Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Old age is getting younger:Today’s 75-year-olds are cognitively fitter and happier than 20 years ago

23.03.2015

A study financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research reveals positive trends in human aging. Older adults today show higher levels of cognitive functioning and well-being than older adults of the same age 20 years ago. This has been found in a collaborative study among several research institutions in Berlin, including the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB), and the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The result will be published in the scientific journal “Psychology and Aging,” and is available as a SOEP advance online paper.

For all of those who are worrying about getting old, here is some good news: Old age is getting younger. On average, today’s 75-year-olds are cognitively much fitter than the 75-year-olds of 20 years ago.

At the same time, the current generation of 75-year-olds also reports higher levels of well-being and greater life satisfaction.“ The gains in cognitive functioning and well-being that we have measured here in Berlin are considerable and of great significance for life quality in old age,” comments Ulman Lindenberger, Director of the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

The researchers relate the gains to sociocultural factors such as education. In their opinion, the increase in well-being is also due to better physical fitness and higher levels of independence in old age.

“However, we expect that these positive historical trends areattenuated at the end of life,” adds Denis Gerstorf, Professor for Developmental Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

During the final stage of life, the increase in good years of life is likely to give way to a rapid and marked drop in both cognition and well-being. Current studies by Gerstorf and colleagues examining old people’s last years of life support this view.

The large-scale study in Berlin involves researchers from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the multi-cohort study “Socio-Economic Panel” (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The publication is based on data from the Berlin Aging Studies (BASE and BASE-II) that were compared with SOEP data, which are representative for Germany (see “Method” below).

“The combination of data for a large city, in this case Berlin, with data representative for the whole of Germany (SOEP) is an important feature of BASE und BASE-II,” emphasizes Gert G. Wagner, Executive Board Member of the DIW Berlin and Max Planck Fellow at the MPIB.

The study can be downloaded here:
http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.498497.de/diw_sp0738.pdf

Method
The researchers used the data of 708 Berliners aged 60 and over who were tested for cognitive functioning and rated their well-being in the context of the Berlin Aging Study II. They compared these data with those from the Berlin Aging Study, the predecessor study of the early 1990s, and identified 161 “statistical twins,” mostly consisting of one person of the same sex from each of the two studies, who were as similar to each other in age and education as possible. Factors such as medically diagnosed illnesses were considered as well. The average age of these comparison couples was 75 years (the youngest person was 65 years and the oldest was 89 years of age). To check for comparability, the researchers also took into account information from the SOEP study of the DIW Berlin that has collected representative population data in Germany for 30 years.

Berlin Aging Studies
The Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) is a continuation of the Berlin Aging Study (BASE) of the 1990s. BASE-II involves psychologists, social scientists, economists, and physicians as well as geneticists. Together they examine which factors contribute to healthy aging. The research institutions involved include Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB), the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the DIW Berlin, as well as the Tübingen Ageing and Tumour Immunology Group at the University of Tübingen. The Berlin Aging Study II is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/media/2015/03/old-age-is-getting-younger-today...

Kerstin Skork | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies

28.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nano 'sandwich' offers unique properties

28.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>