A new study by UIC longevity researcher S. Jay Olshansky concludes that 2020 presidential candidates, Biden, Trump, are likely "super-agers". Photo credit: UIC
In an article published in the Journal on Active Aging, University of Illinois Chicago longevity researcher S. Jay Olshansky and colleagues conclude that both 2020 presidential candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, and President Donald Trump, 74 ) – likely to persist beyond the end of the President's next term.
As a result, they say chronological age and fitness shouldn't be factors in the 2020 election.
"We have concluded that chronological age is not a relevant factor for either of the two candidates running for President of the United States," the authors write. "Both candidates have a below average risk of having significant health or cognitive dysfunction over the next four years."
To assess the likelihood that each candidate will survive a four-year term, the researchers scientifically assessed the candidate's health based on publicly available medical records and confirmed publicly available personal information. Each candidate's medical records were independently evaluated by three physicians with experience in aging and a team of scientists with expertise in epidemiology, public health, survival analysis and statistics.
This is the first time that the medical records and personal characteristics of presidential candidates have been scientifically evaluated by doctors and scientists in the field of aging.
The main results of the study:
- Biden and Trump are likely "super-agers," a subset of people who maintain their mental and physical functions and tend to live longer than the average person their age.
- Both candidates have an above-average probability of surviving a term of four years when compared to other men their age. For Biden, the probability of survival for the next four years is 95.2% (versus 82.2%). For Trump this is 90.3% (compared to 86.2%).
- Biden Trump is expected to survive despite being three years older. In their work, the researchers found Biden's "almost perfect health profile for a man his age" compared to Trump's "significant but changeable" negative risk factors.
- While Trump has an increased familial risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease, none of the candidates are expected to have major cognitive function problems now or in the next four years.
Olshansky, the study's author, says the results are evidence that age doesn't matter in these historic elections, where the next president-elected will be the oldest in American history.
"We keep looking at chronological age as a topic of discussion during the elections, even though scientific and medical evidence shows that biological age is far more important," said Olshansky, professor of epidemiology and biostatics at the UIC School of Public Health.
Biological age reflects how quickly a body gets old – this happens at different rates, said Olshansky. "Biological age is influenced by genetic factors and behavioral risk factors. Some people can be biologically old by the age of 50, while others can be biologically young by the age of 80."
In previous research, Olshansky made the first scientific assessment of the president's longevity. He tried to understand whether presidency causes a person to age faster and die earlier than expected. In this study, Olshansky concluded that most US presidents actually live above average life expectancy.
The new study is the first to evaluate people before they are elected.
"Despite the science, the candidates themselves and their campaigns are still trying to arm old age," said Olshansky. "This is certainly the case for both campaigns in 2020. Comments from Biden suggest that Trump is 'mentally disturbed' and Trump's references to Biden as 'Sleepy Joe' suggest it point out that their opponents are too old, unfit, or otherwise unable to do the job based on their age. It's alterism, plain and simple. "
Tolerance of ageism, says Olshansky, harms everyone.
"We live in an aging society, and it is important that we value, respect and continue to have a place in our culture for people of all ages. No one should be excluded from a position because of their age, including the presidency." Said Olshansky.
Olshansky believes the public would be better off if age were diffused as a voting factor rather than a weapon, and he has seen other candidates refuse to contribute to an age-related narrative.
"Ronald Regan did this in the '80s and Pete Buttigieg did it last year. Age shouldn't be an issue in 2020," said Olshansky.
In 1984, when asked about his advanced age, the then 73-year-old Ronald Regan said: "I want you to know that I will not make age the subject of this campaign either. I will not use my opponent for political purposes . " Youth and inexperience. "
Similarly, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who ran in the 2019 Democratic presidential primary and was 37 at the time, deflected the question.
"Mayor Buttigieg said it was the age of the ideas that counts, not the candidate – and I think that was correct," said Olshansky. "We can acknowledge age in an election, but each age should be appreciated for the different perspectives and experiences it brings."
When examining presidential candidates, age is just a number
University of Illinois at Chicago
New Study Shows Biden and Trump Are Likely Both "Super Agers" (2020, Sep 25)
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