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Staying Optimistic Might Lengthen Your Life

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An upbeat view of life may increase your odds for living to a ripe old age, new research suggests.

The finding stems from a look at optimism and longevity among nearly 70,000 women and 1,400 men. It builds on earlier research linking higher levels of optimism to lower risks of chronic illness and premature death.

“This study took us further by suggesting that optimistic people are more likely to achieve ‘exceptional longevity,’ which we defined as living to age 85 or older,” said study lead author Lewina Lee, a clinical research psychologist with the U.S. National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System.

Compared to their least optimistic counterparts, the most optimistic men and women studied were 50% to 70% more likely to reach that advanced milestone, Lee said.

They were also 11% to 15% more likely to live longer overall, the study found.

The findings held up even after accounting for other influences, such as educational background, marital status, friendships, chronic health problems, and depression, Lee said.

Optimism was also powerful predictor of longevity regardless of a person’s habits when it came to tobacco and alcohol use, exercise, eating well or getting routine medical care.

“Most studies have focused on deficits or problems that increase the risk of dying,” Lee noted. “Our study is novel is that we considered the benefits of a psychological asset — optimism — in promoting longevity.”

The study team suggested that the findings could point the way towards new interventions that might foster optimism and thereby extend life, such as meditation and certain psychotherapy programs.

Lee and her colleagues discuss their findings in the Aug. 26 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They concluded that optimism matters after analyzing data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which focused on women, and the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study, which focused on men.

The women were 58 to 86 years old (average age: 70) when their health habits, overall health and optimistic outlook were first assessed. They were followed for 10 years.

Continued

The men were 41 to 90 years old (average age: 62) when they had a similar assessment and a physical exam in 1986. They were followed for 30 years.

At the end of the tracking periods, researchers found that results for women and men were roughly the same: The more optimistic the individual, the greater the chances for living longer — and the greater the chances for reaching an “exceptional” age.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Debbie Downers are doomed to shorter lives, Lee said. Her team only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link.

“The association between optimism and exceptional longevity was independent of depression,” Lee said. “This suggests that the presence of optimism is more than just the absence of depression,” so that even among those who struggle with depression a little optimism might still work longevity wonders.

Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, said there are many reasons why optimism breeds longevity.

“Optimists experience less stress, because they don’t tend to dwell on negatives and feel more empowered to overcome hurdles,” said Yarrow, who wasn’t involved with the study. “They are less likely to give up, and they bounce back more quickly from problems and setbacks. Stress is a killer and wreaks havoc on our bodies.”

Optimists also are less likely to experience depression, feelings of hopelessness and negativity — factors often linked to poorer health and higher rates of disease, she added.

On top of that, Yarrow said, optimists tend to take better care of themselves and have an easier time making and keeping friends, “a well-documented source of health and longevity.”

She acknowledged that access to money, good food and education and, of course, genetics can also have a big impact on longevity.

But unlike good genes, Yarrow said, “optimism and her powerful sister, gratitude, can be learned.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Lewina Lee, Ph.D., clinical research psychologist, U.S. National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and assistant professor, psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., professor emerita, Golden Gate University, San Francisco;Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aug. 26, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Animation Production Days Wraps on Optimistic Note

The 13th edition of Animation Production Days drew to a close in Stuttgart Friday night. During the course of the two-day event, about 800 one-on-one meetings between producers and potential production and financing partners for new animation projects were held in Stuttgart’s L-Bank. APD is the most important business platform for animation projects in Germany and takes place every year as part of the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) and FMX – Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media.

“A spirit of optimism is prevailing in the industry, something we also noticed in the high number and consistently excellent quality of the submitted projects. There is a huge programming demand from the buyers. For this reason, we are confident that many of these projects will find a successful path to production,” said Marlene Wagener, Head of APD.

“We are particularly delighted that up-and-coming talents presented such original and highly promising projects at this year’s APD,” noted Prof. Andreas Hykade, Conference Chair FMX and Co-Organiser of APD. “Young filmmakers are using their short films as springboards for ambitious series with international appeal. Hopefully, these talents will find the partners to help them finance and produce their projects.”

This year, the jury selected 50 projects with a combined production value of around 180 million euros to be presented at APD. Alongside classic children’s series and family films, cross-media concepts, games, VR projects and online formats were also represented, including numerous projects for teenage and adult audiences. Subject matters ranged from edutainment, comedy, adventure stories and fantasy for kids, to historical and political material, animated documentaries, satire and science fiction. The 165 participants from 23 countries discussed financing strategies and collaborations for these projects in around 800 one-on-one meetings and at various APD networking events.

“The animation industry is undergoing a disruptive transformation too, but this is also providing a great chance for new formats and content,” said Prof. Ulrich Wegenast, Managing Director – Programme, ITFS and Co-Organiser of APD. “I’m delighted that APD is reacting to this potential via the opportunities given to and the integration of new players like streaming platforms. Thus, linking the two ITFS events, the Trickstar Professional Awards and the mini-conference on VR, AI and Blockchain – New Business Models for Animation to APD makes a lot of sense.”

“We also sense the aforementioned spirit of optimism from the international animation industry in the ITFS which we want to support with additional industry events. With these and FMX we are a beacon of the German animation scene shining far beyond Europe,” added Dieter Krauß, Managing Director – Organisation and Finance, ITFS and Co-Organiser of APD.

Alongside German TV channels ZDF, KiKA, SWR, HR, MDR, Super RTL and Disney, big European and international broadcasters were also represented, including the BBC, Canal+, France Télévisions, Turner, Sony Pictures Television and DHX, as well as numerous world sales agents. Streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Hopster also proved to be popular meeting partners.

“For us it’s a very useful event,” commented Zia Bales of Turner Broadcasting (U.K.) “We can meet new partners here that we cannot meet at other markets. And it’s a very focused atmosphere, you really have time to talk.”

Over 300 visitors attended this year’s APD Conference which took place on Thursday afternoon in the rotunda of Stuttgart’s L-Bank, and which was also open to industry guests from FMX and ITFS.

Learn more at www.animationproductiondays.de.

Animation Magazine

Eric Holder “Cautiously Optimistic” in Regards to Legal Marijuana

According to CNN, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he is “cautiously optimistic” when it comes to Colorado and Washington’s implementation of regulated and legal adult marijuana control systems.

Eric Holder

“We don’t want to put into the federal system, low level people who are simply there for possessory offenses,” Holder stated Monday in an interview with CNN’s Evan Perez.

Last year, the DOJ chose eight enforcement areas that the department would concentrate on in a move aimed at calming nerves in Colorado and Washington. The eight “priority areas” have focused on the Justice Department’s attempts to prevent marijuana distribution to minors, as well as inter-state trafficking and violence associated with the illegal trade.

However, Holder noted in his interview Monday that the Justice Department could reverse its non-interventionist stance if Colorado and Washington’s regulatory frameworks are not up to par.

“What I’ve told the governors of those states is that if we’re not satisfied with their regulatory scheme that we reserve the right to come in and sue them. So we’ll see,” Holder said.

It remains to be seen how the new attorney general will treat states that decide to end marijuana prohibition going forward, but supportive lawmakers continue to push legislation that will finally protect states from federal interference and allow them to determine their own marijuana policies.


MPP Blog

Doctors Cautiously Optimistic About ‘Cure’ for HIV-Infected Babies

THURSDAY March 6, 2014, 2014 — The hope that newborns can be “cured” of HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — with early, aggressive drug treatment was bolstered this week with the announcement that a second baby appears to be free of the virus following therapy that began just four hours after her birth.

The child, born at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., is now 9 months old and is considered HIV-negative, researchers reported Wednesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.

The first baby apparently cured by early drug therapy — the so-called “Mississippi baby” — is now more than 3 years old and also remains free of HIV infection, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, an associate professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

Persaud, who presented the findings Wednesday on the California baby, has also been involved with continued monitoring of the Mississippi baby.

While the two cases have key differences, taken together they seem to indicate that newborns can be cured of infection with HIV if doctors begin treatment within hours of birth.

A federally funded clinical trial will start within a couple of months to arrive at a more scientific assessment of the treatment, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In the trial, as many as 60 babies who are born with HIV will be put on an antiretroviral drug regimen within 48 hours of birth.

The results of the trial could change the way doctors treat HIV-infected newborns, altering thinking that up until now has favored caution because these drugs can be extremely toxic.

“You have to get the data from the trial. You don’t want to jump ahead of yourself,” Fauci said. “But data that shows when you treat a baby immediately you can actually cure a baby, that changes the equation of risk/benefit. That makes a doctor lean much more toward immediate treatment.”

More than 1,000 babies are born with HIV every day around the globe, according to UNICEF.

The mother of the California baby has advanced AIDS and is mentally ill, researchers said. She had been prescribed HIV medications to protect her baby, but had not taken them, according to published reports.

Normally, doctors put children born to HIV-positive mothers on a two-medication regimen until the virus appears in the babies’ bloodstream, which can take as long as two weeks. At that point, they move to a more aggressive three-drug regimen.

But in the cases of the Mississippi and California babies, doctors chose to quickly put the newborns on the more aggressive regimen, with stunning results.

Fauci noted that doctors can’t yet call the California baby “cured” of HIV infection because she remains on the antiretroviral drug therapy.

“The proof of the pudding is when you take the baby off therapy, and the virus does not bounce back,” he said.

The Mississippi baby provides a more striking case because doctors lost track of the mother and child 18 months after her birth, at which point drug therapy ceased. Doctors next saw the child about 10 months later, and were surprised when they found that the girl remained HIV-free despite receiving no further treatment.

“You can say with a much higher degree of confidence that the Mississippi baby is definitely cured,” Fauci said.

The timing and the heavy medication dose apparently may have prevented HIV from gaining a foothold in the infants’ immune systems, said Dr. Roberto Posada, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

HIV typically creates a reservoir in the bodies of those it infects, where it can lay dormant and later return when drug therapy is suspended.

Because adults often don’t find out they have been infected until months or years later, it’s unlikely that the successful treatment of these babies would have any implications for adult HIV therapy, Posada noted.

“It’s difficult to extrapolate these results to adults because babies are so different from adults,” he said. “Their immune systems are at a different stage of development, and you know exactly when they have been infected with HIV — at birth.”

At the same time, these findings do emphasize the importance of treating HIV in adults as early as possible, Fauci said.

More information

For more on HIV infection of newborns, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted: March 2014

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