Researchers conducting a new study from England found that brain cells act much like skin cells during the aging process. This study will provide a new concept as to how damaged brain cells can spread from different areas much like skin cells. Study experiments have only been conducted on mice, but Thomas von Zglinicki, a professor of cellular gerontology at Newcastle University said “This study provides us with a new concept as to how damage can spread from the first affected area to the whole brain; we will now need to find out whether the same mechanisms we detected in mouse brains are also associated with brain aging and cognitive loss in humans.” More here
A new independent study at the University of Michigan Medical School has found a way to slow down the process of aging skin. Scientists have been successful making senior citizens skin cells act much younger. The U-M Department of Dermatology tested 21 volunteers in their 80s using a cosmetic filler called fibroblast in an attempt to decrease the signs of aging. After three months, the fibroblast used in the test began to produce more levels of collagen in the skin, skin became thicker and more blood vessels were visible in the volunteers. More here
The National Research Council report, Aging And The Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications Of An Older Population, stated that the population age 65 and older are expected to hurt Medicare, Social Security and other federal programs. Life expectancy in the United States is increasing. In the 1900′s, 31 years old was the average life expectancy compared to today’s average of 78 years old and is suspected to rise to 84.5 years old by 2050. The boost of age will bring many economic challenges, according to the report, but the government has presented options to possibly help overcome future obstacles. More here
Danish researchers have found four signs of aging that may signal poor heart health and a higher risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The research followed 11,000 men and women over the age of 40 for 35 years and discovered that those who had a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of their head, earlobe crease, or fatty deposits around their eyelid were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Fatty deposits around the eyelid were the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, said looking old for your age is a marker of poor health. Individuals in their 70s were at highest risk. Participants over the age of 70 who exhibited three of the four signs of aging had a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. More here.
Americans are now spending more money on medication used to treat conditions that were formerly considered part of the normal aging process than they are on drugs to fight chronic diseases. The research, presented at the American Public Health Association’s 140th Meeting, found that anti-aging medications cost an average of $73.30 per individual user last year, 16 percent higher than the amount spent on both high blood pressure and heart disease medication. And the cost of anti-aging drugs has increased along with their popularity. Since 2006, the price of aging medications, such as those used to treat sexual dysfunction and mental alertness, has risen 46 percent. More here.
According to the findings of a new study funded by the National Institute on Aging, the rate of disability is improving among the oldest Americans but increasing among people between the ages of 55 and 64. The results represent a new pattern, after many years when the level of disabilities decreased consistently among all demographics. Vicki Freedman, lead author of the study and a demographer at the University of Michigan, said the trend is important to watch due to the impact it may have on families and health care programs down the road. The study also found seniors between the ages of 65 and 84 years old had virtually the same level of disability as they did a decade ago. More here.
A new report from the National Research Council says the economic effects of an aging U.S. population need to be addressed in order to avoid negative consequences for all generations. Longer life expectancies and lower birth rates mean the increasing demographic shift toward an older population isn’t temporary and changes will be necessary to tackle the expanding share of national resources required to address the needs of older Americans. Robert Lee, professor of demography and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, said the nation needs to rethink its outlook and policies on working and retirement. According to the report, increasing older adults’ participation in the workforce, better financial literacy and retirement preparation, as well as structural changes to federal programs are all available options that would effectively address the growing needs of an older population. More here.
According to new research from Ohio State University, taking omega-3 supplements may help slow the aging process. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish, such as tuna or salmon, and other sources, such as walnuts, flax seed, and beans. The study found that adults who took the supplements had longer telomeres, which are protective caps that prevent genomes from becoming unstable. Longer telomere length has been associated with better health and increased longevity. Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author of the study, said the telomere finding is provocative because it suggests that a nutritional supplement may make a difference in aging. More here and here.
A new survey from the National Council on Aging and USA Today finds American seniors optimistic about their health and future. The first ever United States of Aging Survey polled 2,250 adults over the age of 60 to measure their attitudes and perceptions on aging. And though there were a significant number of respondents facing financial hardship, the majority of surveyed seniors expressed optimism that their quality of life would remain the same or get better over the next five to ten years. Among participants, 70 percent said the past year had been normal or better than normal and 75 percent of respondents between the ages of 60 and 69 said they expect their life to get better. Also, a majority of seniors said they expect their health to improve or stay the same over the next five to ten years and 25 percent said their health is better than normal. But while 84 percent of seniors said they expected to be able to do what is needed to maintain their health, only 52 percent said they exercise or are active at least four days a week. More here.
A recent survey, conducted on behalf of Pfizer, asked more than 1,000 participants over the age of 18 for their perspective on aging. The results show how perceptions and priorities change as we age. For example, participants between the ages of 50 and 64 were the most optimistic about getting old and the most likely to say they feel like they look five or more years younger than they actually are. Older respondents were also the most likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and to say they are more active than their parents were at the same age. Younger respondents ranked money higher on a list of aspirations and said people should start watching what they eat at 20 and start having yearly physicals at 21. Health was the number one reason people said that aging was better than they expected. More here.