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Zen và khoa học

A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity

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Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, Becca R. Levy,
Yale University School of Public Health, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA
Received 20 October 2015, Revised 11 July 2016, Accepted 15 July 2016, Available online 18 July 2016


Although books can expose people to new people and places, whether books also have health benefits beyond other types of reading materials is not known. This study examined whether those who read books have a survival advantage over those who do not read books and over those who read other types of materials, and if so, whether cognition mediates this book reading effect. The cohort consisted of 3635 participants in the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study who provided information about their reading patterns at baseline. Cox proportional hazards models were based on survival information up to 12 years after baseline. A dose-response survival advantage was found for book reading by tertile (HRT2 = 0.83, p < 0.001, HRT3 = 0.77, p < 0.001), after adjusting for relevant covariates including age, sex, race, education, comorbidities, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression. Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines (tT2 = 90.6, p < 0.001; tT3 = 67.9, p < 0.001). Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 23-month survival advantage at the point of 80% survival in the unadjusted model. A survival advantage persisted after adjustment for all covariates (HR = .80, p < .01), indicating book readers experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow up compared to non-book readers. Cognition mediated the book reading-survival advantage (p = 0.04). These findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.

Reading daily predicts reduced mortality among men from a cohort of community-dwelling 70-year-olds

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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci.2008 Mar;63(2):S73-80.

Jacobs JM1, Hammerman-Rozenberg R, Cohen A, Stessman J.



Although social and physical components of leisure activity have proven beneficial to successful aging, the influence of solitary and nonstrenuous activity on subsequent aging is unclear. This study examined readingactivity to investigate the relationship of a solitary, nonstrenuous activity on aging and mortality.


A cohort of visually and cognitively intact community-dwelling participants born in 1920-1921, taken from the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study, underwent comprehensive assessment at ages 70 and 78. We collected mortalitydata spanning 8 years. We dichotomized readingfrequency to dailyor less and performed data analyses separately by gender.


Readingdailywas common at both ages 70 (62% of the sample) and 78 (68%) and was associated at baseline with female gender, Western origin, higher socioeconomic and educational statuses, employment, and reducedmedications. The hazard ratio for mortalityover the 8-year follow-up among men was significantly reduced(hazard ratio = 0.44, 95% confidence interval = 0.23-0.84) after we adjusted for numerous social, medical, and health parameters.


The findings suggest that leisure activities devoid of social or physical benefits may nonetheless contribute to improved aging, predicting reducedmortalityamong men. A broader definition of leisure activities may be useful when considering the impact of these activities among older people.


Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres, and the Role of Experiential Avoidance and Compassion.

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Mindfulness (N Y). 2016;7:651-659. Epub 2016 Feb 22.
Alda M1, Puebla-Guedea M2, Rodero B3, Demarzo M4, Montero-Marin J2, Roca M5, Garcia-Campayo J6.
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Mindfulness refers to an awareness that emerges by intentionally focusing on the present experience in a nonjudgmental or evaluative manner. Evidence regarding its efficacy has been increasing exponentially, and recent research suggests that the practice of meditation is associated with longer leukocyte telomere length. However, the psychological mechanisms underlying this potential relationship are unknown. We examined the telomere lengths of a group of 20 Zen meditation experts and another 20 healthy matched comparison participants who had not previously meditated. We also measured multiple psychological variables related to meditation practice. Genomic DNA was extracted for telomere measurement using a Life Length proprietary program. High-throughput quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (HT-Q-FISH) was used to measure the telomere length distribution and the median telomere length (MTL). The meditators group had a longer MTL (p = 0.005) and a lower percentage of short telomeres in individual cells (p  = 0.007) than those in the comparison group. To determine which of the psychological variables contributed more to telomere maintenance, two regression analyses were conducted. In the first model, which applied to the MTL, the following three factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Similarly, in the model that examined the percentage of short telomeres, the same factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Although limited by a small sample size, these results suggest that the absence of experiential avoidance of negative emotions and thoughts is integral to the connection between meditation and telomeres.
Compassion; Experiential avoidance; Mindfulness; Telomere length