According to the latest report in The Journal of the American Medical Association by Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University who has been researching the effects of negative and positive stereotyping in older adults, suggests that seniors with this positive bias are 44% more likely to completely recover from a struggle with disability. Study showed that when seniors are introduced to negative stereotyping they are more likely to suffer memory loss, have poor physical functioning and possibly die earlier as opposed to seniors who are introduced to positive stereotyping. 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
A study aimed at determining how many years of life were gained based on the level of exercise an individual engaged in after the age of 40 has found that leisure-time physical activity is linked to life expectancy. The research, led by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, looked at data on more than 650,000 adults over the age of 40 and found that people who got the recommended level of physical activity lived 3.4 years longer than those that didn’t and individuals who reported getting twice the recommended level of exercise increased their lifespan by 4.2 years. Generally, the more activity a person reported, the longer their life expectancy. More here.
Women, more than men, say they expect to live past the age of 90. In fact, nearly twice the number of women said they expected to live a long life compared to men in a recent retirement survey. But despite having expectations of living longer, many women haven’t planned adequately for the financial requirements associated with increased longevity. For example, more than half of surveyed women said they respond to financial emergencies by dealing with them when they occur rather than planning for possible scenarios. But though women participants said they didn’t plan in advance, more than 70 percent admitted to being very or somewhat concerned about providing for their long-term care needs. The study highlights the need for women to be properly prepared for their financial needs in retirement. More here.
SuperAgers are people over the age of 80 whose brain and memory functions as well as someone 20 to 30 years younger than them. And though there are not a lot of them, a new study attempts to determine what helps preserve and protect their brains from the deterioration associated with normal aging. The study, from Northwestern Medicine researcher Emily Rogalski, compared the brains of 12 SuperAgers, 10 normally aging elderly participants, and 14 middle-aged volunteers. According to her research, not only do the brains of SuperAgers function as well as a middle-aged brain, they also look younger as viewed through MRI scans. Rogalski said examining a really healthy older brain can help deduce how SuperAgers are able to maintain their good memory. Rather than studying what’s wrong with the brain, Rogalski says she hopes to discover strategies for improving quality of life by studying what’s goes right in healthy brains. More here.
A study of 713 women in their 70s found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables and got the most exercise were eight times less likely to die over the next five years than participants who ate fewer fruits and vegetables and exercised less. Among participants, those who exercised the most were 74 percent less likely to die over the next five years and those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 46 percent less likely to die. Combining a diet high in fruits and vegetables with exercise resulted in the greatest likelihood of increasing longevity. And though the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doesn’t prove that eating more produce and exercising after the age of 70 will lengthen your lifespan, it does add to numerous studies showing that combining a healthy diet with regular exercise leads to better health at any age. More here.
According to an analysis of previously conducted research, limiting the amount of time you spend sitting to less than three hours a day may boost life expectancy by as much as two years. The research, published in the journal BMJ Open, also says cutting TV time to less than two hours a day could extend life by nearly a year and a half. The authors of the study write that adults spend an average of 55 percent of their day sedentary and a significant shift in behavior is necessary to make demonstrable improvements to life expectancy. The analysis used data collected for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey as well as previously published studies on the effects of sedentary lifestyles. Though the authors stress that their research only assumes a casual relationship between sitting and life expectancy, it adds to growing evidence that too much time sitting can increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death. More here and here.
Older honeybees have the ability to reverse brain aging when they are given tasks normally reserved for much younger bees, according to new research from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. While bees are in the hive caring for their larvae, they can maintain mental competence. But, once they leave the hive to gather food, they begin to age rapidly. The study, however, removed younger bees from the hive and found, when the older bees began doing the work of younger bees, they were able to significantly improve their ability to learn new things. The researchers believe this ability is tied to a change in proteins in the bees’ brain. The research, though unable to translate directly to humans, suggests that keeping active, social, and mentally challenged may help preserve brain function and prevent aging. More here and here.
Research from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that 50 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack or heart failure made a mistake with their medication within a month of being discharged from the hospital. Among 851 participants, 50.8 percent had one or more clinically important medication errors, with 22.9 percent of them judged to be serious and 1.8 percent life threatening. Surprisingly, the numbers were as high among people who received guidance from a pharmacist as those who didn’t. Individuals who had a strong support system were least likely to make a mistake with their medication, primarily due to the fact that they were more likely to have a caregiver helping them with their recovery. The study highlights the need for more effective ways to help patients familiarize themselves with their drug names, interactions, and doses. More here and here.
A new survey from faculty at UC Davis and the University of Southern California found that patients don’t consult Internet health advice and information because of a lack of trust in their doctors. The study polled 500 adults and found no evidence that people who used online health forums and websites had less trust in their doctors than patients who didn’t consult the Internet. Xinyi Hu, co-author of the study, said many people go online when they anticipate a challenge in their life and it makes sense they’d do the same for health issues. Among the highlights of the study, 70 percent of participants said they planned to ask their doctor questions about the information they found online and 40 percent printed information to take with them to the doctor’s office. The survey also found that patients didn’t substitute Internet sources for more traditional sources of information such as family and friends. Instead, the Internet was used as a supplement. More here.