A Test To Predict If You’ll Die Soon

This popped up in our news scans and at first we couldn’t figure out why. “That’s not about evolution!” we thought.

On the other hand, maybe it is. We’ll let you figure it out, dear reader. In London’s Daily Mail we read Stand up with no hands to live longer: Why you could be heading for an early grave if you can’t get off the floor without using your hands.

It’s about a six-year study of more than 2,000 men and women, aged 51 to 80. Those who performed poorly on the test were five or six times more likely to die than those who did well.

We’ll give you only one excerpt, because no more is needed:

If getting up from a game of Scrabble on the floor this Christmas requires both hands, a lot of sighing and a helpful tug from a grandchild, beware. For the gloomy message from scientists is that you may not live as long as your flexible counterparts.

Those who can sit down and get up using only one hand – or no hands at all – are likely to live for longer, a study found. But those needing extra assistance, such as getting up on their knees or using two hands, are up to six times more likely to die prematurely.

That’s it. Either you’re interested enough to click over there to read the whole thing or you’re not. Or maybe you’re stuck on the floor and can’t get back up.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “A Test To Predict If You’ll Die Soon

  1. Interesting. My mum (84 not out and with early dementia), persists in lying on the floor in front of her heater despite instructions to the contrary from sister and me. Getting up requires two knees, two hands and a handy chair, but she does it! So there you go and is the Daily Mail a Murdoch publication? Not much evolution there.

  2. Read that quite some time ago. Apparently, I’m already dead.

  3. Hooray for confusing correlations with causation! This is about as interesting as finding that people’s whose trash contains 10 empty bottles of whiskey every week are more likely to die early. I must remember to recycle, that’ll keep me living longer.

  4. eric says: “Hooray for confusing correlations with causation!”

    Also, the test doesn’t account for hidden variables. For example, I have no trouble getting up from the floor, but usually my dogs won’t allow it because they keep jumping all over me. I donno what that does to my longevity.

  5. Retired Prof

    I understand the idea of premature death if somebody gets hit by a bus or a deadly virus. Otherwise, since young bodies mature at different rates, doesn’t it make just as much sense to say that old ones approach dissolution (the final stage of maturation) at different ages? Maybe final death is like “the little death,” which is what the French call orgasm: it happens when the body is ready for it.

    Makes little difference to me personally. I’m safely past the biblical threescore and ten and no longer at risk for premature death. If my death is untimely, it will be because it’s overdue.

    And yes, SC, this topic is appropriate to a blog about evolution. Sex and death are the yin and yang of evolution. The classic formulation is: If it weren’t for death, sex would be unnecessary. If it weren’t for sex, death would be unnecessary.

  6. Eric said: “Hooray for confusing correlations with causation!”

    Eric pretty much hits the nail right on the head.

    I imagine the next study will involve how physically active the “flexible” subjects are compared to the “not so flexible” ones.

    Maybe they could spend a few years clearing up the controversial “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” dispute between mechanics and plumbers.

    Cheers

  7. Paul Bruggink

    May I suggest that you find a way to add Like buttons to your comments. Ellie and Retired Prof deserve “Likes.”

    p.s. Re your sentence “Those who performed poorly on the test were five or six times more likely to die than those who did well.”, I have always thought that we all have the same probability of dying. :-)

  8. Paul Bruggink says: “May I suggest that you find a way to add Like buttons to your comments.”

    That can’t be done here. Even if it could, I don’t like it. On sites that have that feature, commenters can gang up and “dislike” someone to the point where he just quits. There’s nothing to prevent you from praising a comment, or tastefully disagreeing — but I don’t want flame wars.

  9. This sort of “correlation is not causation” happens because those who cannot stand unassisted are at higher risk of other health problems, or simply at higher risk of being old. I encounter this in my work sometimes, where through some process people sort themselves into a high-risk group, and then I need to figure out why it looks like the people who ought to be better off are actually worse.

  10. Good Point Bruggink. They meant to say higher probability of dying within some short time period, probably 2-3 years.