A family longevity selection score: Ranking sibships by their longevity, size, and availability for study

Paola Sebastiani, Evan C. Hadley, Michael Province, Kaare Christensen, Winifred Rossi, Thomas T. Perls, Arlene S. Ash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Family studies of exceptional longevity can potentially identify genetic and other factors contributing to long life and healthy aging. Although such studies seek families that are exceptionally long lived, they also need living members who can provide DNA and phenotype information. On the basis of these considerations, the authors developed a metric to rank families for selection into a family study of longevity. Their measure, the family longevity selection score (FLoSS), is the sum of 2 components: 1) an estimated family longevity score built from birth-, gender-, and nation-specific cohort survival probabilities and 2) a bonus for older living siblings. The authors examined properties of FLoSS-based family rankings by using data from 3 ongoing studies: the New England Centenarian Study, the Framingham Heart Study, and screenees for the Long Life Family Study. FLoSS-based selection yields families with exceptional longevity, satisfactory sibship sizes and numbers of living siblings, and high ages. Parameters in the FLoSS formula can be tailored for studies of specific populations or age ranges or with different conditions. The first component of the FLoSS also provides a conceptually sound survival measure to characterize exceptional longevity in individuals or families in various types of studies and correlates well with later-observed longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1562
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Family data
  • Longevity
  • Shannon information


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