Living to age 90 and beyond

January 05, 2015
Living beyond age 90

What allows people to live 90 and beyond? Believe it or not, drinking the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine may be one of the ways to increase your life expectancy.

According to UC Irvine’s trailblazing 90+ Study, people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee live longer than those who abstain. Dr. Claudia Kawas, a geriatric neurologist and co-director of the 90+ Study, will share this and other interesting findings from the study at the Newport Beach Public Library on Monday, Jan. 26.

Kawas will present Living to Age Ninety and Beyond, a talk about the most recent discoveries of the 90+ Study and what they mean for our aging population. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. but doors open at 6:30 and seating is unreserved. The Newport Beach Public Library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach.

The 90+ Study is the longest continuing research effort focused exclusively on the distinctive health and lifestyle issues of Americans in their 90s or older. Launched in 2003 and based at the Clinic for Aging Research & Education in Laguna Woods, Calif., the study collects clinical, pathological and genetic information on more than 1,600 participants. Kawas and her team of researchers look at the types of food, activities and lifestyles are associated with living longer.

“Before the 90+ Study, we knew very little about individuals over 90 because they have been systematically excluded from diagnostic criteria in most studies of aging and dementia,” Kawas says. “There truly isn’t anything like the 90+ Study. The results obtained thus far have provided researchers across the globe with valuable information about aging.”

The research, twice featured on 60 Minutes, also focuses on dementia in people over age 90. The most well-known type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. More than 40 percent of people 90 and older suffer from dementia, but about half of them do not have sufficient Alzheimer’s-related plaque growth in their brain to explain their cognitive loss. Also, about half of the people who die with Alzheimer’s disease pathology in their brain do not have dementia during life.

Kawas’ research is looking at other factors that could cause dementia. “Currently, dementia in the U.S. costs far more than cancer and heart disease combined. The work that we are doing to learn more about dementia is so important.” Kawas says.

Although there are nearly 2 million nonagenarians – people in their 90s – in the U.S., that number is projected to increase to 10 million to 12 million by the middle of the century, raising concerns that the current healthcare system may not be able to accommodate this population.

“We are living longer than we ever lived before in the history of the world and this is making a profound change, not only in healthcare or medicine, but also with social and economic factors,” says Kawas.

Meet Dr. Kawas and learn more about the 90+ Study:
Living to Age Ninety and Beyond
Monday, Jan. 26
7-8 p.m.
Newport Beach Public Library

View by Category