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Optimistic attitude may help you live past 85, new study finds



H The University of Boston has published an article in the New York Times

Researchers found that people who scored higher on an optimism assessment were more likely to live past the age of 85. Those with higher levels of optimism at the start of the study were more likely to have advanced degrees and more or less likely to have health conditions like diabetes or depression. Often, researchers focus on finding risk factors. But Lewina Lee, the lead researcher on the new study and assistant professor of psychiatry at BU School of Medicine, said "These findings reinforce the value of looking at psychosocial assets and not just deficits in overall health and health outcomes." [1

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The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is involved in the Nurses' Health Study and the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. The women have been followed since 1976, and in 2004 they completed a questionnaire with 263 true or false statements about their experiences and their outlook on life. Survival outcomes were tracked through 2016.

A report from the Brookings Institution in May 2018 reached a similar conclusion. Carol Graham, a Brookings senior fellow, explained "We were looking at people born in the 20s and 30s who lived beyond 2015". Lee's findings have been found. Based on U.S.

Prior studies have also reported that optimism is associated with a reduction of premature deaths or decreased rates of medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease,

The authors of the new study said they believe that optimism is a modifiable attribute and could be a potential target to promote healthy aging. Graham suggested that communities could boost their optimism by offering access to volunteer opportunities, which might help create a sense of purpose and social connections.

While the association is clear, scientists still do not fully understand why to longevity. It may simply be that people who are optimistic are more likely to invest in their health and avoid risky health behaviors.

Bruce McEwen, who heads the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University, said that "brain and body experiences." Inflammation and stress can affect the brain and other organs.

While these findings are promising, they are all interrelated and might well be better suited to combat higher levels of stress and inflammation.

In Lee's research, the two groups of men and women were studied. It is difficult to determine how generalizable these findings are. "Translating into individual lives is a more complicated story," McEwan said.

The findings provide a launching point for future research, Lee said.


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