Having a zest for life and being resilient could also protect against Alzheimer’s.
Experts were stunned when they carried out brain scans of superagers in their 80s, and 90s. Despite having symptoms associated with dementia, they seemed unaffected by it.
They had a higher proportion in their brain of a rare type of brain cell called Von Economo.The cell is sometimes called a ‘spindle’ neuron and is thought to play a role in being sociable. Professor Emily Rogalski, of Northwestern University in Chicago, said: ‘The findings suggest that superagers have unique personality profiles.’ She told the AAAS: ‘We ask them why is it that you think you are a superager, how did you get here? And there are a couple of funny ladies and they will say: ‘‘Well it’s because I have a Martini with my friends every day at 5 o’clock’’.’
She added: ‘This theme of resilience is also an important one. When we think about how we face life’s challenges... it seems superagers figure out how to move forward, so they are going to bounce back from stress.’