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 Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>