As an old noncentenarian, I was getting along very well with “Making sense of centenarians” until I reached Thomas Perls’ remark: “My hope
is that we will actually see the development [from genetic research] of
medications . . . .” I will bet your great-grandmother survived very well with the least medication possible. It seems to me that we are in a medicated world. Has any researcher noted the type, amount, and frequency of medication in the oldsters? It should be recorded along with weight and height.
Portland, Ore. In fact, as Perls found and we reported, elderly children of centenarians are less likely to be taking multiple medications than are people of similar age whose parents died in their 70s. Likewise, the children of centenarians are less likely to be taking any medications at all. Presumably this reflects the overall better health of people in long-lived families. While it’s certainly possible to debate the wisdom of over-reliance on medications to ensure health, modern medicine has made great contributions to helping people lead longer, healthier lives.–D. Christensen