Nonagenarian Siblings and Their Offspring Display Lower Risk of Mortality and Morbidity than Sporadic Nonagenarians: The Leiden Longevity Study

Authors

  • Rudi G.J. Westendorp MD, PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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    • §R.G.J.W and P.E.S are members of the Netherlands Consortium on Healthy Aging.

  • Diana Van Heemst PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Maarten P. Rozing MD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Marijke Frölich PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Simon P. Mooijaart MD, PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Gerard-Jan Blauw MD, PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Marian Beekman PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Bastiaan T. Heijmans PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Anton J.M. De Craen PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • P. Eline Slagboom PhD,

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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    • §R.G.J.W and P.E.S are members of the Netherlands Consortium on Healthy Aging.

  • for the Leiden Longevity Study Group

    1. From the Departments of *Gerontology and Geriatrics, Clinical Chemistry, and Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
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Address correspondence to Rudi G.J. Westendorp, Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, the Netherlands. E-mail: r.g.j.westendorp@lumc.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To compare the risk of mortality of nonagenarian siblings with that of sporadic nonagenarians (not selected on having a nonagenarian sibling) and to compare the prevalence of morbidity in their offspring with that of the offsprings' partners.

DESIGN: Longitudinal (mortality risk) and cross-sectional (disease prevalence).

SETTING: Nationwide sample.

PARTICIPANTS: The Leiden Longevity Study consists of 991 nonagenarian siblings derived from 420 Caucasian families, 1,365 of their offspring, and 621 of the offsprings' partners. In the Leiden 85-plus Study, 599 subjects aged 85 were included, of whom 275 attained the age of 90 (sporadic nonagenarians).

MEASUREMENTS: All nonagenarian siblings and sporadic nonagenarians were followed for mortality (with a mean±standard deviation follow-up time of 2.7±1.4 years and 3.0±1.5 years, respectively). Information on medical history and medication use was collected for offspring and their partners.

RESULTS: Nonagenarian siblings had a 41% lower risk of mortality (P<.001) than sporadic nonagenarians. The offspring of nonagenarian siblings had a lower prevalence of myocardial infarction (2.4% vs 4.1%, P=.03), hypertension (23.0% vs 27.5%, P=.01), diabetes mellitus (4.4% vs 7.6%, P=.004), and use of cardiovascular medication (23.0% vs 28.9%, P=.003) than their partners.

CONCLUSION: The lower mortality rate of nonagenarian siblings and lower prevalence of morbidity in their middle-aged offspring reinforce the notion that resilience against disease and death have similar underlying biology that is determined by genetic or familial factors.

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