Friday, August 25, 2006


Longevity in France

Jeanne Calment died at age 122 in 1997; she was the French woman who lived the longest to date, as far as we know.

On August 12, 2006, Camille Loiseau, "oldest living French person since March 2005", died at the age of 114 years and six months.

In 1950, France had only about 200 people aged 100 or more; today there are over 20,000! A hundred-fold increase in less than a lifetime! And a dozen people over age 110 (all women? the article does not say).

It seems that, in rich countries such as ours, those who survive infancy hit their peak of robustness (vitality?) at age seven, then start to "age". Apparently, mortality rate increases regularly from age 7 to 95. The rate of ageing, by which "increasing rate of mortality" is meant, slows from age 95 to 107, at which point rate of mortality reaches a plateau. [source: Jean-Marie Robine, director of research at the Inserm, in Le Figaro]

Marie-Simone Capony, age 112 years, is the new "oldest living French person", designated by the Inserm on Tuesday, August 22. Will she outlive Jeanne Calment? Not before 2016.

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