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Older people able to 'bounce back' live better with diabetes, study says

Older people with type 2 diabetes who are psychologically resilient have fewer hospitalizations, better physical functioning, and are less likely to become frail, new research suggests. Photo by https://pixabay.com/users/pasja1000-6355831/
Older people with type 2 diabetes who are psychologically resilient have fewer hospitalizations, better physical functioning, and are less likely to become frail, new research suggests. Photo by https://pixabay.com/users/pasja1000-6355831/

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Older people with Type 2 diabetes whose attitudes and behaviors help them bounce back after stressful challenges may have fewer hospitalizations, better physical functioning, lower disability and better mental quality of life, and are less likely to become frail.

That's according to a Brown University-led study published Wednesday that followed 3,199 participants for more than 14 years. The findings appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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"This study suggests that individuals who report being psychologically resilient also report fewer aging-related concerns," KayLoni L. Olson, of Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School and the study's lead author, said in a news release.

Olson said the study, while preliminary, "points to the potential role of psychological resilience in helping individuals feel better mentally and physically, which can ultimately enhance their later years of life."

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The participants, who averaged 72 years old and were mostly female, were enrolled in the Look AHEAD clinical trial that compared an intensive lifestyle intervention for weight loss to diabetes education and support, the research paper said. They were followed after the 10-year intervention ended.

After 14 years, the researchers analyzed such metrics as the participants' overnight hospitalizations over the past year and their physical functioning, as measured by gait speed and grip strength. They also were assessed for frailty and symptoms of depression, and a scale measured their resilience.

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Greater psychological resilience was associated with lower body mass index, or BMI, fewer hospitalizations, lower self-reported disability, faster gait speed, greater grip strength, a lower likelihood of frailty, fewer symptoms of depression and greater mental quality of life. according to the research paper.

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The researchers said the results suggest that some associations may differ based on race and ethnicity.

They also said that, while the study's findings should be "interpreted cautiously," exploring the clinical benefits of resilience "is consistent with efforts to shift the narrative on aging beyond 'loss and decline' to highlight opportunities to facilitate healthy aging."

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