Familial Longevity and Multi-Morbidities among the Elderly: A Study Using Multi-generational Pedigrees Linked to Medicare Diagnoses Files

Ken R. Smith, University of Utah
Heidi Hanson, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Geraldine P. Mineau, University of Utah
Richard Kerber, Huntsman Cancer Institute

The purpose of this study is to test the association between the familial patterns of excess longevity (FEL) and resistance to age-related chronic diseases among those over age 65. We use individual-level data on 121,964 members from the Utah Population Database to examine whether 17 serious age-related medical conditions, as determined from Medicare claims data (1992-2002), are less prevalent among members of long-lived pedigrees in relation to others in the population without a family history of longevity. Using logistic regressions that control for gender, areal socioeconomic status , age and years in the cohort, we estimated the odds ratios of being in the top 25% (upper quartile of familial longevity) and middle 50% (middle two quartiles of familial longevity) of the FEL distribution in relation to being the bottom 25%. We find that FEL is protective for nearly all major forms of morbidity. Results have implications for understanding longevity-morbidity linkages.

  See paper

Presented in Session 117: Health over the Life Course and across Generations