The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Daoist Immortal

Maybe becoming a Daoist Immortal is a bit of a stretch goal, but perhaps living to be 100 in good health isn't. Below is an excerpt from a newspaper article discussing this. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the full article.

Even some with chronic disease can live to 100, thanks to aggressive treatment

February 13, 2008

CHICAGO - Living to 100 is easier than you might think. Surprising new research suggests that even people who develop heart disease or diabetes late in life have a decent shot at reaching the century mark.

"It has been generally assumed that living to 100 years of age was limited to those who had not developed chronic illness," said Dr. William Hall of the University of Rochester.

Hall has a theory for how these people could live to that age. In an editorial in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, where the study was published, he writes that it might be thanks to doctors who aggressively treat these older folks' health problems, rather than taking an "ageist" approach that assumes they wouldn't benefit.

For the study, Boston University researchers did phone interviews and health assessments of more than 500 women and 200 men who had reached 100. They found that roughly two-thirds of them had avoided significant age-related ailments.

But the rest, dubbed "survivors," had developed an age-related disease before reaching 85, including high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Yet many functioned remarkably well — nearly as well as their disease-free peers.

Overall, the men were functioning better than the women. Nearly three-fourths of the male survivors could bathe and dress themselves, while only about one-third of the women could.

The researchers think that may be because the men had to be in exceptional condition to reach 100. "Women, on the other hand, may be better physically and socially adept at living with chronic and often disabling conditions," wrote lead author Dr. Dellara Terry and her colleagues.

Rosa McGee is one of the healthy women in the study who managed to avoid chronic disease. Now 104, the retired cook and seamstress is also strikingly lucid.

"My living habits are beautiful," McGee said in an interview at her daughter's Chicago apartment. "I don't take any medicines. I don't smoke and I don't drink. Never did anything like that."

Until late 2006, when she fell in her St. Louis home, McGee lived alone and took care of herself. Now in Chicago, she is less mobile but still takes walks a few times weekly down the apartment building hallways, with her daughter's help.

McGee credits her faith in God for her good health. She also gets lots of medical attention — a doctor and nurse make home visits regularly.

Genes surely contributed — McGee's maternal grandparents lived to age 100 and 107.

But while genes are important, scientists don't think they tell the whole story about longevity.


Baekho said...

I'm very much a neophyte when it comes to self-cultivation, but I think the goals of Daoist practice really illustrate the principle of "shoot for the moon, if you miss you land amongst the stars." Regardless of whether or not you wind up at the "goal", the journey itself is transformative. Maybe that's the point...?

Rick said...

Thoreau said that it's good to build castles in the air. What you must do then is to put foundations underneath them.