GROWING OLD: It's Not What It Used To Be

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Between 1900 and 2000, American life expectancy jumped from 47 to 77 years. Advances in genetic engineering, tissue engineering, stem cell therapies, nanotechnology, hormone therapies, and other fields are likely to foster a longevity revolution in which lifespans get much longer and people look and function younger at older ages.

What does it take to live well into your hundreds?

While 25% is genetic, 75% depends on your thinking and the lifestyle you choose. Positive psychology and research on vital centenarians have a lot to say about how to live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Did you know?
  • Longitudinal research finds that optimists live longer
  • In the New England Centenarian Study, centenarians averaged one prescription medication and most didn’t have any disabilities until at least age 95
  • People who, as children, held negative stereotypes about aging developed more cardiovascular problems decades later
  • Centenarians have twice as many positive memories as negative memories
  • Longitudinal research indicates altruistic people live longer
  • Genetics accounts for 50% of your happiness, but only 25% of your longevity
  • Research finds that head butting soccer balls can cause subtle brain damage
  • Evidence based research finds that on the whole, conservative medical treatment has comparable outcomes to the more intrusive and expensive stents, angioplasties, and bypass surgeries
  • Sham arthroscopic knee surgery was just as effective as the real surgery
  • As people age they tend to become more positive and focus more on emotional experience
  • People in their seventies report being happier than people in their twenties, thirties, forties or fifties



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