Age 141?

Max More (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 12:28:49 -0800

This claim sounds implausible to me. If true, this fellow beats the
previous record by a massive 19 years. Does anyone know any more about
the credentials of this case?



<excerpt>Human life after 100=20

Copyright =A9 1998

Copyright =A9 1998 Scripps Howard=20

(March 13, 1998 02:12 a.m. EST -- Bir Chaudhari,
reputedly the world's oldest man, likes to take it easy these days. At
141, he's entitled to rest his 4-foot frame as he reminisces about the
Queen -- Victoria, of course -- and talks about how he hopes to be 150

But how did Chaudhari make it to such an age, and how do he and the
growing army of other post-centenarians manage to avoid the degenerative
and killer diseases?

Chaudhari, who has left his Nepalese village only twice, is at the
extreme edge of an evolutionary trend. Centenarians were once a rarity,
but now almost every nursing home has one and, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau, about 59,000 Americans were 100 or older as of April

The lifespan of man has always been increasing, but the biggest changes
have occurred in the last century, with improvements in both social
conditions and medicine.

"Expectation of life at birth has roughly doubled since the mid 19th
century, from around 40 years to nearly 80 years. In the U.K., the
fraction of the population aged over 65 has increased from one in 20 at
the start of the century to one in six now," says Dr. Tom Kirkwood,
professor of biological gerontology at Manchester University.

As our lifespan has increased, the causes of death have changed. People
used to die from acute illnesses, childbirth or industrial accidents, but
today we die of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and
degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's.

People like Chaudhari offer a beacon of hope for a longer lifespan. But
there is no secret to longevity, although the genes we inherit can be
helped with a better lifestyle, as research with twins who went separate
ways at birth has shown. It's unlikely that one gene is responsible for
aging. It's more likely that many genes are programmed to close down at
certain times as part of a kind of built-in obsolescence.

There is, however, no doubt that some kind of genetic input is involved
and that longevity in some families is the norm. But, given that genes
cannot yet be changed for longer-lasting ones, other life-extenders have
to be explored, including lifestyle, diet and personality. People who are
independent, stubborn and opinionated tend to live longer, according to
one study. Social skills are also important -- people who have good
networking skills are likely to be more content and live longer while
stress and anxiety can reduce life expectancy.

Lifestyle and diet are important, too. One Harvard study found the secret
of longevity among a rural Greek population was in their diet --
principally vegetables, fruit, cereals and olive oil. People who kept to
the Mediterranean diet had a 32 percent increase in long-term survival.

And elderly people who exercise regularly develop disability at a quarter
of the rate of those who don't.

As the millennium approaches, all the indications are that the average
lifespan will continue to rise.

Ian Pearson, a futurologist at British Telephone, says that "young people
now will have a longer life span. Eventually it could go to 140."

But, increasingly, extended lifespans will become divided into two parts:
active and dependent. Only one in 12 octogenarians are now considered to
be fully self-sufficient, a rate that drops even lower to 0.5 percent in

In a report on the future trends of aging, Arthur Caplan, director of the
Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, says that
extending lifespan will throw up ethical problems: "As medicine becomes
better at rescuing imperiled lives and extending mortally threatened
ones, the strain on resources will increase. Plain old human misery will
also rise, as more and more of us make it to past our seventies only to
meet arthritis, strokes, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's."

One thing seems clear. If our lifespans are to increase, so too must the
quality of that extra life, or it may simply not be worth having.

By ROGER DOBSON, The Guardian