Well, I’m not yet a SuperAger—though I hope to be—but this latest aging study confirms what we might kinda, sorta already know: strong social ties are good for us, can even make us healthier.
As reporter Kate Thayer writes in “Being social and sharp,” (Chicago Tribune, 9 November 2017):
“Such strong friendships [as those of 103 year-old Edith Smith] may contribute to higher cognitive functioning and sharper memory in adults as they age, according to a new study by researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. The latest findings are part of Northwestern’s study of so-called SuperAgers — adults 80 or older with the cognitive abilities of those in their 50s or 60s.”
Now I’ve not studied the science that looks at the social, even tribal, relationships among human beings, but I’d guess they have, from the git-go, allowed us to survive, especially in hostile environments.
And not only physically.
There are surely emotional and psychological reasons for bonding with others, joining forces with them, creating group names and secret handshakes. And it turns out, spoiler alert, that the need for these bonds never goes away: more than simply persisting, our social ties may allow us to persist.
I marked several passages in Thayer’s article, but was heartened to learn from Emily Rogalski, senior author of the Northwestern study that it was “the first to go beyond biological factors of SuperAgers.”
Yes, we are more than our biology, our physical selves, something SuperAgers have likely learned along their long journey.
To read more, and especially to make the acquaintance of Edith Smith, champion SuperAger, click here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-friendships-help-memory-study-20171106-story.html