarter than the ones who went to Israel.
* Ashkenazim in America DO have very high life expectancies. You may have heard that Hispanics have the highest life expectancy in the US, but's that because the higher Jewish life expectancy is averaged into the total white life expectancy. Some East Asian groups might be higher.
* Ashkenazi Jews ARE very inbred. Their gene pool, despite having several ethnic origins, is TINY. You don't understand the concept of a "genetic bottleneck".
In short, there is every reason in the world for Ashkenazi Jews to be the subject of a study like this. Go suck a lemon.

Q said...

Q, you are a stupid little prick


Spoken like a true rocket scientist, Anonymous.


Ashkenazim in the Diaspora are smarter than the ones who went to Israel


Perhaps, but that just undermines the whole "Ashkenazim are really smart and long-lived!" line of argument. Now we're talking about a subset of a subset of all Jews. I'm sure that for certain values of the word "Jews", Jews live longer than average. But the same is true for virtually all other groups of people. Somewhere out there is a subgroup of Poles or Estonians or Germans who live to be 100.


Ashkenazi Jews ARE very inbred.


No, they are not. If Ashkenazi Jews were as inbred as you think they are than Israeli Ashkenazi Jews would not have significantly lower IQ's than American Ashkenazi Jews. That difference signifies important genetic differences between those two populations of Ashkenazi. But maybe what you meant to say was "Ashkenazi Jews in America" or "Ashkenazi Jews in NYC" or Ashkenazi Jews in the Upper West Side" are very inbred. Do you see the problem with that proposition, Einstein? Are you smart enough to see it?


Go suck a lemon.


Go read a book other than the "Aren't Jews just wonderful!" books which you've been reading up to now and which tell you fairy tales that you find comforting.

Ivy League Bastard said...

>"We do know that for at least the last several hundred years (and likely much longer), Ashkenazi Jews were an extremely endogamous population."

Q > "We don't actually "know" that. It is the version of history which certain Jewish scientists would like Jews to believe though."

The PCA clustering results (one of the Duke studies) are not a "version of history". The experimental result was 100 percent, error-free, separation between American Jews and American non-Jews in a sample with hundreds of each, using only one principal component on data from a small number of loci. It is not possible to get such a strong separation if the Jewish gene pool is as genetically variable (and is intermixed with) the gene pool of the European gentiles in the USA.

Even if Jews are of the same genetic diversity as Swedes or Englishmen, it does not mean that it is as easy to find 100 old Swedes as 540 old Jews, in the NYC area. There aren't Swedish neighborhoods, Swedish community centers, Swedish temples, Swedish old-age homes, etc in the numbers that exist for Jews. In Stockholm, yes, but not in New York. This is important not only for the absolute sample size that can be attained, but the cost of getting the sample.

If you limit to people with four grandparents in a given country (Poland, Ukraine, etc), then Jews satisfying that criterion will be even more clustered genetically, and in the New York area, available in larger numbers than non-Jews, for the countries that had lots of Jews. It would be possible to perform a similar study with Italians, Irish or blacks but the population size, homogeneity and relatively concentrated access to large pools of elderly still favors Jews as an initial target for this type of study (if done in NYC), in addition to the other factors that Steve mentioned.

Ivy League Bastard said...

>"I suspect that since Ashkenazi Jews tend to have much higher IQs, that they also probably tend to have much higher health and longevity." <

I don't think Jews were ever associated with particularly high longevity or good preservation in old age. Ashkenazi Jewish women have high rates of breast cancer (the BRCA genes), the diet and lifestyle are not known for their healthiness, and Jews griping about their medical problems is a well established cultural trope.

For a study of the super-elderly one wants a population that is NOT long lived and is genetically homogeneous. If the population is too long lived the centenarians will not differ from their peers enough to easily pick up differences. If the population is relatively inbred or genetically clustered, the number of factors causing extreme lifespan will be more limited and shared by more of the centenarians, which leads to a clearer statistical signal. If you compare the 91-year old average Koreans in New Jersey with 100-year old Koreans there is less of an effect to be found. (It is hard to fix this by comparing old-timers only to people who die at a younger age, since you don't know who those will be while they are alive, and if you did, you might end up discovering the genes that cause early death instead of the ones that promote survival.)

For Jews, if shared cultural factors such as greater education, lower alcoholism, or supportive families increase lifespan on the average, this means that the long-lived Jews are probably even more exceptional (genetically) within their ethnic group than the life expectancy figures would suggest. That's especially true of "higher IQ" explanations which pertain to the average lifespan more than the capacity to reach super-old age.

Q said...

The PCA clustering results (one of the Duke studies) are not a "version of history".



They most certainly are. You can show almost anything you care to via genetic studies, depending on the genetic material you chose to focus attention on. You can (and some people have) argued that there is no such thing as race by focusing on the 99%+ of DNA shared by all people. This obliterates all differences by looking at what is in common.

At the other extreme you can create distinctions by focusing on genetic differences with no real-world manifestation - which is what is being discussed here.

The genes in European Jews which control physical appearance are Northern European genes, which is why European Jews are indistinguishable to the eye from Britons, Germans, Poles, etc. If their genetic material on the whole was middle Eastern/Southern European then they would look Middle Eastern/Southern European.

I'm Anglo-Irish and I live and work among a mostly Jewish population. I cannot distinguish them from non-Jews, and they cannot distinguish me from Jews. In fact Jews frequently assume I'm Jewish, purely on the basis of seeing me around other people whom they know to be Jews.


Nobody is performing the sort of exhaustive in-depth genetic research currently done on Jews on other groups. Given a sufficiently high degree of resolution the genetic differences between Germans and French, for instance, would come into focus. But highlighting the genetic distinctions between non-Jewish Europeans is not seen as desirable by Jewish researchers, while finding genetic distinctions between Jews and non-Jews is the Holy Grail.


It would be possible to perform a similar study with Italians, Irish or blacks ...


In fact I already suggested Irish and Italians as other groups in NYC which could have been used.



... the population size, homogeneity and relatively concentrated access to large pools of elderly still favors Jew


No, it does not. Stop saying things which are patently untrue. Jewish researchers conduct studies on Jews because that is where their personal interests lie. And that skews the entire genetics field in directions favoring still more studies of Jews - because studies tend to build on one another.

In a cartography analogy, the field of group genetics is a vast unexplored continent on which the same couple of square miles is repeatedly mapped down to finer and finer levels of detail while vast areas remain completely uncharted.

Q said...

Even if Jews are of the same genetic diversity as Swedes or Englishmen, it does not mean that it is as easy to find 100 old Swedes as 540 old Jews, in the NYC area.

Which is why I suggested Irish or Italians and not Swedes as a logical substitute for yet-another-study-of-Jews. Koreans (there are large numbers of them in northern NJ just across the George Washington bridge) form another potential subject group if you're willing to look at non-Europeans.

None of this is that hard, if you're willing to let go of the bias against doing genetic research on non-Jews. I'm not sure what the hang-up is - perhaps some people see studies which show that e.g. the Germans are genetically distinct as just morally wrong and smacking of Nazism.

Whatever the reason, the obsessive focus on Jewish genetics feeds into the fiction that Jews are genetically distinct and that the rest of the worlds people are undifferentiated mongrels. In the minds of at least some Jews, that's the conclusion which is supposed to be drawn.

Anonymous said...

"I'm very doubtful that anyone of european or middle eastern ancestry escapes having a slight jewish addition."

True. One of the factors driving Ashkenazi IQ which Harpending & Cochran didn't seem to take into account in their book was the impact of "culling the herd." It wasn't just differential birth and survival rates - smarter Jews having more kids than dumber Jews. It was dumber Jews altogether leaving the faith.

Q said...

"I'm very doubtful that anyone of european or middle eastern ancestry escapes having a slight jewish addition."


And by the same token, I'm very doubtful of any European Jews not having a sizable chunk of European DNA, and of any Middle-Eastern Jews not having a lot of Middle-Eastern DNA in their make-up.

European Jews intelligence is a lot closer to that of Europeans than it is to that of Middle-Eastern Jews. I know some people here think that this is some strange case of parallel development, but you're engaging in denial.

thomas t samaras said...

Holzenberger conducted a study of 1.3 million men tracked over a 70 year period. He and his associates found that shorter men lived longer.

Another study found that the states of Andorra, Macau, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong have the highest life expectancy and are shorter than Northern Europeans.

Sardinians and Okinawans are the longest lived people in the world. They are both short.

Of course, small dogs, rats, nice, horses, and elephants (Indian vs African) live longer than larger members of their species.

Studies show that short 90 year olds have longer telomeres than taller ones. Long telomeres are related to better health and greater longevity.

In the US the lowest all-cause mortality is among Asians, who are shorter than other ethnic groups. The Latinos and Native Americans are taller and have a higher mortality. The Whites and Blacks are tallest and have the highest all-cause mortality from birth to over 85 years of age.

For more information on the ramifications of body size on health and the environment, see: www.humanbodysize.com

thomas t samaras said...

I have studied longevity for over 3 decades and have found that shorter height is an advantage if you want to live a long time. Chan, Suzuki and Yamamoto studied the Okinawans and concluded that it is better to be short and lean if you want to reach 100 years of age. Okinawan centenarians averaged 4'10" in one study.

An Italian report based on 2500 centenarians also stated that being short and lean was an advantage in achieving 100 years of age.

A recent study by Salaris and Poulain found that the shortest people in Sardinia had the longest longevity. They reported that as a municipality got shorter, people lived longer.

Holzenberger studied the survival of 1.3 million men tracked over a 70 year period and found that shorter men lived longer.

Professor Dennis Miller studied deceased people in Ohio and found the shorter people lived longer.

I have studied veterans, various athletes, and famous people. The shorter one's in each of these groups lived longer.

Women are shorter than men and live longer. Miller found that men and women of the same height had about the same longevity.

Studies with dogs, mice, rats and monkeys support the above findings.

Of course, height is only one factor that determines how long one will live. Genetics, economic status, childhood experiences, diet, and medical care play important roles. Therefore, your height does not guarantee that you will live a long or short time by itself.

If you are interested in the various ramifications of increasing body size, see www.humanbodysize.com

thomas t samaras said...

A new study of Sardinian men finds height is a factor in longevity. (Sardinia is one of six Blue Zones)


This new study supports over 12 previous studies that have found that shorter height promotes greater longevity. Sardinia is known as a blue zone, which means it has a remarkably high percentage of long-lived people.

Sardinians are shorter than people in the rest of Europe and tend to live longer. Within Sardinia, there is a group of 14 municipalities that exhibit higher longevity compared to the rest of the island. In addition, as height declines among these municipalities, longevity increases with the shortest municipaliity, Villagrande Strisaili, having the greatest longevity. Professor Poulain, University of Louvain (Belgium) and Dr. Salaris, University of Cagliari (Italy), led a study to determine whether there was a relationship between height and longevity among almost 500 males born between 1866 and 1915. Salaris and Poulain found that shorter men lived about 2 years longer than taller men. The results of the study were published in the journal, Biodemography and Social Biology (4/26/12): Doi:10.1080/19485565.2012.666118

This Sardinian study is consistent with a study conducted in Spain by Dr. Holzenberger. This study tracked 1.3 million men through a 70-year period and found that longevity increased with reduced height. Similar results were found in an Ohio study by Professor Dennis Miller based on about 1700 men and women. Samaras, a longevity researcher, found similar results based on baseball players, California veterans, football players, basketball players and famous people. Professor Krakauer also found that shorter elderly Swedish men and women live longer. A recent review by Professor Bartke appeared in Gerontology which supports these findings as well: DOI: 10.1159/000335166

The researchers of this study noted that women are shorter than men and live longer in virtually all populations. However, Professor Miller found that when he compared men and women of the same height, their longevity was about the same. Contrary to what was expected, Poulain and Salaris found that men live as long as women in Villagrande.

A number of scientists have observed that within a species, the smaller individual tends to live longer than the bigger one. This is illustrated by smaller dogs who live longer than medium and large size dogs. Smaller mice, rats, ponies and monkeys generally live longer as well. The Asian elephant also lives longer than the larger African elephant.

The study also provides a number of biological mechanisms that explain why smaller bodies tend to live longer. These include lower DNA damage, greater cell replacement potential, higher heart pumping efficiency, decreased C-reactive protein and higher sex hormone binding globulin.

Salaris and Poulain reported that height is only one factor in how long anyone will live. It probably constitutes less than 10% of anyone’s longevity profile. Regardless of height, anyone can extend his or her longevity by healthful nutrition, low body weight, exercise, good medical care, a positive and happy spirit, and good social relations. Therefore, tall people have the potenial to reach 100 years under the right conditions.

During the last 20 years, Reventropy Associates has been involved in evaluating the ramifications of body size and height on longevity and other factors in human society. The contributors to the Sardinia study have published over 40 peer reviewed papers and books on human body size and its relation to longevity, resource consumption, and long-term human survival.

Contact: Thomas T. Samaras, Director, Reventropy Associates. email: Samarastt@aol.com, tel: 858 576 9283, 11487 Madera Rosa Way, San Diego, Ca. 92124; website: http://www.humanbodysize.com