University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

Title

Are Members of Long-Lived Families Healthier Than Their Equally Long-Lived Peers? Evidence From the Long Life Family Study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date

8-1-2015

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Clinical Epidemiology | Epidemiology | Geriatrics

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Long Life Family Study (LLFS) is a multicenter longitudinal study of exceptional survival among members of long-lived sibships (probands), their offspring, and spouses of either group. For these four "roles", we asked: Does membership in a long-lived family protect against disease?

METHODS: We used 2008-2010 Beneficiary Annual Summary Files from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to compare prevalences of 17 conditions among 781 LLFS participants in Medicare with those of 3,227 non-LLFS matches from the general Medicare population. Analyses accounted for nesting within LLFS families.

RESULTS: Seven conditions were significantly less common among LLFS probands than their matches: Alzheimer's, hip fracture, diabetes, depression, prostate cancer, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Four diseases not strongly linked to mortality (arthritis, cataract, osteoporosis, glaucoma) were significantly more common for LLFS probands. Despite fewer people and less disease in those roles, LLFS offspring and LLFS spouses of either generation also had significantly lower risk for Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Common, severe mortality-associated diseases are less prevalent among LLFS probands and their offspring than in the general population of aging Americans. Quality-of-life-limiting diseases such as arthritis and cataract are more prevalent, potentially through more diagnosing of milder forms in otherwise healthy and active individuals. LLFS spouses are also relatively healthy. As the younger cohorts age into Medicare and develop more conditions, it will be important to see whether these tentative findings strengthen.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 Aug;70(8):971-6. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glv015. Epub 2015 Mar 5. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Keywords

Genetics, Health Services, Longevity, Morbidity, Resilience

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences

PubMed ID

25745037