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04 OCTOBER 00 | For a complete version of these stories, visit the Berkeley News Center on the World Wide Web at www.berkeley./news/.

Humans are living longer

The old saying 'life is short' may not hold much water in the future. According to Associate Professor of Demography John Wilmoth, the oldest age at death for humans has been rising for more than a century and shows no signs of leveling off. Wilmoth's finding, based on Swedish national death records for each year since 1861, calls into question the belief of many scientists that the human life span has a set end-point of 120 years. In research published in Science, Wilmoth and his Swedish and U.S. colleagues show that, in the1860s in Sweden, the oldest ages at death for men and women was around 101. That average maximum age moved up slowly throughout the century to about 105 in the 1960s and then accelerated to 108 in the 1990s. Wilmoth said Swedish demographic statistics - considered the world's best records on birth and death - are a good indication of patterns in other industrialized nations, where it has become commonplace to survive to a very old age.

For complete story, see http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2000/09/28_life.html

Flavonoids could make you sick

Fruits and vegetables keep you healthy, but some of their chemical components, concentrated and sold in high doses as flavonoid supplements in health food stores, are likely to make you sick, warn School of Public Health scientists. The warning applies to such popular products as ginkgo pills, quercetin tablets, grape seed extract and flaxseed, which contain high concentrations of flavonoids. Unlike vitamins C and E, flavonoids become dangerous at the high doses available in some supplements, which are not regulated by any governmental agency, according to Martyn Smith, professor of toxicology. "I think some Americans could be poisoning themselves with these supplements." said Smith. "The potency of concentrated plant flavonoids in some of these products has been radically underestimated." "Please do eat fruits and vegetables," he said. "But stop taking these supplements."

For complete story, see http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2000/09/19_flav.html

Car shoppers save on the Internet

Do consumers really save money buying a car online? In the first academic study to analyze Internet car pricing, Berkeley and Yale business professors found that consumers get a 2 percent price reduction if they buy their car on the Internet. Fiona Scott Morton, associate professor of economics at Yale's School of Management, and Florian Zettelmeyer, assistant professor of marketing at the Haas School of Business, analyzed purchase data from Autobytel.com, one of the largest Internet auto referral services. Customers can shave 2 percent off their purchases online because dealers are willing to lower prices for Autobytel.com and because Autobytel.com makes contracts with dealers who offer lower prices to begin with.

For complete story, see http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2000/09/26_cars.html

 


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