Woman-world record set by Maria Olivia da Silva
person-world record set by Gertrude Baines
Oldest person-world record set
by Edna Parker
20] SHELBYVILLE, Ind, USA--American Edna Parker, the world's
oldest known person, will celebrate her 115th birthday today,
defying mind-boggling odds.
Photo: Edna Parker has set the world
record for the Oldest Person in the World
"We don't know why she's lived so long," said
Don Parker, her 59-year-old grandson. "But she's never been
a worrier and she's always been a thin person, so maybe that
has something to do with it."
Don Parker said his grandmother still enjoys reading
the newspaper on a daily basis and likes to look through cards
and letters that well-wishers send to her.
Parker holds a rose that she was given during a birthday
party for her in Shelbyville, Ind., Friday, April 18,
2008. Parker, who was born April 20, 1893, is the oldest
known human. She will turn 115 on Sunday, April 20, 2008.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Parker shows her new shoes that she received as a birthday
gift to her granddaughter Barbara Saletnig during a party
for Parker in Shelbyville, Ind., Friday, April 18, 2008.
Parker, who was born April 20, 1893, is the oldest known
human. She will turn 115 on Sunday, April 20, 2008. (AP
Photo/Darron Cummings) - (enlarge
Don Parker talks with his grandmother,
Edna Parker, in Shelbyville, Ind. Saturday, April 12,
2008. . Edna Parker, who was born April 20, 1893, is the
oldest known human. She will turn 115 on Sunday, April
20, 2008. (AP Photo/Tom Strickland) (enlarge
Parker, who was born April 20, 1893, has been a widow since
her husband Earl died of a heart attack in 1938.
She has also outlived her two sons - Clifford
and Earl Jr - but is far from lonely with five grandchildren,
13 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren to
keep her company.
Scientists who study longevity hope that
Mrs Parker can help unlock the secrets to long life.
Two years ago, researchers from the New
England Centenarian Study at Boston University took a blood
sample from Mrs Parker for the group's DNA database of supercentenarians.
Her DNA is now preserved with samples of about
100 other people who reached the 110-year milestone, and whose
genes are being analysed, said Dr Tom Perls, an aging specialist
who directs the project. "They're really our best bet for
finding the elusive Holy Grail of our field — which are these
longevity-enabling genes," he said.
Only 75 living people — 64 women and 11 men —
are 110 or older, according to the Gerontology Research Group
of Inglewood, Calif., which verifies reports of extreme ages.
On Friday, a birthday party for Mrs Parker was
held at her nursing home in Shelbyville, Indiana.
A smiling Mrs Parker looked on as relatives and
guests released 115 balloons into the sky to celebrate her
milestone. Dressed in pearls, a blue and white polka dot dress
and new white shoes, she clutched a red rose during the festivities.
In December she was recognized by the Indiana
State Teachers Association as the oldest teacher in the state
and presented with a plaque of appreciation and an honorary
lifetime ISTA membership.
Her two sisters also are deceased. Georgia lived
to be 99, while her sister Opal was 88 when she died.
Parker's long-lived sisters are typical of other
centenarians, according to Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the
Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Institute for Aging
Research in New York. Nearly all of them
have a sister, mother or other relative who lived a long life,
he said. "Longevity is in the family history," Barzilai said.
He and other scientists have found several genetic
mutations in centenarians that may play a role in either slowing
the aging process or boosting resistance to age-related diseases.
Perls said the secret to a long life is
now believed to be a mix of genetics and environmental factors
such as health habits.
He said his research on about 1,500 centenarians
hints at another factor that may protect people from illnesses
such as heart attacks and stroke — they appear not to dwell
on stressful events. "They seem to manage their stress
better than the rest of us," he said.
The Japanese island of Okinawa, with a population
of a million, has 900 centenarians. Studies show their diet
is extremely rich in anti- oxidant producing fruit and vegetables.
They also eat a lot of tofu and soya products which seem to
produce higher levels of one hormone, DHEA. Although what
it does exactly is unknown, the hormone decreases with age
and levels decline at a much slower rate among Okinawans.
These people also consume a limited number of calories which
may or may not be a factor in their longevity. While women
in the Western world are advised to consume an average of
2,000 calories a day and men 2,500, the Okinawans survive
on a mere 1,200.
The Sardinians too are known for their long lives.
Their diet, rich in olive oil, fish and red wine, differs
vastly to that of the Japanese, but whatever they're doing
it's working. Although diet could be a contributing factor,
there is also a theory about a specific gene which appears
to be prevalent, that could result from hundreds of years
Meanwhile, the people of Loma Linda in California,
who live longer than anywhere else in the US, put their long
lives down to, not diet or good genes, but a belief in a higher
power. A significant number of them are Seventh Day Adventists,
which mean they don't smoke or drink and many adhere to vegetarian
diets as their religion advises. But their longevity is not
all diet- related. Those who go to church regularly live longer
This is in keeping with the findings of National
Geographic writer Dan Buettner who, having studied many of
these communities in detail, will publish his findings in
a book called the The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer
From the People Who've Lived the Longest. Working with the
world's top longevity experts, he describes the origin and
nature of the lifestyle habits of the communities in each
Habits such as drinking a glass or two of
red wine daily, growing a medicinal garden of mugwort, ginger
and turmeric, and consuming hard water are noted. He's come
up with what he calls the 'Power 9', nine lessons that positively
impact on lifespan.
It seems we may all have the power to extend
1. Move naturally, be active without having to
think about it. Don't exercise simply for the sake of exercising;
identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your
2. Cut calories by 20pc.
3. Eat more fruit and vegetables, avoid meat
and processed foods, but you don't need to become a vegetarian.
4. Drink red wine in moderation.
5. See the big picture, determine your purpose
6. Take time to relieve stress. You may have
to literally schedule it into your day, but relaxation is
7. Belong. Participate in a spiritual community.
Draw on the built-in weekly sessions of self-reflection and
8. Make family a priority. Honour your family
and spend time with them.
9. Pick the right tribe, be surrounded by those
who share your values.
England Centenarian Study
woman dies at 115 as world's oldest person
Nov 26, 2008/ SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Edna Parker,
who became the world's oldest person more than a year ago,
has died at age 115. UCLA gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles
said Parker's great-nephew notified him that Parker died Wednesday
at a nursing home in Shelbyville. She was 115 years, 220 days
Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born
Sept. 10, 1893, is now the world's oldest living person, according
to the Gerontology Research Group.
Photos: AP, EPA, Wandering Brook Photographic