What is the key to healthy aging? New gene study sheds light

Source: What is the key to healthy aging? New gene study sheds light – Medical News Today

A new study may bring us closer to unlocking the secret to healthy aging, after uncovering an array of genetic variants among healthy, elderly individuals that may protect against Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
[Happy older people in a circle]
Researchers have uncovered some of the secrets of healthy aging with their new gene study.

The findings come from the ongoing “Wellderly” study, in which researchers have so far applied whole genome sequencing to the DNA of more than 1,400 healthy individuals from the US aged 80-105 years.

Launched in 2007, the study aims to pinpoint certain genetic variants that may contribute to lifelong health.

“This study is exciting because it is the first large one using genetic sequencing to focus on health,” says Michael Snyder, PhD, chairman of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University in California, who was not involved with the research. Continue reading

What is a Cardiac Risk Calculator? What are the Best Heart Health Predictors?

Source: What is a Cardiac Risk Calculator? What are the Best Heart Health Predictors? – Medical News Today

There are three considerations about cardiac risk calculators. The first is that, whichever exact approach is taken, the idea is the same – to take measurements of cardiovascular health and analyze them for guidance on future potential heart problems and their prevention.

The second is that while the factors are common to whichever calculator is used, it is often one recommended by a doctor, validated for as much scientific accuracy as possible.

Health care professionals take the cardiac risk measurements and can help understand results and explain what to do about them to help avoid heart attack and stroke.

The third is that a prediction of future chances of heart problems is just that – a prediction. It is not supposed to be as scary or as certain as it might sound.

Risks can be put into perspective, and they would not be calculated unless there was something worthwhile that could be done to reduce them.

For some people, the predicted cardiac risk is so low that there would be no need to worry about further screening.

The reason why medicine has developed cardiovascular risk calculators is for the major effort to take on “the common risk factors fueling the epidemic of cardiovascular disease” Continue reading

Intensive exercise may keep the aging mind sharp

Source: Intensive exercise may keep the aging mind sharp – LA Times

Older Americans who engage in strenuous exercise are more mentally nimble, have better memory function and process information more speedily than do their more sedentary peers, new research suggests. And as they continued to age, participants who were very physically active at the start of a five-year study lost less ground cognitively than did couch potatoes, according to the study.

The latest research, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, is the most recent study to underscore the importance of moderate to intensive exercise in healthy aging. In addition to keeping diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis at bay or in check, a welter of studies suggests a good workout is powerful medicine for the aging brain, preventing and treating depression and shoring up cognitive function. Continue reading

Exercise in older age may protect memory and thinking skills

Source: Exercise in older age may protect memory and thinking skills – Medical News Today

A new study published in the journal Neurology provides further evidence that exercise in older age may slow the rate of cognitive decline.
[An older couple running in the sunshine]
Moderate- to high-intensity exercise in older age may slow cognitive decline, say researchers.

Dr. Clinton B. Wright, of the University of Miami in Florida, and colleagues found that adults over the age of 50 who engaged in light or no exercise experienced a significantly faster decline in memory and thinking skills, compared with those who engaged in moderate to intense exercise. Continue reading

Is Hospice the Answer for You or Your Loved One?

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

Many families are facing a serious, life-limiting illness for the first time. This can be overwhelming for both the patient and the entire family, especially if you don’t know where to turn for answers and support.

If you’re not sure what options are right for you and your family, this brief questionnaire may help. Continue reading

Being socially active may boost late-life satisfaction and ease decline

Source: Being socially active may boost late-life satisfaction and ease decline – Medical News Today

Well-being at the end of life often declines steeply, with significant differences among individuals that are poorly understood, say researchers who show that staying active socially – despite health challenges – appears to lessen and delay the onset of late-life decline.
older woman laughing talking to older man
The study shows that being socially active and having social goals were linked to higher well-being or life-satisfaction late in life.

The study – published in Psychology and Aging – was led by Dr. Denis Gerstorf, of Humboldt University in Berlin. His colleagues include members of Arizona State University and other research centers in the US and Germany. Dr. Gerstorf notes:

“Our results indicate that living a socially active life and prioritizing social goals are associated with higher late-life satisfaction and less severe declines toward the end of life.” Continue reading

Are you ready if Alzheimer’s strikes?

Source: Survey Reveals Beliefs, Behaviors on Alzheimer’s « Inside Health News

People recognize the seriousness of Alzheimer’s disease, but they aren’t taking steps to learn about their personal chances of getting the disease or to prepare for it financially, according to a new survey.

The WebMD and Shriver Report Snapshot: “Insight Into Alzheimer’s Attitudes and Behaviors,” asked more than 4,200 WebMD readers their beliefs and experiences regarding the disease.

“It’s incredibly tough to think about losing your mind or watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer’s,” says Michael Smith, MD, WebMD’s chief medical editor. “There is great concern about the impact of this disease, but denial, fear or other unknown factors seem to be preventing us from taking the necessary steps to prepare.”

Still, many people say they are taking actions to stay healthy that might benefit their brains as they age.

An estimated 1 in 9 people over 65 (11%) have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. As the population ages, however, those numbers are expected to nearly triple by 2050. Continue reading

Social Groups May Lengthen Retirees’ Lives

Source: Social Groups May Lengthen Retirees’ Lives

Staying socially active by joining book clubs or church groups may add years to your life after retirement, a new study suggests.

The more groups a person belongs to in early retirement, the lower their risk of premature death, Australian researchers found. The chance of dying within six years of stopping work was 2 percent for people who were members of two social groups before retiring and stayed in both. If they left one group, their risk of death increased to 5 percent, and it rose to 12 percent if they left both groups.

“The sense of belonging that social group connections provide helps people sustain a meaningful and healthy life,” said lead researcher Niklas Steffens, a lecturer at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Continue reading

Testosterone gel boosts sexual function, mood for older men

Source: Testosterone gel boosts sexual function, mood for older men – Medical News Today

Testosterone treatment in the form of a topical gel boosts sexual function, mood and walking ability for older men with low levels of the hormone. This is the conclusion of new research published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
[A older man laying on a bed with his wife]
Researchers found that testosterone therapy improved the sexual function, mood and walking ability of older men.

The study – co-led by Dr. Ronald Swerdloff, a researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA Biomed) in California – reveals the results of the first three trials that form part of the Testosterone Trials (TTrials).

The TTrials are a set of seven double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that aim to determine the safety and effectiveness of testosterone treatment among men aged 65 and older.

The initial results suggest that over a 1-year period, daily application of a testosterone gel boosted blood testosterone levels of older men to levels normally seen in younger men, which improved their sexual function, mood and walking ability. Continue reading

Being lazy might shrink your brain

Source: Being lazy might shrink your brain – Medical News Today

Research carried out at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts shows a relationship between levels of fitness in middle age and brain volumes later in life. Those with poorer physical fitness had smaller brains 20 years later.
[Lazy man watching television]
A couch potato lifestyle may reduce brain size in later life.

Physical fitness can be challenging to achieve and maintain, but we all know it is something we must strive to do. Continue reading

How to maintain a healthy diet on a tight food budget

Source: Leslie Beck: How to maintain a healthy diet on a tight food budget – The Globe and Mail

If you’re dedicated to eating healthily, rising food costs can make meal planning and grocery shopping a challenge. Research suggests that when our food budget is stretched, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish appear less often in our shopping cart – and with that go many essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K, folate, B12, potassium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

For those on a fixed income, such as seniors, it can be tricky to find affordable, nutritious food. Many key nutrients needed to maintain health as we get older, in particular brain health, are found in increasingly pricey foods, the very foods that can get squeezed out of a tight food budget.

A weak dollar, climate change and consumer trends are expected to continue to push up the price of our grocery bill this year. The University of Guelph’s Food Institute anticipates our food bill will rise as much as 4 per cent in 2016, costing the average Canadian household an additional $345. Continue reading

Men’s sexual health: are the supplements safe?

Source: Men’s sexual health: are the supplements safe? – Medical News Today

Over-the-counter dietary supplements and therapies sold to improve male sexual health may be ineffective and even unsafe, says a report published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
[men's sexual health]
Many men turn to OTC supplements to tackle sexual health problems.

Around 40-70% of men experience sexual dysfunction at some time.

To avoid paying for prescription drugs, or the embarrassment of discussing such matters with their physicians, many turn to over-the-counter (OTC) products. Continue reading

How obesity promotes colorectal cancer

Source: How obesity promotes colorectal cancer – Medical News Today

Scientists have revealed a biological connection between obesity and colorectal cancer, and they have identified an approved drug that might prevent the cancer from developing. The findings are published in Cancer Research.
[colon cancer]
Switching a hormone receptor back on may stop the spread of colorectal cancer.

People with obesity have a 50% greater risk of developing colorectal cancer than lean people. Continue reading

Having more children slows down aging process

Source: Having more children slows down aging process — ScienceDaily

A study by Simon Fraser University researchers suggests that the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages.

The study led by health sciences professor Pablo Nepomnaschy and postdoctoral researcher Cindy Barha found that women who give birth to more surviving children exhibited longer telomeres. Telomeres are the protective tips found at the end of each DNA strand and are indicative of cellular aging. Longer telomeres are integral to cell replication and are associated with longevity. Continue reading

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness – TED Talk

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

New ibuprofen patch delivers drug without risks posed by oral dose

Source: New ibuprofen patch delivers drug without risks posed by oral dose – Medical News Today

Ibuprofen patchIbuprofen is used by many people to relieve pain, lessen swelling and to reduce fever. Though there are many worrying side effects linked to overuse of the drug, a new ibuprofen patch has been developed that can deliver the drug at a consistent dose rate without the side effects linked to the oral form.
The new patch is transparent and adheres well to skin, even when the drug load reaches levels as high as 30% of the patch weight.

The patch was developed by researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK, led by research chemist Prof. David Haddleton.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently strengthened the warning labels that accompany nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Continue reading

Exercise and HF Prevention: Is More Better?

Source: Exercise and HF Prevention: Is More Better? | Medpage Today

Physical activity levels at two to four times the federally recommended minimum may reduce the risk of heart failure by 20% and 35% respectively, a meta-analysis of 12 large cohort studies has revealed.

The review also showed that there is a linear, dose-dependent, inverse association between physical activity and heart failure risk that was consistent across age, sex, and geographical region, according to Ambarish Pandey, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues. Continue reading

Can Loneliness Shorten Your Life?

Source: Can Loneliness Shorten Your Life?

Being lonely can trigger cellular changes in your body that increase your chances of getting ill and not living as long as you could have, according to a new study.

The risk applies to older people, past research suggests.

A leading charity for people over 60 in the United Kingdom says the findings underline the importance of treating loneliness as a major health problem. Continue reading

Lewy body dementia: unrecognized and misdiagnosed

Source: Lewy body dementia: unrecognized and misdiagnosed – Medical News Today

August last year saw the passing of much-loved actor and comedian Robin Williams. At the time, friends and colleagues of the star claimed that depression led him to take his own life. But earlier this week, his widow Susan said this was not the case; his death was the result of a debilitating brain disease known as Lewy body dementia.
[Robin Williams]
It was recently revealed that late actor Robin Williams had Lewy body dementia, which his widow believes was responsible for his death.

“Lewy body dementia is what killed Robin,” Susan told ABC News. “It’s what took his life and that’s what I spent the last year trying to get to the bottom of, what took my husband’s life.”

Susan explained that it was during Williams’ autopsy that a coroner found signs of Lewy body dementia (LBD), and doctors who analyzed the autopsy report told her it was one of the most severe cases they had ever seen. Continue reading

Soy diet may prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women

Source: Soy diet may prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women – Medical News Today

A diet rich in the types of protein and isoflavones found in soybeans may protect women undergoing menopause against bone loss and osteoporosis.
soy products
The amount of isoflavone in the daily supplements that the women took is about the same as that consumed in an oriental diet, which is rich in soybean foods.

This was the preliminary finding of a study, by researchers from the University of Hull in the UK, presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference, which is being held this week in Edinburgh. Continue reading

Tips for Avoiding Age-Related Memory Loss

Source: Senior Brain Boosters: Tips for Avoiding Age-Related Memory Loss

Everyone has memory blips from time to time — the word that’s on the very tip of your tongue, or the house keys that aren’t where you swear you left them. As you get older, these kinds of slip-ups may become even more common and frequent.

Yet you don’t have to resign yourself to memory loss. Try 9 simple steps that can help keep your brain sharp as you age. Continue reading

Exercise to maintain a healthy brain while aging

Source: Exercise to maintain a healthy brain while aging – Medical News Today

Structural deterioration of the brain associated with old age can be eased by long-term aerobic exercise starting in mid-life, according to research published in PLOS Biology.
[Seniors exercising]Exercise from middle age can help prevent dementia later in life.

Frailty and cognitive decline tend to accompany aging, and exercise is known to combat them. How this works is not completely understood, but the development of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease has been linked with physical inactivity.

The risk of dementia increases with age. Age-related cognitive deficits result partly from changes in neuronal function, but also correlate with deficiencies in the blood supply to the brain and with low-level inflammation. Continue reading

Five signs your aging loved one might need help at home

Source: Five signs your aging loved one might need help at home – The Globe and Mail

My dad, Bernie, was a collector. Bernie passionately lectured me on the many uses of paper grocery bags as he carefully grouped them into stacks of 10, tied them with twine and filed them in the furnace room. He collected pens as if one day there might be a global ink shortage. The pens were grouped meticulously and filed in a special drawer.

After my mother died, Bernie lived by himself. I visited him regularly and felt that, at 85 years old, he was doing well. I did notice a few changes, but I attributed them to age. His love of collecting paper bags and pens strengthened, but the neat and tidy nature of his collection started to slip, and the house became cluttered. Continue reading

No Bone Benefits With High-Dose Vitamin D in Older Women

Source: No Bone Benefits With High-Dose Vitamin D in Older Women | Medpage Today

SEATTLE — High-dose vitamin D supplementation did not improve bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women, a randomized study sponsored by the NIH found.

Among women who received high-dose vitamin D for a year, calcium absorption did increase but the effect was small, and there was no difference compared with those given low-dose vitamin D or placebo in BMD at the spine, total hip, femoral neck, or total body, according to Karen Hansen, MD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues. Continue reading

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Total Knee Replacement

Source: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Total Knee Replacement — NEJM

slus_oa1501074In patients with knee osteoarthritis who were eligible for unilateral total knee replacement, treatment with total knee replacement followed by nonsurgical treatment resulted in greater pain relief and functional improvement after 12 months than did nonsurgical treatment alone. However, total knee replacement was associated with a higher number of serious adverse events than was nonsurgical treatment, and most patients who were assigned to receive nonsurgical treatment alone did not undergo total knee replacement before the 12-month follow-up.

View the summary video here.

View the full article here.

Mediterranean-style diet may protect against brain aging

Source: Mediterranean-style diet may protect against brain aging – Medical News Today

[A Mediterranean diet]Adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet could protect against brain shrinkage that commonly occurs with aging, finds a new study published in the journal Neurology.
Following a Mediterranean-style diet may protect against brain shrinkage, according to researchers.

A Mediterranean diet typically involves high consumption of fish and seafood, plant-based foods – such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and legumes – replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil, while limiting consumption of red meats and dairy products.

The potential benefits of such a diet are well documented. Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study claiming a Mediterranean diet can promote a healthy gut, while another study linked a Mediterranean diet with olive oil to reduced risk of breast cancer. Continue reading

Keep moving to prevent osteoarthritis, say physicists

Source: Keep moving to prevent osteoarthritis, say physicists – Medical News Today

Osteoarthritis in the knee is a painful condition affecting nearly half of all Americans at some time – and two thirds of obese adults. Research suggesting that physical activity could help prevent it has been presented this week at the AVS 62nd International Symposium and Exhibition, in San Jose, CA.
[osteoarthritis]
Osteoarthritis affects around half of all Americans at some point in their lives.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative bone disease resulting from a reduction in the cartilage, leading to an increase in friction. Continue reading

Long-Term Study Finds The Hearts Of Women And Men Age Differently

Source: Long-Term Study Finds The Hearts Of Women And Men Age Differently | IFLScience

The health of your heart is impacted by a number of different factors, from smoking to diabetes, meaning that depending on lifestyle choices, people’s hearts age at different rates. A new study has found out, however, that its aging rate also depends on your sex.

By following close to 3,000 patients over a period of 10 years, the researchers were able to track how patients’ hearts changed during this period using MRI scans. This tracking over time was important, because previous studies looking into the differences in aging of hearts had simply compared those of young and old people at a single point in time, which couldn’t therefore account for differences in lifestyles or medical history. Checking up on the same individuals periodically, they found that there were surprising differences between the aging of hearts in both men and women. Continue reading

Healthy Diet Before Pregnancy: Good for Baby’s Heart?

Source: Healthy Diet Before Pregnancy: Good for Baby’s Heart? | Medpage Today

Better maternal diet in the year prior to conception was associated with lower risk of serious congenital heart defects, according to the results of a large retrospective case-control analysis using data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

In adjusted analyses, Lorenzo D. Botto, MD, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues found a reduced risk of all conotruncal defects (aOR 0.76, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.91), as well as a 37% reduced risk in tetralogy of Fallot (aOR 0.63, CI 0.49 to 0.80) associated with the highest quartile of Diet Quality Index for pregnancy (DQI-P). Continue reading