On “60 Minutes” last Sunday, Lesley Stahl interviewed Neurologist Claudia Kawas, the 90+ Study lead investigator, who reported that “Half of all children born today in the United States and Europe are going to reach their 103rd or 104th birthday.”
Dr. Kawas said she had seen people 116 years old.
Stahl said that the study participants were invited back six years later and some of the elderly were thriving.
Lou Tirado, a World War II gunner, turned 100 in August. He’s using Zoom, has an iPhone, uses Facebook and talks to Siri.
“Yeah, I tell her every evening, ‘Wake me up at 6:30 tomorrow morning’ and she does,” he said.
A woman, now 102, admitted she didn’t remember her parents.
Some of the people interviewed earlier have died.
The present pandemic crisis with tens of thousands of people dying every week, has amplified the conversations about various age groups.
Dr. Kawas said: “There’s a whole lot of stuff that goes on in the brain, that we have no way of diagnosing during life. So, we get a lot of those surprises, but we also get surprises where people have an awful lot of pathology in their brain and still turn out to be normal.”
She cautioned that having a headache may not be from a disease, but from a hangover.
Sid Shero told the study participants that he remembered buying his first car 80 years ago for $18, in a pool hall.
“It was a ’31 Chevy convertible with a rumble seat,” he said.
Asked why the seller sold the car, “He needed the money to shoot pool.”
A tester asked Sid, “Please tell me, how many nickels in a dollar?
Tester: “How many quarters in six dollars and 75 cents?”
Tester: “Wow, you are quick!”
The 90+ Study is one of the largest studies of the oldest-old in the world. More than 1,600 people have enrolled.
Because little is known about people who achieve this milestone, the remarkable increase in the number of oldest-old presents a public health priority to promote the quality was well as the quantity of life.
A lot of surprising information has been revealed:
• People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.
• People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.
• Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled.
The 90+ Study is ongoing. Participants must commit to two annual visits.