Optimistic women live longer

In this 2013 file photo, Misao Okawa, celebrates her 115th birthday in Osaka, western Japan.

(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Asked about the secret of ageing, the oldest in the world, people are often not sweating the small things. In fact, optimism is associated with greater personal happiness, but should the teaching of biological benefits? Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health suggest that it is possible in a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

They analyzed the data of more than 70,000 women between 2004 and 2012. Optimistic women, they found, are significantly less likely to die from a handful of diseases than their pessimistic counterparts, possibly in part as a result of the reduction of the inflammation.

“Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to optimism, which has been shown as being associated with healthier behaviors,” one researcher says. The study is not without flaws.

For one, optimism may be calculated differently from one person to the next. And “reverse causality” could play, where people in better health are more likely to be optimistic, reports Live Science.

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But it is a large study, and the figures are statistically significant. The most optimistic women were 52% less likely to die from an infection than the least optimistic, and about 38% less likely to die from stroke, heart disease and lung disease.

The effect was also seen in cancer, but with only a 16% discount. The lead author tells the New York Times that the studies in twins suggest that optimism is 25% hereditary, so it is 75% of “own-account”, while an external researcher warns the NPR, we must be careful not to blame the patients.

This article originally appeared on Newser: Optimistic Women Live Longer


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