Determinants of longevity: genetic, environmental and medical factors.


Christensen K, Vaupel JW.




J Intern Med


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.