Danish research suggests that 90-year-olds are surviving into very old age while retaining better mental performance and overall functioning.
Danish people born in 1915 had better survival and scored significantly better on both the cognitive tests and the activities of daily living scale than those born in 1905, even after allowing for better education, despite being two years older at the time of assessment.
The chance of surviving into the 10th decade of life has increased by about 30% each decade for people born in 1895, 1905 and 1915. People born in 1915 scored higher in cognitive tests when aged over 90, compared with those born a decade earlier. Better standards of living and life-long intellectual stimulation may be important factors.
“This finding suggests that more people are living to older ages with better overall functioning.”
Read more: BBC News. Over-90s ‘defying mental decline’.
Briggs, H. (2013). Over-90s ‘defying mental decline’. London: BBC Health News, July 11th 2013.
This relates to:
Full Text Link (b) (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Christensen, K. Thinggaard, M. Oksuzyan, A. [et al] (2013). Physical and cognitive functioning of people older than 90 years: a comparison of two Danish cohorts born 10 years apart. The Lancet, July 11th 2013. [Epub ahead of print].
Full Text Link (c) (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Rikkert, M.G.M.O. [and] Melis, R (2013). Nonagenarians challenge predictions of cognitive decline. The Lancet, July 11th 2013. [Epub ahead of print].
Readers may wish to read the NHS Choices critical appraisal:
Health has improved among over-90s. London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, July 11th 2013.