Associations of pet ownership with biomarkers of ageing: population based cohort studyBMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5558 (Published 13 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5558
All rapid responses
We read with childish curiosity but scientific interest the paper of Batty et al. that you recently published as a Christmas gift to you readers.1 We wish to remind the reader of the British Medical Journal that, the original Saint Nicholas in the christian tradition is assumed to be born in 270 AD. The fat Santa Claus that delivers the gift today is then 1747 years old and is still able to prepare gifts with his elfes and deliver them with the help of his reindeers.2
As a consequence of these observations:
First, we wonder whether classification should have been different and rather based on indoor vs. outdoor pets. Both indoor and outdoor physical activities are beneficial for elderly patients3 but physical activity outdoor for pet care is expected to induce more prolonged and sustained than activities induced to care for indoor pets. Roughly dogs woud be classified in outdoor because of the necessity of pee promenades. This group would include, among others horses, sheeps, and reindeers but should probably exclude turtles, snails and tree sloth. Cat would be classified as indoor pets as would be birds in cage, redflish or exotic fishs, hamster. We propose that ratle snake, crocodiles, komodo dragons should neverthess not be included in that group because subjects have to be fit enough to escape the danger. Then, most “other pets” (among which reindeers) could be classified in one of the two groups, reducing the number of “other –non classifiable- pets”.
Second, we assume that garden gnomes are likely not to be considered as pets. This is unfortunate because the elves of Santa Claus are likely to participate to Santa Claus fitness. Indeed, interacting with others are beneficial for elderly patients.3 The “loneliness” factor used in the adjustment is probably partly accounting for this interaction with others.1
Third and last, we also noted the presence of “body mass index” (BMI) among adjusting factors.1 Santa Claus became fat only by the age of 1660 years old when he tasted and apparently enjoyed soda drinks.2 Unfortunately, as shown by Batty et al.,1 obesity is expected to modify (probably impair) walking speed, leg raise and chair rise factors. Nevertheless, paradoxically elderly people have a lower survival rate if underweight.4 Then, Santa Claus longevity despite an increased risk of physical capacity impairment will remain alive for many years… for the great satisfaction of future children generations.
Merry christmas to all.
COMPETING INTERESTS: No competing interests.
1: Batty GB, Zaninotto P, Watt RG, Bell S. Associations of pet ownership with biomarkers of ageing: population based cohort study. BMJ 2017;359:j5558; http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5558
2: Wikipedia contributors. Santa Claus. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:57, December 23, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Santa_Claus&oldid=816549885
3: Paganini-Hill A, Kawas CH, Corrada MM; Activities and Mortality in the Elderly: The Leisure World Cohort Study, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 66A, Issue 5, 1 May 2011, Pages 559–567, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glq237
4: Winter JE, MacInnis RJ, Wattanapenpaiboon N, Nowson CA. BMI and all-cause mortality in older adults: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Apr;99(4):875-90. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.068122. Epub 2014 Jan 22.
Competing interests: No competing interests
The relation of animal companionship to biomarkers of ageing in older people is largely unknown , which pertains to the health status of individuals. However, animal companions are needed not only by individuals but also by the whole of society and humankind. Considering global overpopulation, humankind should eliminate motives for high fertility and protect those who abstain from procreation. Pets can help us in being not only companions but also surrogate children, grandchildren and loved ones, which is increasingly important in view of growing overpopulation and gender imbalance [2,3]. No population group, whether ethnic or confessional, on a national or on an international scale, should obtain any advantages merely because of its numerical size. On the contrary, those who have had many children should logically live in more confined conditions. It should also be mentioned that an indoor cat is preferable to a dog walking outdoors because of hygienic considerations .
1. Batty GD, Zaninotto P, Watt RG, Bell S. Associations of pet ownership with biomarkers of ageing: population based cohort study. BMJ 2017;359:j5558.
2. Jargin SV. Feline companions and demography. S Afr Med J 2013;103(6):357.
3. Jargin SV. Demographical aspects of environmental damage and climate change. Climate Change 2015;1:158-160 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279533880_Demographical_aspects...
Competing interests: No competing interests