Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New England Centenarian Study Basic Summary

Doctor's advice on living to 100

- Staff Writer Bonnie Washuk
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BOSTON - The number of people who live to 100, like Lewiston's Libby Goldman, is low, about 1 out of 8,000, says Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University's Medical Center.

Of those who live to be 100, "the larger numbers aren't doing so well," Perls said Monday. Only 20 percent are lucid.

Those in that minority can keep going to 101, 102, 103 and beyond, "as long as their minds are sharp," Perls said.

"Some people say, 'Who would want to live to 100?' I say most of us," if the disabilities associated with old age are compressed to the very end of life, he said.

The vast majority of those who live to 100 have lived independently through their early 90s, Perls said. The world's oldest known person today is Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Ind., who celebrated her 115th birthday April 20. People who live to 110 are "supercentenarians" and are rare, Perls said.

There are three common traits of centenarians, according to research in the New England Centenarian Study:

• Good genes. They have "significant genetic advantages" and lack genes that predispose them to diseases, Perls said. Longevity often runs in families.

Good health habits. Most don't drink or smoke, and they exercise. They're not overweight.

They manage stress well. Perls guessed that Libby Goldman was "gregarious and optimistic." People who live to 100 "find humor in their daily lives." They have stress, but "they seem to be able to let go of it easily."

To learn more about the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University's Medical Center, go to:

* * *

Not too helpful, as it's all stuff we knew. I think stress is the biggest problem for most people. The good news is that if you're exercising and eating properly, stress is less likely to be a problem anyway. And what better excuse to block out time for your favorite activities and to hang out with good friends?

No comments: