This time last year, I saw mention of a 90+ study by University of Southern California/Irving. They needed volunteers, it said, and so I did that–volunteered. Evidently it’s not that easy to locate active 90 year olds, and they are needed as contrast to 90 year olds who are not still active. By October 2010 I was all signed up, had agreed to leave my brain to USC (a requirement for participation), and two members of the USC staff came to visit me at my condo here in Florida.
They spent a couple hours with me doing all kinds of tests from counting backwards from 100, counting backwards by threes, remembering number sequences that got longer and longer, and remembering a series of words over the whole time period. I had to walk a straight line while video was taken, answer interview-type questions as to my lifestyle, and many other things. It was interesting!
Six months later (ten days ago) they came back and will come back every six months, I presume until I pass on. Did all the same tests, some new ones (I think) and this time they took a DNA swab as well. Upshot? They tell me I’d not slipped at all in 6 months! That’s the only reward you get for participating (other than the satisfaction of helping advance knowledge of Alzheimer’s and other aging diseases)–you get to know if you’re slipping. But then, I ASKED, if you’re the kind who’d rather not know, they wouldn’t tell you.
Just the other day my Google Alert for the word “nonagenarian” brought me an article all about this study I participate in! It’s by Helen Dennis in a publication called The Daily Breeze , and titled “We all can learn from active nonagenarians. ” In the article, Dennis quotes Allan Richardson, director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas saying that “active 90-year-olds are difficult to locate.” http://www.dailybreeze.com/lifeandculture.ci_18562467
If you’re an active nonagenarian and interested in participating in scientific studies, check it out at above link. There may even be such studies at a university in your own state.
One finding by USC in studies done thus far? Those who drank a moderate amount of alcohol and coffee lived longer than those who did not. Nice to hear since I still do both.