Eat well and always look on the bright side of life?

Eat well and always look on the bright side of life?

“When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery.  But we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.  Most were outgoing, optimistic and easy going…” 

Study by the Longevity Genes Project
The UK Press Association reported this week on a fascinating study on longevity.  Researchers investigated more than 500 Eastern Europe Ashkenazi Jews over the age of 95 and 700 of their offspring.  The US scientists studied the 243 centenarians in the group and found those who live longest tend to be those who look on the bright side of life. 

Lead scientist Nir Barzilai, director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute for Aging Research in New York, said: “When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery.  But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.  Most were outgoing, optimistic and easy going.  They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network.  They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up”.

So maybe the idea that you need to be austere, stingy, mean and grumpy is not quite the true picture eh? 

Go you happy and optimistic centenarians!   

Here is a quote from Professor Tom Kirkwood at the world-leading Biomedical Research Centre in Ageing at Newcastle University, commenting on another ground-breaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation (as reported by The Guardian on Tuesday 29 May 2012):

I’ve been involved in this field for more than 35 years and when I entered it people fondly believed that ageing was programmed; that there was a mechanism inside our bodies that determined how long we would live.  It was kind of written into our genes that we would die at a certain age.  What we’ve been able to show is that the idea of this genetically programmed ageing makes no sense at all.  There is no evidence. 

What we now know is that the genetic factors that influence your longevity are not genes that measure out the passage of time; the reason we age and die is because, as we live our lives, our bodies accumulate a great variety of small faults in the cells, and the molecules that make up the cells in our body – so ageing is driven by this accumulation of faults.  The genes that influence longevity are those that influence how well the body copes with damage, how aggressive our repair mechanisms are; they’re genes that regulate the house-keeping and maintenance and repair”.

The Longevity Genes Study was reported by the UK Press Association and published in the online edition of the journal Aging, 2012. 

Here is the full story: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5h2wc5_ZUXKiuW3hw2iFE_baP_eZA?docId=N0351611338101476883A

Posted: Thursday 7 June 2012

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