A new study may shed light on how to achieve long life and, believe it or not, the key to reaching 100 has nothing to do with eating healthy or avoiding alcohol. Researchers went to the Cilento region in southern Italy to investigate something truly bizarre: hundreds of residents from that area are older than 90. The study, however, focused on 29 of them, whose age ranged from 90 to 101.
The elders in question were reported to have poorer physical health than their younger family members, yet their mental health was very strong, researchers pointed out. Senior author of the study, Dr. Dilip Jeste, acknowledged that there have been numerous studies that focused on the genetics of the elderly, however, none of them looked at their mental health or personalities.
The study, which was published in the journal, International Psychogeriatrics, suggests that genes aren’t enough for longer lives but personality traits may also be an important factor.
“They have less Alzheimer’s, they have less cataracts, they have less bone fractures,” notes Alan Maisel, from the University of California, who studied the elder people in the region.
The 29 people were asked a series of questions which included topics such as migrations, belief, and traumatic events. Their younger family relatives were also interviewed in a similar manner, however, they were then asked to describe the personality traits of their older relatives.
According to the researchers, a common theme in their answers was their love of the land. In addition, the participants presented high self-confidence and decision making skills.
“We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control,” said Anna Scelzo, first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy.
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