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Is 72 is the new 30? Advances in medicine keep us younger longer

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists are now saying that 72 years of age is the new 30. With advances made in medicine, health and nutrition, life spans have increased throughout the globe. The bad news is that unless you invest in a plastic surgeon, you're not going to wrinkle-free for the rest of your life.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists say that a primitive hunter gatherer, i.e. the prehistoric caveman at 30 would have had the same odds of dying as a 72-year-old in a developed country does now. Over the course of 8,000 generations of humans, the biggest drop in mortality has occurred in the past four.

The life expectancy of a newborn baby in 1840, in a Western industrialized nation has risen by around three months each year.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, says that modern healthcare and medicines are responsible for increased life expectancies.

To back this up, researchers studied the death rates of hunter-gatherers whose way of life has not changed for generations. Examining tribal people in Australia, Africa, South America and the Philippines, researchers found that at 30-years-old, these people had the same chance of dying as Japanese people aged 72.

"Hunter-gatherers at age 30 have the same probability of death as present-day Japanese at the age of 72," the authors, led by Dr Oskar Burger, wrote.

Hunter-gatherer death rates were in fact closer to those of chimpanzees than to citizens of Japan or Sweden, the research showed.

Life spans since 1840 in the longest-lived populations have increased by about three months per year, said the researchers. Most of the death-rate reduction had occurred since 1900 and been experienced by only about four of the roughly 8,000 human generations that have ever lived.

Up to the age of around 15, hunter-gatherers had death rates more than 100 times higher than those seen in modern-day Japan and Sweden. Across the whole of their life spans they had a more than 10-fold greater likelihood of dying.

Just for fun, a list of 72-year-olds who look good for their age and are still quite active today include Chuck Norris, Penelope Keith, Raquel Welch, Al Pacino, Martin sheen and Neil Diamond.

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