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Optimism linked to living longer, study shows

Now there's another good reason to get out of bed with a smile on your face. Optimists live longer. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out a new study that explores optimism's impact on longevity in diverse groups of people.

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People who are optimistic may increase their chances of longevity
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Optimistic people have a lot going for them. They tend to be happier and more able to weather stressful situations with a smile on their face than their pessimistic counterparts. A new study shows that they also may live longer.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at a racially diverse group of 159,255 women and found higher levels of optimism were associated with longer lifespans and a greater chance of living past the age of 90.

Researchers found that the link between optimism and longevity exists across diverse groups of people.

“Our findings suggest that the benefits of optimism for longevity may hold across racial and ethnic groups,” said lead author Hayami K. Koga, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Optimism may be an important target of intervention for longevity across diverse groups.” 

The researchers say that lifestyle factors accounted for some of the optimism-lifespan association. But also that optimism itself may promote health and longevity. They say more study is needed to explore the link between optimism and living longer, especially in less long-lived populations.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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Blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol and blood glucose are some of the numbers that measure heart health. The American Heart Association has added sleep to that list. Why? Because research about how sleep effects those numbers keeps emerging. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams talks to a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and sleep expert about why sleep is vital to your heart health.

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