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China’s Fountain of Youth
ABC News has a report on the village of Bama, "China's Fountain of youth." People there are said to live unusually long lives. Out of the population of 500, six people are over 100 years old.

The locals attribute this longevity to pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity"), simple home-grown food, and a special magnetic field.

Bama has become a big tourist destination in China. Billboards promote its special powers. New hotels are being constructed there. And you can shop at a store that sells products labeled "The 100-year-old Man."

But the key phrase in the report is that "there are no birth certificates to prove age." This immediately makes me think of the Ecuadorian town of Vilcabamba, which in the 1970s was heavily promoted as a village of supercentenarians, until researchers examined the age claims more closely and realized the locals were exaggerating their age.

If the old folks in Bama don't have any birth certificates or documentation to prove their age, then I'd be very doubtful they really are over 100, because age exaggeration among old people is an extremely common phenomenon. It's a way for them to increase their social status by claiming to have done something remarkable (lived a very long time).
DeathHealth/Medicine
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 15, 2009
"(which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity")"

Okay, time for a quick chemistry lesson. Alkalinity is a measure of how many free protons (H+) are in solution. This is measured on a pH scale from 0 (very acidic) to 7 (neutral) to 14 (very alkaline).

Pure water has a pH of about 7. Having water with low alkalinity is another way of saying it's very acidic, which might account for that blue color.
Posted by Frosted Donut  in  Mercer Island  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  12:32 PM
The chinese are very age oriented.
It's common to have cosmetic surgery to look older
over there.
claiming to be older than they are wouldn't be much of a surprise.
Posted by Sharruma  in  capable of finishing a coherent  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  01:05 PM
Hmm...if all of that is true (big if), is it really a good idea to make the place more commercialized? Wouldn't that just diminish whatever healthful properties are in the area?
Posted by Crafty Dragon  in  Montana  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  03:59 PM
I remember in the mid-70s when yogurt was a new idea to average Americans, Dannon ran ads about Ukrainians, who lived longer than anyone else in the world, with villages full of people over a hundred. They claimed it was because they all ate yogurt. It turned out that all the "centegenarians" were men who had overstated their ages to avoid being drafted into World War One, and their wives who joined in the scheme.
Posted by Bill the Splut  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  05:19 PM
I was gonna mention the yogurt/Georgia thing too, but Bill stole my active culture thunder. Hey cool name for a band... and now, live on stage, "Active Culture Thunder", led by everyone's favorite front-man, Centegenerian Georgi. Or not
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  05:49 PM
I thought of Vilcabamba, too, as soon as I saw this story on the wire services.
...
"... pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity) ..."
This is a curious claim. In general, the fresh water that is most "striking blue" is water with HIGH alkalinity, such as that in limestone pools. If you look at a limestone pool or creek from above, the water looks very blue (or green if there is a growth of algae). Water with low alkalinity, on the other hand, is more clear (more or less colorless) if it has no suspended matter, but in nature is more often brown or yellow because it tends to carry dissolved tannins and, in many cases, silt. I refer, of course to bodies of water. If someone served me a clear glass of water (not blue glass) and the water looked "striking blue" in the glass, that water couldn't be very "pure," and I wouldn't drink it.

Here in the Rio Grande Valley, there are many trailer parks where the average age must be somewhere around 600, but we can't take credit for those "Winter Texan's" longevity. They were already about that old when they moved here after retiring from their pig farms in North Dakota.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Alamo, Texas  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  06:39 PM
I still think Mel Brooks is the winner when it comes to longevity claims smile
Posted by Ken  in  Wisconsin  on  Mon Jun 15, 2009  at  09:25 PM
I wonder if they have cigarettes or alcohol. Maybe that's the reason - no smokes, no stress. It makes your life go longer.
Posted by Diety  in  Poland  on  Tue Jun 16, 2009  at  05:19 AM
"The chinese are very age oriented.
It's common to have cosmetic surgery to look older
over there.
claiming to be older than they are wouldn't be much of a surprise.
Posted by Sharruma in capable of finishing a coherent on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 09:05 AM"

I call bullshit on this.
Posted by Chinese Person  on  Wed Jun 17, 2009  at  06:06 PM
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