Infection, inflammation, height, and longevity
Crimmins, Eileen M.
Finch, Caleb E.
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Using historical data from cohorts born before the 20th century in four northern European countries, we show that increasing longevity and declining mortality in the elderly occurred among the same birth cohorts that experienced a reduction in mortality at younger ages. Concurrently, these cohorts also experienced increasing adult height. We hypothesize that both the decline in old-age mortality and the increase in height were promoted by the reduced burden of infections and inflammation. Thus, early growth and cardiovascular diseases of old age may share infectious and inflammatory causes rooted in the external environment.