Here are a few recent longevity news tidbits derived from studies published in geriatrics journals. Two of the news reports confuse cause and effect and project a probably-incorrect message.
· Seniors can use computerized brain exercises to improve their memory and ability to think faster(ref). My comment is sure, and the best computer brain exercise for me is researching how to live a lot longer.
· The news article in the Tehran Times is entitled Daily naps may raise older women’s death risk. ‘White women who took a daily siesta were 44 percent more likely to die from any cause, 58 percent more prone to dying from heart problems, and nearly 60 percent more likely to die from non-cardiovascular or non-cancer causes.(ref)’ However, I point out that people who are quite sick may take more naps than those who are healthy. So, napping itself may not cause increased mortality but may be the result of mortality-inducing illnesses.
· Specific personality traits are associated with children of centenarians and their longevity including low neuroticism, high extraversion and high agreeableness. Apparently these traits enable much better management of stress(ref). My comment is yes and that these characteristics are not only inherited but to some extent can be learned even by us old folks.
· The news item is entitled Keep Hold of Those Car Keys: Driving May Be Good for Your Health. A study in Florida of 660 older people, aged aged 63 to 97, showed that people who kept driving were four to six times more likely to still be alive after a three-year period than their counterparts who stopped driving(ref). I comment again that it is important not to confuse cause with effect. Most of the people who stopped driving were probably a lot sicker to start with than those who kept driving. Stopping driving itself was probably the effect of sicknesses and not the cause of the increased mortality.