Views & Reviews Review of the Week

I’m still standing

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 21 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:449
  1. Colin Currie, senior lecturer in geriatric medicine, University of Edinburgh
  1. drcolintcurrie{at}

What is the secret of longevity? Colin Currie is mildy entertained by a television documentary that sought to find out

Centenarians are still exceptional, though rapidly becoming less so. For How to Live to 101 the BBC’s Horizon team tracked down some of the most exceptional of them all, with intriguing rather than conclusive results: interesting enough to make good television, though perhaps not quite good enough for Ben Goldacre or for a respectable peer reviewed journal like this. And as good television often does, How to Live to 101 took us on a journey: from Okinawa to Sardinia, to California and then—of all places—to Glasgow.

With a population of around a million, Okinawa has 900 centenarians, or four times the numbers expected at UK rates. In a remote village among damp, green mountains—not quite Shangri-La, but clearly hog heaven for a gerontologist—Dr Bradley Wilcox explains that here the 90 year olds look like 60 year olds; and a 100 year old villager tells us that when, …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription