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How to classify the oldest old according to their health status: A study on 1160 subjects belonging to 552 90+ Italian sib-ships characterized by familial longevity recruited within the GEHA EU Project

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Thomas Kirkwood


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The health status of the oldest old, the fastest increasing population segment worldwide, progressively becomes more heterogeneous, and this peculiarity represents a major obstacle to their classification. We compared the effectiveness of four previously proposed criteria (Franceschi et al., 2000; Evert et al., 2003; Gondo et al., 2006; Andersen-Ranberg et al., 2001) in 1160 phenotypically fully characterized Italian siblings of 90 years of age and older (90+, mean age: 93 years; age range: 90-106 years) belonging to 552 sib-ships, recruited in Northern, Central and Southern Italy within the EU-funded project GEHA, followed for a six-year-survival. Main findings were: (i) "healthy" subjects varied within a large range, i.e. 5.2% (Gondo), 8.7% (Evert), 17.7% (Franceschi), and 28.5% (Andersen-Ranberg); (ii) Central Italy subjects showed better health than those from Northern and Southern Italy; (iii) mortality risk was correlated with health status independently of geographical areas; and (iv) 90+ males, although fewer in number, were healthier than females, but with no survival advantage. In conclusion, we identified a modified version of Andersen-Ranberg criteria, based on the concomitant assessment of two basic domains (cognitive, SMMSE; physical, ADL), called "Simple Model of Functional Status" (SMFS), as the most effective proxy to distinguish healthy from not-healthy subjects. This model showed that health status was correlated within sib-ships, suggesting a familial/genetic component. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cevenini E, Cotichini R, Stazi MA, Toccaceli V, Scurti M, Mari V, Berardelli M, Passarino G, Jeune B, Franceschi C, Bezrukov V, Blanche H, Bolund L, Christensen K, Deiana L, Gonos E, Hervonen A, Kirkwood TBL, Kristensen P, Leon A, Pelicci PG, Perola M, Poulain M, Rea IM, Remacle J, Robine JM, Schreiber S, Sikora E, Slagboom PE, Spazzafumo L, Toussaint O, Vaupel JW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Mechanisms of Ageing and Development

Year: 2013

Volume: 134

Issue: 11-12

Pages: 560-569

Print publication date: 01/11/2013

Online publication date: 20/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0047-6374

ISSN (electronic): 1872-6216

Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.mad.2013.11.001

PubMed id: 24269880


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