Archive for the ‘ageing’ Category

A fresh look at longevity as a supercentenarian dies

November 28, 2008

Edna Parker, the 115 year and 220 day old American woman, the world’s oldest person died, says the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, California. The Indiana woman who lived in a nursing home followed the passing on August 13, 2007 of the Japanese Yone Minagawa, the Guinness World Book of Records title holder for the oldest person before Parker.

Both persons qualify as “supercentenarians” for having lived beyond 110 years old. It is believed that currently there are 89 supercentenarians worldwide among whom 79 are women and 10 are men.

An amazing Frenchwoman who lived for 122 years

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father’s shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116.”—Source: ww.wowzone.com

Increasing longevity of people has been a source of fascination of modern society. It is mainly attributed to better healthcare, control of illnesses by science, improved diet and life-style. With a normal maximum life-span of about 120 years, people are enthused by the prospect of extending years of survival or achieving immortality.

Researchers are finding ways of extending longevity, but others are questioning whether a longer life is better than having a shorter one that is meaningful and relatively free of protracted suffering. Ethicists mull on the morality of prolonging survival using means that are controversial. For instance, they struggle on the moral questions on using helpless human embryos in an effort to cure diseases and extend life. (Photo Credits: Ollik; AP/Darron Cummings; http://www.wowzone.com; [][][][])=0=

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The ageing population & the challenges ahead

September 13, 2008

After rising four-fold in 2006, the number of 100-year olds in Japan rose again from 28,395 to 36,276 (21.8%) at the end of September 2008. This increasing trend of centenarians, 86% of which are women, is a worldwide reflection of longer life expectancy attributable to improvements in health care, diet, exercise, and lifestyle. To date, the world’s known oldest person is Edna Parker, 115 years old who lives inn a nursing home in Indiana, USA.

274,000 American Centenarians by Year 2025

The number of centenarians — people who are 100 years or older — in the United States has grown 60% since 1990, to about 61,000 people, and will continue to increase in coming decades, according to the Census Bureau. In another 10 years, the number will more than double to over 130,000 people, and it’s expected to double yet again to 274,000 in 2025.”—Healthy Aging Center (WebMD)

WHO STATISTICS

Number of Doctors per Capita by Countries

Countries/ Doctor Nos./ (Doctor numbers per 1000 )
Europe (Advanced countries)
Belgium 46,268 (4.49)
Denmark 15,653 (2.93)
Finland 16,446 (3.16)
France 203,487 (3.37)
Germany 277,885 (3.37)
Ireland 11,141 (2.79)
Italy 241,000 (4.2)
Netherlands 50,854 (3.15)
Norway 14,200 (3.13)
Sweden 29,122 (3.28)
UK 133,641 (2.3)

North America
USA 730,801 (2.56)
Canada 66,583 (2.14)

Oceania-Asia PacificAustralia 47,875 (2.47)
NZ 9,027 (2.37)
Japan 251,889 (1.98)
S Korea 75,045 (1.57)
Malaysia 16,146 (0.7)
Philippines 44,287 (0.58)
NB: the doctor figures from different countries may be from different years- as reported to WHO. (Source: nofearSingapore.blogspot.com/02/20/07)

The decrease of birthrates in many industrialized countries and rising longevity, worry economic planners who foresee greater strain in health care and the social security system (SSS.) Demographers observe that more people marry late, want few or no children, and more are likely to devote greater time for their careers, finances, and preferred lifestyles. With expanding elderly population, more people will need doctor services and greater health care in the future.

The above is also true in the United States with the graying of the baby boomers and the rise of retirees. With a per capita expenditure of $5,711 (followed by France with $3,048,) there are about 46 million Americans without medical insurance coverage. Of these, about 11 million are illegal aliens, 15 million are eligible for state-sponsored Medicaid, but don’t apply, 15 million adults with children eligible for free insurance and 10 million childless adults. The number of medically uninsured Americans is about half the total population of the Philippines, a country also trying to fix its healthcare system.(Photo Credit: Koroko1; highschoolphotojournalist/bythekevichang)=0=

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