We know that cellular stress response and stress proteins have a positive effect on some functions that could induce longer life span, these tend to be most often related to heat and cold shock which is likely one of the key reasons behind why many cultures developed customs that induce heat or cold shock such as sauna and ice dipping.
So my personal bet is that this goes way beyond simple selection bias that pre-selected the fittest and has likely involved biological changes that were favorable for longevity.
The question now is how to identify these changes and mechanisms and replicate them without having to force someone to live through literal hell.
Wouldn't that limit the longevity benefits?
Famines in the modern world are rare, they still exists in some places but those places aren’t exactly stable and have high life expectancy to begin with.
Famines in historic times were both not rare, periodic, and there isn’t nearly enough data to show if there was any benefit to the survivors other than less competition for resources after the famine has subsided.
I’m not sure there has been an event like the holocaust where so many people went on to live what essentially became modern western life with all the advantages it provides as far as life expectancy goes.
To be clear, mine is the null hypothesis. I suggest that no extraordinary or new information can be gleaned from the life expectancy of Holocaust survivors at present. This constrasts with any claim that this information provides a possible bit of support for the notion that starvation can lead to extended life expectancy.
Lenin’s USSR between ‘21-‘22 (9 million dead), China in ‘27 (About 3 million dead), Stalin’s Holodomor of Ukraine ‘32-‘34 (8 million dead), Henan, China in ‘43 (5 million dead), Bengal ‘43 (2-3 million dead), Mao’s China ‘58-‘62 (10-30 million dead), The DPRK ‘95-‘99 (about 3 million dead and the lasting negative impact is well studied), and many more from Biafra to Dust Bowl era Oklahoma.
I agree that it’s hard to find a comparison of people leading a “modern Western life,” but plenty of Holocaust survivors didn’t either. Moreover the negative impacts of starvation are well documented, and “longer life expectancy” isn’t in it. Arrayed against that we have a handful of mouse studies, those very creatures we can cure of cancer... for all that doesn’t apply to us.
The survivor bias makes sense, those that would have died at 65-75 years maybe died then when tested by the hardships.
Yes, which is why anorexia is so harmful, and why early intervention for anorexia is so important.
Though could be both antifragility and selection bias at play.
> What’s the conclusion, beyond answering a question that has stuck with me for four decades? First and most importantly, it’s not that a traumatic time is anything but hideous. It’s instead that those surviving such an event may be sturdier than others, and by so much that it more than offsets the additional ailments they wind up with. In other words, survivors can wind up living longer than average, but they would presumably have lived even longer in the absence of their gruesome experiences. ...
you didn't read the article. the paradoxical observation is that they live longer despite being particularly not healthy.
Whereas selection bias is when some external factor causes analysis to be focused on a specific subset of the broader population. For instance, survey responses reflect the selection bias of people who were willing to take that survey. Reviews on user-generated review sites are biased towards the people that felt strongly enough to leave a review. The example in this post is selection bias. This is not the opinions of views of individual survivors as in survivorship bias. Rather the study is inherently limited to selecting those that were healthy and fit enough to survive the Holocaust.
>Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It is a form of selection bias.
He found that the people that survived the camps were those that had something to live for, whose lives retained some meaning, some value, and that that was more significant than any other factor.
...And I just read his (pretty disturbing) wikipedia page. I hadn't heard any of the 'Controversy' stuff before, of which there is a lot, too much to summarize here. No wonder he's not better-known these days.
Without more information I can actually relate to both sides of the argument. A person has a only one life. I can totally understand if one wants to just forget and move on.
Regarding logotherapy - lots of people have survived great loss by chasing a higher goal. For example Enrico Fermi dove into physics at a young age after he had lost his beloved brother.
Logotherapy is not philosophy, it's a treatment. It's intellectually dishonest to compare it to a political ideology.
As diagnozed with severe depression recently I can't really fault the idea of trying to find meaning in those pieces of your life that you have left.
The medical experimentation part sound nasty, though. I have no idea what to make of that.
I suppose none of the above changes my view on the subject. The book is a self help book and like all in it's genre should be read with a pinch of salt and not like some deep philosophical guide to life. It's one medicine to deal with personal loss and tragedy. People are really different in terms of what works for them.
The story in the book is still moving one. The fact that Mr. Frankl uses it to also advertize his professional services is fairly obvious, though.
Somebody mentioned gulag, my grandfather was send there as political prisoner, working in uran mines. His health was impacted and he died relatively early.
The former is harder to measure and we live in an age were people over-weigh easy to measure things which makes for all kinds of misguided conclusions.
Don't dismiss Convenience. There will always be more people who need it than don't. Focus instead on what kind of convenience you can provide that crowd and your impact is guaranteed.
Israel is currently ~50% Sephardic Jews, descendants from Middle Eastern/North African peoples. Holocaust survivors are almost all Ashkenazi Jews (European ancestors). If the study was comparing Ashkenazi Jews in the test group vs a control group that was majority Sephardic, it's possible the differences in lifetime was due to some cultural or genetic differences between the two groups.
The study doesn't seem to account for this confounding variable.
(It's not relevant to your point, but although Sephardic Jews are not Ashkenazi Jews, not all non-Ashkenazi Jews are Sephardic. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizrahi_Jews.)
I’d love a link to this “recent story” which sounds distressingly like a very old and discredited claim of Holocaust deniers.
Yups, all trademark comments of a wandering soul trying to "humanize" the holocaust. Please don't let HN become reddit