Month of Birth and Exceptional Longevity: A Within-Family Analysis
Natalia S. Gavrilova, University of Chicago
Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago
This study explores the effects of month of birth (a proxy for early-life environmental influences) on the chances of survival to age 100. Months of birth for 1,574 validated centenarians born in the United States in 1880-1895 were compared to the same information obtained for centenarians’ 10,885 shorter-lived siblings and 1,083 spouses. Comparison was conducted using a within-family analysis by the method of conditional logistic regression, which allows researchers to control for unobserved shared childhood or adulthood environment and common genetic background. It was found that month of birth has a significant long-lasting effect on survival to age 100: siblings born in September-November have higher odds to become centenarians compared to siblings born in March. A similar month-of-birth pattern was found for centenarian spouses. These results support the idea of early-life programming of human aging and longevity. Supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, grant R01 AG028620.
Presented in Session 116: Experimental Studies of Human Mortality