Optimism May Prolong Life
What better cohort to study when it comes to the secrets of longevity that the world's elite club of centenarians? That was the logic behind the research of two separate teams of scientists, the Longevity Genes Project launched by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University Medical Center. Both teams found that among people who have reached their tenth decade and beyond, the most salient trait they share is an abiding sense of optimism. As HealthDay put it, "If you want to live a long life, accent the positive and keep laughing."
The participants in the Longevity Genes Project were of Eastern European Jewish descent – the Ashkenazi, a group known to live well beyond what the actuarial charts would predict. The findings were discussed in the May 21st online edition of the journal Aging. "We really were not sure what got them to their advanced age," study co-author Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research and chair of its division of Aging Research, admitted according to HealthDay. "Was it their personality, or something more in their genetics?" Barzai went on to say, however, "Our findings that these centenarians share such positive personality traits suggest that they may be associated with longevity."