December 18, 2014
How Old Do You Feel? The Answer May Predict Lifespan
By LINDSEY TANNER
AP Medical Writer
Chicago (AP) How old do you feel? Think carefully—the answer might help predict how much longer you’ll live. That’s according to British research posing that question to about 6,500 adults. Those who felt younger than their real age lived the longest over the following eight years.
Here are five key findings from the study, by researchers Isla Rippon and Andrew Steptoe at University College London. Results were published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine:
REAL VS. PERCEIVED AGE
The average real age of those questioned was about 66 years. Most adults felt at least three years younger than their real age. Those who felt younger had the least chances of dying over about eight years after the age question was asked. Adults who felt older than their actual age had the greatest chances of dying in that period.
THE NITTY GRITTY
The researchers analyzed data from a study in England on aging that included information on deaths during a follow-up period that ended in February 2013; deaths totaled 1,030. About 14 percent of the young-feeling adults died during the follow-up, versus 19 percent of those who felt their actual age and 25 percent of those who felt older.
Feeling older was a predictor of death even when the researchers accounted for things that could affect death rates, including illnesses, wealth, education, smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity. Older-feeling adults were about 40 percent more likely to die than younger-feeling adults.
WHAT THEY RULED OUT
The researchers did a separate test, excluding deaths within a year of when the age question was asked. The idea was to see if answers from people already dying might have explained the link between feeling old and death. The link persisted even without those first-year deaths.
WHY THE LINK?
It’s possible that health conditions and lifestyle choices that the researchers didn’t study explain why feeling old may help predict death. Or it may be that those who feel younger than their real age have ``greater resilience, sense of mastery, and will to live,’’ the researchers said. They said more study is needed to be certain.
Perceived age may change over the years, and there might be ways to reduce chances of death in people who feel older than their actual age. The researchers said that might include health messages that promote healthy behaviors and attitudes about aging.
Online: Journal: http://www.jamainternalmedicine.com
Aging Study: http://www.elsa-project.ac.uk
Research Reveals Tensions At Gone With The Wind Première
By JOHNNY CLARK
Atlanta (AP) Seventy-five years after the premiere of the movie ``Gone with the Wind,’’ research is shedding light on the racial tensions that existed at the time between the producer and city of Atlanta officials.
Emory University film studies professor Matthew Bernstein has conducted extensive research into the archives of the film’s producer, David O. Selznick. His findings illustrate some of Selznick’s concerns with the city’s treatment of the film’s black stars at the Dec. 15, 1939 premiere.
``Producer David O. Selznick was upset that Hattie McDaniel would not be invited to the Atlanta premiere,’’ said Bernstein. ``He argued over and over that she should be allowed.’’
McDaniel played the character, Mammy, and went on to become the first black actor to receive an Academy Award for her performance as Best Supporting Actress in 1940.
Selznick was guided by the office of Atlanta’s then-mayor William B. Hartsfield. It was Hartsfield that originally reached out to Selznick to bring the premiere to the city.
But due to the racial segregation laws of the time, none of the movie’s black stars were allowed to attend the premiere or even be included in the movie’s promotional program. McDaniel did attend the Los Angeles premiere and was featured in the program.
Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, Margaret Mitchell, David O. Selznick and Olivia de Havilland at the premiere
``Selznick, because he was Jewish, was very mindful of the persecution of the Jews in Europe in the late-1930s under Nazism,’’ Bernstein remarks. ``And he saw an analogy between that persecution and the life of African-Americans under Jim Crow, especially in the South.’’
Bernstein spent years poring over the Harry Ransom Center’s Selznick archive at the University of Texas, Austin. Among the items studied, memos and telegrams exchanged with Selznick’s staff document the extent of his efforts to persuade Atlanta officials to change their minds.
However, Katharine Brown, Selznick’s east coast assistant and story editor, concedes in a Dec. 8, 1939 letter to Selznick that efforts to include the black cast must end.
``I hope this will not prove to be a dissatisfaction to you but with everyone so touchy, I am trying very hard to use my very best judgment not to create situations,’’ Brown writes.
In contrast to the city’s treatment of the movie’s black cast, local black organizations performed at various events leading up to the night of the premiere.
``One of the most fascinating things about the festivities is Martin Luther King Jr., when he was 10 years old, actually appeared on stage at a charity ball dressed as a slave in front of a mock-up of Tara singing with the Ebenezer Baptist Church choir,’’ Bernstein points out.
Steve Klein, a spokesman for The King Center, confirmed the event as a reflection of the times but offered a poignant analogy for the civil- and human-rights icon. ``It’s kind of neat that he could go on and be awarded the Nobel Prize.’’