The Zoomer Report: Optimistic Heart Patients Live Longer

Here’s an important finding about the mind-body connection. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that heart patients who were optimistic about their treatment and recovery were more likely to be alive after 15 years than patients with similar disease but lower expectations.

Researchers assessed the level of optimism in 2,800 patients. Over the next 15 years, more than half died, and about half the deaths were related to heart disease. The researchers found that optimism was a strong predictor of overall survival. Patients who scored low on optimism tests were 30 per cent more likely to die during the study period, even after controlling for factors like depression and severity of disease.

And it’s not like they had to be wildly optimistic to get a positive effect. The benefit of optimism was calculated by comparing moderately optimistic patients to moderately pessimistic patients.

The study’s author figures that an optimistic patient is more likely to pay attention to doctors, take medicine regularly and adopt long-term lifestyle changes, compared with a pessimistic patient. Or it may be that optimism helps patients better manage stress and avoid the health consequences associated with it.

Photo © sturti

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report

Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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