Longevity of Communist leaders

ben1910 at delphi.com ben1910 at delphi.com
Fri Feb 16 19:53:20 EST 1996

"Leonid A.Gavrilov" <ageing at ilr.rc.ac.ru> writes:
>>Stalin was 73 when he died, which is not much by our standards, but
>>was a lot back then.  Amazingly, I have heard that Stalin was toothless
>>or almost toothless long before he died.  Could our Russian colleagues
>>confirm that?  What else is known about his health?
>  This is very interesting issue. Studies on longevity of political
>leaders who had unlimited access to medical service and very expensive
>methods of diagnostics and treatment, can demonstrate the potential
>of medicine in life extension. Data on longevity of the family members
>of political leaders might be even more indicative since they had the
>same accesss to medical service but had no stress of continuous struggle
>for power as the political leaders had.
That is a very interesting project.  However, this particular case
(Stalin's case) is special.  Even though he had access to any medical
service, the state of the art was quite different than it is today.
Soviet medicine heavily used mineral waters, mud baths and leeches
for high blood pressure.
Also, treating the dictator must have been a risky business for
the physician.  I have heard that there was just one barber who was
entrusted with shaving Stalin.  A bunch of his personal physicians
were actually executed in the last year of his life.

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