, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 273-283
Date: 05 Jan 2012

Gerontology crisis: Question on primary health in the 20th century

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Abstracts

In the last few decades, the phenomenon of population aging due to reduction in the birth rate and continuous growth of life expectancy was observed; moreover, life expectancy increased almost linearly. In our opinion, this growth will stop in future, and there will be a considerable decrease in life expectancy. Roughly, it will occur after 2010 when persons born after 1950 will start to age. We believe that this is due to the catastrophic deterioration of primary health in persons born in the second half of the 20th century, due to the action of the “stop-evolution” factors and inhabitancy crisis. Primary health as defined in this context means the combination of a congenital predisposition to diseases (pathogenicity) and the congenital possibility of autorecovery (sanogenicity). The quality of primary health depends on the features of the person’s genome and traits of the person’s antenatal period of life, including delivery. We consider factors of stop-evolution, including breaking natural selection as a result of a sharp decrease in the number of births and in the fertility of the population and, as a consequence, the deteriorating quality of congenital sanogenicity to be primarily social factors. Among factors emerging due to the inhabitancy crisis and the resulting increase in congenital pathogenicity, we consider anthropogenic factors (advances of medicine, changes in nutrition, and technologically related factors). Analysis of our own data on diabetic patients born during different periods of the 20th century (before 1908, in 1909–1923, 1924–1938, and 1939–1953) has demonstrated a substantial reduction in the number of long-livers in the family (30.7; 35.0; 25.4; and 27.8, respectively), and, on the other hand, the sharp rise in the frequency of cases of family diabetes over the century (20.0; 5.9; 36.8; and 64.7, respectively). The action of some factors we describe was shown in the first half of the 20th century. To overcome the given gerontology crisis, there is a need for the interdisciplinary approach, including joint research, with the subsequent development of recommendations, with the participation of not only gerontologists/geriatrists but also pediatricians, andrologists/gynecologists, endocrinologists, geneticists, ecologists, and social scientists.

Original Russian Text © V.I. Odin, 2011, published in Uspekhi Gerontologii, 2011, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 11–23.