Friday, March 29, 2019

Yet another longevity predictor?

The NYTimes and WaPo must have a substantial number of readers in my 75-80 year old demographic, an age interval during which physical capabilities are rapidly diminishing. Strout offers yet another article pointing to research on physical tests that measure life expectancy:
The test requires you to lower yourself to the floor, crisscross style, without bracing yourself with your hands, knees, arms, or sides of your legs. If you can stand back up, again without the aid of those body parts, you’ve scored a perfect 10 (five points for sitting, five points for standing). You lose a point every time you support yourself with a forbidden joint or appendage...The researchers tested 2,002 adults 51 to 80 years old, and then followed them until a participant died or until the study concluded, which was a median of 6.3 years. In that time, 159 people died — only two of whom had scored a perfect 10. Those who had the lowest score of zero to three points had a risk of death that was five to six times higher than those who scored eight to 10 points.
...more variables apply to our health (and our longevity) than those this particular test focuses on. It’s important to remember that the study results are most relevant to those the same age as the subjects in the testing group, who were ages 51 and up — a point often lost in discussion. Most of the people who scored the lowest on the test were in the 76-to-80 age range, a group that generally experiences decreased mobility and coordination. The research also didn’t reveal the causes of the 159 deaths during the follow-up period. Should we assume they all died of complications from falling, instead of cardiovascular disease or cancer? We don’t know.
The article points to other work showing correlations between physical performance and health. Men who can complete 40 push-ups over a ten year period have a 96% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. People over 65 who walk one meter per second or faster live longer than those who can't.

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