Healthy Ageing

Thu 23rd Jan 2020

Presented by Peter Elwood
based on 35 years of observation of a large cohort of men in Caerphilly

In 1979 a long-term prospective study was set up in Caerphilly. Two thousand five hundred middle-aged men agreed to be closely followed, and they granted access to their medical records. During the following 35 years they were each seen and re-examined every five years, and a wide range of questionnaires and tests were applied to each.

Over 500 research reports have been issued, but the ‘gold-dust’ of the study has been the identification of huge reductions in serious chronic diseases – diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and dementia – in those who had followed a healthy lifestyle: non-smoking, regular exercise, low body weight, a healthy diet and low alcohol intake. The men who had followed this lifestyle also showed higher levels of well-being in later life.

Following a healthy lifestyle would seem to be the way those of us who choose could achieve the definition of perfect health, as defined by World Health Organisation in 1948: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”


Peter Elwood

Diploma from Trinity College of Music: ATCL; and a Diploma in Cosmology, from Liverpool University

Peter and his team and were the first to report a randomised trial of aspirin and the reduction in vascular disease mortality (Br Med J 1974;1:436-440) and they have never lost interest in aspirin. Currently their interest focuses on aspirin as an additional treatment of cancer, giving a 20% increase in survival and a reduction in metastatic spread.

Last September Peter celebrated 60 years of research, 24 of these during so-called ‘retirement’. Almost all of his work has been on prevention, rather than treatment: the prevention of chest disease in textile workers, the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia, the prevention of vascular disease, the prevention of cancer and, most recently, the prevention of dementia…. hence today’s talk.

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