A study just released by the University of California Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), dubbed the “90+ Study,” has just concluded that individuals in their 70’s who drink a moderate consumption of either alcohol or coffee live longer than those individuals who abstain.
The study also found that individuals that were overweight and in their 70s lived longer than individuals who are considered normal or underweight.
The ongoing research began in 2003, with over 1,600 seniors, and to date remains the largest study ever undertaken by researches and physicians regarding this fastest growing age group within the United States
“Because little is known about people who achieve this milestone,” say, researchers, “the remarkable increase in the number of oldest-old presents a public health priority to promote the quality as well as the quantity of life.”
Some of the participants within the 90+ Study also participated within the Leisure World Cohort Study back in 1981. Then researchers simply mailed out questionnaires to every resident living within the large retirement community in Orange County, California.
In the new study, participants are visited every 6-months by researchers who perform neurological and neuropsychological tests. The information regarding diet, activities, medical history, medications and other factors are also combined with a series of cognitive and physical tests to determine how well people in this age group are functioning.
According to UC MIND, the goals of the study include:
- Determining factors associated with longevity: What makes people live to age 90 and beyond? What types of food, activities or lifestyles are associated with living longer?
- Examining the epidemiology of dementia in the oldest-old: How many people aged 90 and older have dementia? How many become demented each year? What are ways to remain dementia-free into your 90s?
- Examining rates of cognitive and functional decline in the oldest-old: How do memory loss and disability affect those in their 90s? How can people prevent memory loss and disability at this age?
- Examine clinical, pathological correlations in the oldest-old: Do the brains of people in their 90s show evidence of memory loss and dementia? Do people with dementia have differences in their brains that can be detected and treated? Determining Modifiable Risk Factors for Mortality and Dementia: What kinds of things can people change in their lives to live longer? Can people change their risk of dementia through diet, exercise or supplements?
Researches also found that over 40% of individuals over 90-years old suffer some form of dementia, and almost 80% are disabled. Both of which are more common in women.
Also about ½ who suffer from dementia do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.
The study also revealed that individuals, who consumed about 2-glasses of beer or wine, were 18% more likely to live longer, then those teetotalers while those individuals who love their morning cup-of-Joe were 10% more likely to continue drinking their Java, and outliving their counterparts who abstained.
In a candid interview, Dr. Claudia Kawas admitted, “I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity.”
The obvious question then is should we all be drinking more coffee and wine?
Registered dietitian Keri Gans explained to the Daily Meal, “Wine and coffee are packed with antioxidants which are known to protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Research on antioxidants has shown several health benefits, including the possibility they may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve cognitive function, decrease the risk of dementia, and lower the risk of heart disease.”