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Researchers Find 70-Year-Olds Are Getting Smarter

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the watch-how-they-drive dept.

Medicine 115

Pickens writes "AlphaGalileo reports that researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden have found in a forty-year study of 2,000 seniors that today's 70-year-olds do far better in intelligence tests than their predecessors, making it more difficult to detect dementia in its early stages. 'Using the test results, we've tried to identify people who are at risk of developing dementia,' says Dr. Simona Sacuiu. 'While this worked well for the group of 70-year-olds born in 1901-02, the same tests didn't offer any clues about who will develop dementia in the later generation of 70-year-olds born in 1930.' The 70-year-olds born in 1930 and examined in 2000 performed better in the intelligence tests than their predecessors born in 1901-02 and examined in 1971. 'The improvement can partly be explained by better pre- and neonatal care, better nutrition, higher quality of education, better treatment of high blood pressure and other vascular diseases, and not least the higher intellectual requirements of today's society, where access to advanced technology, television and the Internet has become part of everyday life,' says Sacuiu."

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and get off my... (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001934)

and get off my alopecurus pratensis!

Re:and get off my... (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002010)

Man, I'd hate to have to mow your lawn [wikipedia.org] ....

Re:and get off my... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002070)

ALL grass looks like that if you don't mow it.

Re:and get off my... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002778)

No, it doesn't. Around here in the South we have a lawn turf that grows only three to five inches tall - Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipede). Even seventy year olds can maintain it with little effort. :)

Re:and get off my... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003614)

Even seventy year olds can maintain it with little effort. :)

Until the kudzu eats them, anyway.

Re:and get off my... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004622)

Most grasses used for lawns don't reach 3+ feet in height. Bermuda, fescue (the varieties that are used for lawns, anyway), St. Augustine grass, Kentucky bluegrass, etc. all top out at anywhere from four inches to about a foot and a half if left uncut. And although the stuff towards the taller end of that spectrum is tall enough to be a pain, it is at least feasible to mow it without a brush hog towed behind a tractor....

Re:and get off my... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34005434)

Okay, I stand corrected. For one, the "viney" kind of grass (with rhizomes) tends to spread horizontal instead of grow vertical. I did used to mow nearly 3-foot grass as a teen. It was generally natural grass (or at least not deliberately planted). A lot of work, but it earned me some pocket change.

Re:and get off my... (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34005420)

You ain't seen nothing yet.

http://books.google.com/books?id=M2lbSTsbfGsC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=Triodia+injuries&source=bl&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&sqi=2&q&f=false#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com]

You are just lucky that you don't have to mow that. You can enjoy it if you go to some outbackish places in Australia. I was made painfully aware of that grass while walking through an old mining area in Western Australia. The open mine shafts can be even more dangerous.

Re:and get off my... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002740)

You youngsters and your new fancy words. Before the 1750ies we used to call everything from the poaceae family for grass.

Re:and get off my... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004878)

I *HATE* those damn weeds. Impossible to pull up.

arbeit macht smart... (3, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001946)

it's well documented that staying active in the workforce is good for the brain, at least when compared to the sedentary tv-filled days of most retirees.

todays 70-year-olds are smarter.... because most of them can't afford to retire.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (5, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001962)

Or is it? NPR recently ran a story [npr.org] reporting that "mentally stimulating lifestyles may speed up dementia once it hits in old age." It's not a long read but it's certainly relevent to the discussion. Maybe these 70-year olds are merely enjoying the delay effects described?

So for those who are mentally engaged, it may take many more years for the symptoms of the disease to appear. But once they do, the course of the disease seems to speed up. Researchers say there's a bit of a silver lining here: knowing that the disease will likely progress more quickly. "We think this is very good news," Wilson says. "It suggests that cognitive activity extends your period of cognitive independence as long as it possibly can." And it will likely shorten the battle at the end of life. This means Alzheimer's patients may be less of a burden to caregivers and loved ones.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0, Troll)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002066)

"This means Alzheimer's patients may be less of a burden to caregivers and loved ones." Jesus, might as well just euthanize them if that's your attitude.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (5, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002258)

Your logic is flawed.

Concern for caregivers/families != lack of concern for the patients.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004990)

No, my logic was that they wouldn't burden the families at all if we just eliminated them, and as the AC below me posted, they'd all be lucky to have that happen.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (3, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#34005702)

No, the GP was right. You're missing that we specifically don't want to kill the Alzheimer's patients. Because we have concern for them.

Just because you want them to not be a great burden if you can help it doesn't mean you'll do anything to eliminate any burden.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002966)

Jesus, might as well just euthanize them if that's your attitude.

How 'bout, "Lucky bastards!" Given a choice, would you rather lie around suffering for 5 to 10 years, or would you rather work for seven of those years, then go out quickly, as in weeks or months?

Maybe you need to watch 'Grumpy Old Men' again. Lucky bastards, indeed. Give me a massive frigging coronary when it's my time to go.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003172)

"This means Alzheimer's patients may be less of a burden to caregivers and loved ones."
Jesus, might as well just euthanize them if that's your attitude.

I don't think so. The end game is the same - your brain rots and you die - at about the same time in either case. In the more mentally stimulated case though the curve is flat with a steep decline at the end vs the idle brain where the decline is more steady.

Which would you prefer for the patient and the caregiver?

Re:arbeit macht smart... (4, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003358)

So which is better:

Patient A: 9 years dementia free, 1 year of dementia, death.
Patient B: 1 year dementia free, 9 years of dementia, death.

Or did you genuinely not understand the point being made?

Re:arbeit macht smart... (3, Insightful)

xs650 (741277) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004338)

Or put another way...

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well
preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,
chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body
thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!"

    --Anon

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004986)

Yes, I got that, but I'm saying that you might as well just go: C: 9 years dementia free, euthanize, only having to live for a few weeks with dementia.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34005314)

They are still "home" til very close to the end so that's pretty tough. You don't go from "Okay!" to "Gone".
My father was 'still home' for at least a few hours a day up until 2 months before he died from forgetting how to swallow.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34005336)

So you think that you understood? You are the one suggesting that killing someone before the end of their natural span can be considered the same as the other two cases. It can not. The article never suggested that it could and you alone have twisted what was said to try and make your point.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34006622)

>>And it will likely shorten the battle at the end of life. This means Alzheimer's patients may be less of a burden to caregivers and loved ones.

applies to what I suggested, also.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34007018)

But the difference is that what you have suggested is not a good idea.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003448)

Ask most old people about their fears of Alzheimers and high on their list is being a burden. Or generally not be productive.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004998)

Okay, so, euthanize them, problem solved?

Re:arbeit macht smart... (4, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002178)

Or is it? NPR recently ran a story [npr.org] reporting that "mentally stimulating lifestyles may speed up dementia once it hits in old age." It's not a long read but it's certainly relevent to the discussion. Maybe these 70-year olds are merely enjoying the delay effects described?

It's probably the case that the mental stimulation is having no effect on the disease itself, but is helping a lot with allowing the effects of the disease to be masked by the increased plasticity of the rest of the brain. In other words, you're going at the same time but you're suffering far less.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34005500)

Or maybe the world wide great depression of the 1930s and the world war slowed down the breeding of the stupid and culled a number out of the gene mix...........

Re:arbeit macht smart... (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002294)

Maybe it's because today's 70-year-olds are more educated than their predecessors were. If we look at what time frames today's seniors verses yester-decade's seniors grew up in we'll find more of the older generation came from times when child labor was more common, education depreciated for the common man, and agriculture families were more common. Fewer kids stayed in school beyond what was required by law (if there were requirements in their state) so they were on average less educated.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003170)

... basically, they're getting better at doing IQ tests, as they're more used to solving that sort of problem.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (5, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002332)

"todays 70-year-olds are smarter.... because most of them can't afford to retire."

It's in Sweden, their geezers _can_ retire, no problem.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (2, Funny)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002610)

In Korea, only old people... I forget.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (2, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003298)

In Korea, only old people go to work because everyone else is too busy playing Starcraft.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (3, Funny)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002576)

it's well documented that staying active in the workforce is good for the brain, at least when compared to the sedentary tv-filled days of most retirees.

Great! Now the French goverment have their motto!

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002628)

As IQ is an average, it could just mean the sub-twenties are slipping into the sub-100s and the seventies are seeming smarter in comparison. There are of course plenty of studies that show the elderly who use computers maintain higher intellectual skills as they age. The internet versus the idiot box, they call it an idiot box http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiot_box [wikipedia.org] for a reason, just look at the Fox not-News Channel the idiots channel, beckerheads one and all.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (5, Informative)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002826)

"it's well documented that staying active in the workforce is good for the brain"

And this has to do with Sweden exactly, what?

Sweden, you know, is one of those old European countries USA people would tell as communist as old Soviet Union if some from its life style would be tried in America. Swedish oldies have no problem to retire and they do on average at 61 with all Swedish residents entitled to a state-financed guaranteed minimum pension from the age of 65, which is the standard retirement age over there.

"todays 70-year-olds are smarter.... because most of them can't afford to retire."

Again, USA is not the all and everything of the world.

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34006672)

*sigh* or, y'know, the editor could have made sure important information like that was in the summary.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a flag and name of country next to each article so that the editors were required to check basic stuff like this out, and make it clear to readers?

Re:arbeit macht smart... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002986)

it's well documented that staying active in the workforce is good for the brain

Where?

Re:arbeit macht smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004674)

Here. [youtube.com]

Re:arbeit macht smart... (5, Funny)

August_zero (654282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003402)

Meanwhile in the United States, the popularity of the "Snuggie" suggests that dementia may be setting in as early as age 30.

Well... (4, Funny)

mederbil (1756400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001950)

...There predecessors are in their 80s and 90s now or dead. If a 70 year old isn't smarter than a dead person, then I don't understand science!

Re:Well... (4, Funny)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001980)

...There predecessors are in their 80s and 90s now or dead. If a 70 year old isn't smarter than a dead person, then I don't understand science!

Clearly, you don't understand science.

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002166)

Well, he probably isn't 70 yet so give him a couple of years.

Re:Well... (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002232)

Or grammar...

Rgds

Damon

Re:Well... (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004434)

I wasn't gonna say it, but somebody had to.

Dammit, seniors! (5, Funny)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34001978)

...researchers from the Universiy of Gothenburg, Sweden have found in a forty year study of 2,000 seniors that today's 70-year-olds do far better in intelligence tests than their predecessors making it more difficult to detect dementia in its early stages.

Dammit, seniors! Get dumber so we can detect your dementia!

Re:Dammit, seniors! (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002142)

Don't worry about it. With the educational system in the US being what it is, give it another 30-40 years and that same test will determine that like all the 70 year olds have dementia. Another 30-40 years after that the testing stuff will determine our shit is like tarded and all fucked up.

Idiocracy, here we come.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (4, Insightful)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002592)

Dementia doesn't get anywhere near the funding it should. There's all these cancer charities - mostly focused on breast cancer whereas nobody appears to care about brain cancer or lung cancer (you don't just get it by smoking), while demetia sufferers need far more support, cost far more time and money to treat, and frankly I'd take prostate cancer over altzheimers any day. At least on my death bed I'll be able to remember who my sister is.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003054)

Dementia doesn't get anywhere near the funding it should. There's all these cancer charities - mostly focused on breast cancer whereas nobody appears to care about brain cancer or lung cancer (you don't just get it by smoking)

I, for one, refuse to support dementia or cancer of any type, and you should too. Just say no to funding these awful things!

Re:Dammit, seniors! (3, Interesting)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003196)

Dementia doesn't get anywhere near the funding it should. There's all these cancer charities -

Not to be rude, but at some level there's a limit to what can be funded. Perhaps more could be funded in total and there should be more dementia research funding over cancer research funding. But, I was always under the impression that cancer research got more attention because people were more concerned about children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults, and pre-seniors all not dying of cancer than someone who has lived a full life having a few years--sadly, mind you--with a much reduced quality of life--a factor that's nearly guaranteed once you're old enough. Beyond that, cancer is a host of related problems which seems much more curable.

mostly focused on breast cancer

I'd attribute that to vanity, honestly, (as mastectomy is a very effective cure) but it could simply be that breast cancer is one of the most easily and early diagnosable cancers. Almost everything else requires an MRI or symptoms to even begin to suspect something is wrong.

whereas nobody appears to care about brain cancer or lung cancer (you don't just get it by smoking),

At least for brain cancer, I'd imagine it's because a lot of brain cancers are inoperable (in large part because they're so late detected and hence most of the damage is already done), but I agree lung cancer (IIRC, a good 20%+ are non-smoking related) should probably receive more focus/funding. Having said that, since cancer seems to be a serious of very similar ailments, a cure or treatment in one area could quite possible translate very strongly in almost all other areas, so any cancer research should do.

while demetia sufferers need far more support, cost far more time and money to treat, and frankly I'd take prostate cancer over altzheimers any day

Old age suffers need far more support (costing far more time and money to aid) than almost any other group (babies and toddlers require more) generally, so I don't think treating dementia matters greatly in that regard. As for prostate cancer, odds are good you'll suffer that anyways; it's just likely won't kill you. Truthfully, I imagine dementia research has suffered the same problem as brain cancer research: it's hard to diagnosis early and treatment seems near impossible. In fact, one major thing of recent history is that we can now diagnosis pre-alzheimers with a brain scan, which helps greatly in obtain more certain baselines (people might pass or fail the IQ tests given for other reasons and to pass implies you're already a sufferer) and in even thinking about making a treatment (since the best success rates happen most often pre-symptoms).

In short, I think a major reason for the lopsided funded has precisely to do with those factors that look to produce the best results: longer quality of life in more early and easily treatable diseases (worst case, you can remove a breast, but it's harder to remove most of a lung or a large section of brain and expect good results; and symptomatic dementia patients are unlikely to recover). Thankfully, new research with early detection and drug treatments in dementia may help, but we're simply so early in the field that it's only now I'd expect to see a surge in funding.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003492)

Erm... the point of funding research if to find solutions not.... I dunno what ever you thought it was for. Breast cancer deserves more research funding because it is has already been decently solved? Something like 90% of women survive it. Lets shift our focus to something that is "costing far more time and money to aid"... the point of research is to CHANGE that.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003556)

Please fund me! I'm 70 and can be as demented as necessary! Please send funds to me C/O /.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (1)

daremonai (859175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003690)

Ha! You're demented if you think that will work.

Oh, wait, that means I need to fund you.

But then that means it's not such a demented idea after all, and I don't need to fund you!

No, wait, that means .... Ow, my brain hurts. I'll just have to wait until I'm 70 to figure it out.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003218)

Not to mention the fact that you can survive and recover from prostate cancer. My great grandmother had at least 3 strokes before she died. For a while(until she was just too much to handle for them) she lived with my grandparents. They actually had to install a door in the hallway that they could lock, so that at night she could get to a bathroom but couldn't go around the house or, worse, get out of the house. She didn't know people in pictures, she could barely walk, or hardly communicate(I know some of that is different than dementia, but from a cognitive capacity standpoint, they're the same thing). I saw what it did to her and to my grandmother. My great-uncle was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. His went away, but he was recently diagnosed with something that is a precursor of leukemia and is undergoing chemo again. Like you say, I would much rather go through what he's going through than what she did, because while both had the support of our family, he can actually recognize that they're there and that he has a support base.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003528)

Mastectomy works about 75% of the time for stage 1 breast cancer. The other 25% it doesn't work because the cancer metastasizes and spreads to the rest of the body, including the brain. This eventually kills the patient. Eventually may be a long time.

It took 10 years to kill my mother. The brain tumor was found because of dementia.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003256)

I recently read a report by the BBC that over 1% of the global domestic product is going to dementia alone, more than cancer or heart diseases or whatever. Not to forget that Dementia is of far lower priority in third-world countries, in which other diseases kill far more people.

I don't like this western attitude. People raise thousands of bucks for babies who have a very rare condition without even knowing them, yet when it comes to donating a tenner to a child in Africa or somewhere nobody seams to be so eager anymore, even though the benefit would be far greater. Not to say dementia is rare, but complaining about a lack of money is not fair if you think about all the other diseases around there that get even less support and kill even more people.

Re:Dammit, seniors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004942)

Perhaps they should include the penchant for desperate extremism [arstechnica.com] as part of the testing procedure?

Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002106)

Maybe, smart people armed with health information live longer than not-so-smart people. Or, maybe smart people are richer and can afford healthcare.

If I built a fence around my lawn.. (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002116)

You whippersnappers wouldn't be able to get on it in the first place!

* PROBLEM SOLVED *

You're welcome America.

SMRT (1, Interesting)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002118)

Well they must be getting smarter, they surely can't possibly get any dumber. Being against a public option yet if you try to take away their medicare there'll be hell to pay. I wonder how it is that the stupid seem to often outlive the intelligent.

Re:SMRT (4, Interesting)

Troll-in-Training (1815480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002266)

Well they must be getting smarter, they surely can't possibly get any dumber. Being against a public option yet if you try to take away their medicare there'll be hell to pay. I wonder how it is that the stupid seem to often outlive the intelligent.

Stress is a killer, dealing with all the stupid people weakens the smart people and they die sooner. Stupid people are happier and have less stress as they off load it to those smarter than them thus living longer (those that don't win Darwin awards early on). Stupidity has advantages, it is why it will always be with us.

This was known even to Kafka (5, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002276)

If you are locked up in a room, detached from communication with the outside world and people look at you as a piece of furniture, you expire faster.

Besides, same is true of all animals, not only 70 year old homo sapiens. Me and my neighbour got our dogs from the same litter almost 19 years ago.

He left his dog more or less on its own. It was a happy and long living pup, but died demented at an age of 15 and a half.

My dog (blame the SO as much as me) has had extensive health care -- supplements, regular checkups, and uses a DIY robo-wheel-chair for walks now, because the hind legs cannot support the weight anymore. It is still alive (almost 19 years old) and alert, although completely deaf and almost blind from the cataract.

So, yeah, medical care, attention and stimulation work.

What else is new?

I'll take the bait (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002432)

> and uses a DIY robo-wheel-chair for walks now

Any chance you will (or already have) posted instructions or a description of this invention?

I was kind of hoping that by the time my dog will need it, there'd be an affordable exoskeleton available for this problem; on the other hand, given my dog's temperament, he'd be afraid of his own exoskeleton.

Re:I'll take the bait (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34007388)

Nothing fancy, unfortunately, it is a basic bot -- a frame with wheels, some motors attached and a few microcontrollers and sensors and an RC which I use to walk it. Not even sure there is enough value to post it separately.

I am not that original, or skillful, sadly.

Re:This was known even to Kafka (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003332)

How alert can he really be if he's blind and deaf? And he can't walk under his own power? I had a golden retriever/german shepherd mix for 14 years, and at that point he had long out-lived every other dog in his litter. He started having seizures and one eventually caused him to go blind. I found out that my parents had to take him and put him down a week after thanksgiving, after my sister showed up at my dorm, forced a cigarette at me and told me she had bad news at like, 7 in the morning.

I don't know what kind of dog you have, but 15 years is a pretty good run for any dog. 19 seems to be sort of pushing it, especially if he's basically an invalid dog. It seems sort of cruel to me, honestly.

Re:This was known even to Kafka (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003404)

What a way to start smoking :(

Stimulation (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002298)

My dad retired from rockwell at 65 and I was worried for while because spent a couple of years cruising around the country with his girlfriend in their winnebago. Not very stimulating and a recipe for a second heart attack IMHO.

But now he is getting into U3A [griffith.edu.au] and spending seemingly half the week there. He is teaching courses, taking courses. Reorganising their local area network, installing servers, griping and moaning about this guy who built the sites databases in access, and generally having a fantastic time.

I just wish I could get him to walk or cycle to U3A rather than driving. Its only five km or so and he can't afford to have his heart seize up again.

I think there used to be this expectation that retirement was a time when you could catch up on all that TV you were missing and create the lawn. Baby boomers have different expectations and this may be helping their prospects.

Re:Stimulation (2, Insightful)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002396)

I read a great article [msn.com] a couple years back about seniors moving into retirement communities close to university campuses and since then I've known how I want to retire. It makes perfect sense too - universities get another source of income and a really interesting new dynamic in class and on campus, and the older folks benefit from the non-stop hum of activity a university represents and the huge range of services they provide. I know when I was a student there were multiple university-sponsored events occuring every day, pretty much every hour too, and that's excluding the toga-parties et al. If the elderly are looking to keep their minds active it just seems a really good idea.

Lawn Stimulation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002958)

That was about five years ago. They should do a follow up to see if it was as successful as they hoped.

tru dat, mang (2, Interesting)

pxc (938367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004918)

I've personally found that one of the biggest advantages of taking a course at a community college vs a big university is that there are more people 30+ years old. In every class, there is a time almost daily that one of these students has insight to offer that they've gained from the professional world (eg. working in the healthcare industry) or their personal lives (having kids makes you a valuable asset to any psychology class :-). There are a lot of things I'd never get to hear or understand if I was just in a classroom full of my peers (college-age kids).

In a non-academic context, I've always been fascinated by the stories I've heard from old folks. It's almost unbelievable the amount of jobs and cities and roles that can be crammed into one person's life. So I imagine I'd see the same principle, but to a greater effect in a class with a few elders in it. I would love to see seniors come to study at my university simply because of how much I think it would benefit _me_.

Re:Stimulation (1)

endymion.nz (1093595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34006532)

Let's just hope they aren't eligible for student loans, because we know they aren't going to pay them back.

stupidity (2, Insightful)

dirty_ghost (1673990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002318)

knowledge != intelligence

Re:stupidity (1)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003362)

Yeah, it upsets me that the seeming majority of people actually equate those. I think the problem arises from "intelligence" being vaguely defined in common usage. Does intelligence imply abstract reasoning? Creativity? Simply being quick with arithmetic? We could really use a bunch of new words to cover the differences between these abilities, which are all intellectual, but vastly different.

Re:stupidity (2, Interesting)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003424)

I am no so sure about that, the brain is a complex organ, it might be possible that if you store more info (knowledge) you also get more intelligent. The brain is not like a memory chip where you store and remove data without actually changing the hardware, the simple fact of memorizing stuff for example changes your brain. Also, memorizing is not a passive activity, usually you (and your brain) are actively involved in the process.

Also, talking from the other side of the equation about intelligence, it's pretty obvious to me that human intelligence is based on knowledge, since you can't have intelligence in the absence of knowledge, then I would guess the amount of knowledge is important too (if nothing else, think GIGO)

Re:stupidity (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34007194)

You can have intelligence in the lack of knowledge, GIGO notwithstanding. Given a set of premises, and taking a logical decision on those premises does not in any make it a bad decision if one of those premises are wrong. The garbage that comes out is at least correct garbage.

Re:stupidity (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004654)

And this can be demonstrated by dimensional analysis!

Statistical Significance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002328)

Or since the studies were only done on 600 patients the results are not statistically significant.

informative Ho8oHomo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002350)

bleak futur3. In yes, I work for

Same test for both groups (2, Interesting)

Jesus_Corpse (190811) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002402)

From a quick glance in the article, I couldn't find whether or not the test was the same for the 70 year-olds born in 1900 and in 1930. Classic intelligence tests (IQ tests) need to be 'normalized' every few years, because the general populace is getting smarter. If they used the same test, this is not at all surprising. It would hold for a much wider range of ages

Re:Same test for both groups (1)

elwinc (663074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003328)

I think part of the issue here is that IQ tests do not actually measure what they purport to measure. In other words, IQ is supposed to be an innate and immutable indicator of a person's ability. But whatever it is that IQ tests measure, that measurement can be changed by education and cultural circumstances. IQ is supposed to be purely about ability, but in fact it is very much about achievement. And the latest generation of 70 year olds have achieved more, so they score better.

Re:Same test for both groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004844)

An IQ test by definition must be a standardized test.

People these days in the US take standardized tests nearly every work day from the age 4 to 22.

You come up with a standardized test that people who have trained for 18 years in test-taking will do the same as those who had educations based around learning.

I'm here, too (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002420)

80 is the new 60. At this point in life, many of us revert to the "and 1/2" definition favored by 5 year-olds. I'm 77 and three quarters.

I believe that physical, emotional and mental activity prolong life.

Length of life is not as important as quality of life. A factor that's helping me have both is the exceptional preventive health care I get from the US Veteran's Administration. Fifteen years ago, they diagnosed and cured my prostate cancer before it got into my system. They caught my diabetes early, before it did any damage to my heart, eyes, kidneys, etc. and I am healthier for it today.

Sigmund Freud said that mental and emotional health can be measured by ones ability to love and to work. An involved and active life provides both its own health giving benefits and its ongoing joy. I own a business, in which I do most of the work, that builds and hosts web sites. I am active in my community, participating in local issue discussions and confronting office holders to do their jobs. I go out to a movie - big room, big screen - about once a week. I regularly attend live theater, opera, ballet and concerts regularly. I take a good long and fast walk every day, regardless of weather. I have dinner or breakfast with friends at least once a week. When television switched to digital format on June 12, 2009, I gave away my rabbit-ears tv set and have not missed a damn bit of it. In the past 10 years I have spent months at a time as as a traveller (not a tourist) through China, India, Australia, small countries of Asia, many Caribbean islands, etc. and of course, the USA, by bus and train after flying in.

I have a social and sex life. Last week I married a woman 22 years younger than me. She and I first met in 1987, so I admit that both of us have been a little slow in getting to this point.

Most important of all, I have lived the life of Mark Twain espoused. When he was asked, near the end of that long and exciting life filled with crushing failures and exhilarating successes, if he had any regrets, he reflected for a moment and said, "Regrets? Many. And every one of them because of a temptation I resisted."

Carpe diem.

Re:I'm here, too (1)

endymion.nz (1093595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34006548)

80 is the new 60. At this point in life, many of us revert to the "and 1/2" definition favored by 5 year-olds. I'm 77 and three quarters.

That's the dementia starting.

I told you... (1, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34002474)

...we should have voted for McCain!

Re:I told you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002788)

A man who doesn't know how many houses he owns? [politico.com] I'd say that's a first sign of dementia if I ever saw one!

Re:I told you... (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003050)

John McCain's problem wasn't his age: His problem was that he openly embraced the crazy side of his party (with Sarah Palin as just the tip of that iceberg).

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002580)

Pfft. Even my granny could have told them that.

Neuroscience has changed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34002704)

We used to think people had all the neurons they were going to have by their early twenties. It was all downhill from there. We now know that we can grow new neurons. We also know that the brain can wire around damage.

We now know that the brain is a lot like a muscle. Exercise builds the brain just like it does muscles. Seniors don't have to be feeble. The reason most seniors are feeble is that they quit exercising. Seniors who exercise physically aren't feeble physically. Seniors who exercise their brains aren't feeble minded. BTW, physical exercise is also important for the brain. The brain relies on nourishment from the rest of the body. A feeble body doesn't give the brain what it needs.

The new mantra is 'use it or lose it'.

No ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003252)

it's just that the 30 year olds running the tests are getting dumber

Flynn Effect (1)

Masterofpsi (1643965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003518)

Am I misunderstanding this, or does this just sound like a logical extension of the Flynn effect [wikipedia.org] ? Everyone's getting smarter, and "everyone" naturally includes seniors, so . . .

Err, not quite so true in the UK (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003538)

Yesterday, my friend's 70 year old dad scalded himself by pouring water from the kettle over his hand to test "whether it had boiled yet". Fortunately we didn't miss the match back home, having been fast-tracked through casualty since he's a doctor at the local hospital.

Poster Geezer For This (3, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003576)

My masters adviser was a guy named John Fenn. He's now 93 and still quite active in academia today.

When he was about 70 Yale University tried to forcibly retire the guy. The laugh about this is that about this time he started a course of research into characterization of protein molecules that led to a Nobel Prize, awarded in 2002. Because of the retirement flap he left Yale and is now at Virginia Commonwealth.

So was he smart at age 70? Duh.

Re:Poster Geezer For This (2, Informative)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004652)

A one percentile example anecdote does not prove the rule, but it _is_ pleasant to read about - precisely because it is so uncommon.

Can't we do something about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003578)

> ... making it more difficult to detect dementia in its early stages.

Isn't it some treatment to bring dementia to manifest earlier, so we can treat it precociously?

(*) As usual, I'll probably be modded as troll, and /. will do some port scans in my machine -- possible related to a past grade of trolling associated with my IP. Fine, no problem -- after all, I'm surely not here for the karma... but just for the sake of an intellectually profitable conversation, let me warn you there is something named "irony" (look it up if you don't believe me). It's regrettable that it came down to me having to send a guide to reading my posts. Meh...

Thank you Nintendo (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003652)

CLEARLY Brain Age is responsible for this.

no there not (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004070)

look whom they vote for.....

All age groups scoring higher on IQ tests? (1)

KenSeymour (81018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004936)

I have read that every 20 or 25 years or so the IQ tests have to be re-calibrated to make them harder. This is because of the Flynn effect.

The average IQ scores rise 3 points per decade or 10 points per generation.

One explanation I have heard is that the tests measure how abstract your thinking is and each generation has more and more developed abstract thinking.

So this result should have been expected.

My poor mom is 71 and has dementia. When you loved ones get this, you lose them a little at a time instead of all at once. She used to read voraciously and carry on intellectual conversations. Now that is all gone. She taught me to think for myself.

A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34005588)

Now lets just get working on the 10-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds.....

an excuse, because epSos.de said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34006294)

It is very logical, if you consider how their education and background was.
They started out as children of people who believed that the sun rotates around the earth.

Also, they are smarter, because the previous 70-year-olds were not very well educated and healthy.

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