Identification of a geographic area characterized by extreme longevity in the Sardinia island: the AKEA studyReportar como inadecuado

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* Corresponding author 1 GC - Géographie-cités 2 ESDO-SPED - Département des sciences de la population et du développement

Abstract : High prevalence and low female-male ratio for validated centenarians are observed in Sardinia and these findings appear to be thus farunique to this island. Moreover a specific region on the island is characterized by exceptional male longevity. We calculated the extremelongevity index ELI, defined as the percentage of persons born in Sardinia between 1880 and 1900, who became centenarians. A gaussiansmoothing method was used in order to identify the so-called ‘Blue Zone-, where longevity is concentrated in the central-eastern part of theisland and covers all the mountainous areas of central Sardinia. The estimated life expectancy in the ‘Blue Zone- is longer than in theremaining territory of the island especially for men and the male to female ratio among centenarians born in this area is 1.35 compared to 2.43in the rest of Sardinia. The specific mechanism by which persons living in this territory were more likely to reach extreme longevity remainsunknown but it is interesting to note that most of the ‘longevity hot spots- identified in various regions of the world over the years have beenlocated in mountainous geographical areas even if none of these longevity regions have been fully validated. An alternative and interestinghypothesis is that the high rate of inbreeding determined by frequent marriages between consanguineous individuals and low immigrationrates have progressively decreased the variability of the genetic pool and facilitated the emergence of genetic characteristics that protectindividuals from diseases that are major causes of mortality particularly in older individuals. Given the exceptionally high prevalence of malecentenarians in the ‘Blue Zone-, it is reasonable to assume that either the environmental characteristics or the genetic factors, or both, exerttheir favorable effect more strongly in men than in women. Thus, the mechanism involved may be modulated by the hormonal milieu, or maybe associated with genes located in the sex chromosomes.

Keywords : longevity sardinia centenarian spatial analysis hot spot migration

Autor: Claude Grasland - Michel Poulain -



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