Determinants of longevity: genetic, environmental and medical factors.


Journal Article (Review)

This review focuses on the determinants of longevity in the industrialized world, with emphasis on results from recently established data bases. Strong evidence is now available that demonstrates that in developed countries the maximum lifespan as well as the mean lifespan have increased substantially over the past century. There is no evidence of a genetically determined lifespan of around 85 years. On the contrary, the biggest absolute improvement in survival in recent decades has occurred amongst 80+ year-olds. Approximately one-quarter of the variation in lifespan in developed countries can be attributed to genetic factors. The influence of both genetic and environmental factors on longevity can potentially be modified by medical treatment, behavioural changes and environmental improvements.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Christensen, K; Vaupel, JW

Published Date

  • December 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 240 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 333 - 341

PubMed ID

  • 9010380

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9010380

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2796

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0954-6820

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1996.d01-2853.x


  • eng