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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 5, 2004

COMPARATIVE LONGEVITY.

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2146. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2146-a

The London Lancet calls attention to the fact of the large number of deaths occurring in well-to-do persons about the beginning of the seventh decade from diseases which are evidences of degeneration and premature senility, while other individuals pass on to the eighth and ninth decades in apparent health. It suggests that those who die thus early after the sixtieth year have indulged their appetites and lived unreasonably from a hygienic point of view. Considering that sixty years is a little beyond the average human life and the numerous complications of heredity and incidental diseases, it seems that the position taken is a little too positive. People in prosperous circumstances that die at sixty have undoubtedly lived unhygienically in some respects, since no one lives according to the highest sanitary rules; their delinquencies may have been not the mere indulgences of their appetites, but the conditions through which, from the necessities of the case, they passed in order to attain their prosperous circumstances.

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