BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6958.888 (Published 01 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:888

A study in California of the oldest old - those aged over 85 - found that most were white and widows. Comparison of 1325 over 85s with a control group of 65-84 year olds (Health Promotion International 1994;9:169-76) found few differences in their health or mobility - indeed, nearly half in both groups had no self reported chronic illness. Possibly the very old are selected survivors who have already minimised their health risks before they reach the age of 85.

A review in the “British Journal of Surgery” (1994;81:1251-3) of liver transplantation from living donors reports only one death in a donor (from pulmonary embolism) in 300 procedures. The survival of recipients is around 87%.

Women who smoke undergo the menopause at an earlier age than those who do not, and some research in the United States (Fertility and Sterility 1994;62:257-62) has now shown that smoking accelerates the rate of follicular degeneration. Eight of 65 women who smoked were found to have a diminished ovarian reserve, as opposed to only seven of 145 non- smokers.

Febrile …

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