April 6, 2018

Good news about Aging

The Good News - Older Americans are experiencing ‘delayed aging’ — and better health

Americans may be aging more slowly than they were two decades ago. Using health and nutrition data from more than 21,500 Americans,  researchers from the schools of gerontology at University of Southern California and Yale University found that  Biological aging slowing, but not for all.  Older adults experienced the greatest decreases in biological age, and men experienced greater declines in biological age than females. The study confirms that modifying health behaviors and using prescription medications significantly impact the health of the population. Researchers believe that decelerating the biological aging process would push the timing of aging-related disease and disability incidence closer to the end of life, so that people can live more of their years in good health.

Elderly adults grow just as many new brain cells as 20-year-olds, study claims

Researchers at Columbia University have shown for the first time that healthy men and women as old as 79 can generate just as many new brain cells as someone aged 14 can. Lead author Dr Maura Boldrini, associate professor of neurobiology at Columbia University says the findings may suggest that many senior citizens remain more cognitively and emotionally intact than commonly believed.
Nevertheless, older individuals had less vascularization and maybe less ability of new neurons to make connections,' Dr Boldrini explained.  Dr Boldrini surmised that reduced cognitive-emotional resilience in old age may be caused by this smaller pool of neural stem cells, the decline in vascularisation, and reduced cell-to-cell connectivity within the hippocampus.

Reframing Aging

Aging advocacy groups aim to change the public's image of getting older.  It’s a scary and depressing image of aging: If you are sick or poor and over 65, it’s your own fault because you didn’t do the right things when you were younger. This is a commonly held view of old age in the United States, and the nation’s leading aging organizations are now on a fierce mission to change it through a project known as Reframing Aging.  Most older people are healthy and independent, but this reality often is “under-appreciated and unrecognized by the vast majority of the public,” said James Appleby, executive director and chief executive officer of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). FrameWorks found many Americans started by talking about an “ideal” image of aging but reverted to their “real” image of deterioration and helplessness.

If you want to counter the physical costs of getting old, regular exercise might be your best option.  That and just getting out of the house.

Exercise best option to ward off costs of getting old

Unlike a "control group" of adults who did not get regular exercise, the cyclists did not have loss of muscle mass or strength, did not have age-related increases in body fat or cholesterol levels, and their immune systems were as robust as much younger people....
Researcher Niharika Arora Duggal, also from the University of Birmingham, said, "We hope these findings prevent the danger that, as a society, we accept that old age and disease are normal bedfellows, and that the third age of man is something to be endured and not enjoyed."

Study finds 30 minutes of daily chores prolongs life expectancy

Older women who did 30 minutes 'light' activities daily had 12% reduced chance, Washing up,  folding laundry, sweeping the floor cuts the risk of an early death for women by 12%. Those who did 30 minutes of 'moderate to vigorous' activity saw a 39% drop. These included brisk walking or bicycling at a leisurely pace, say researchers 'Doing something is better than nothing' even below recommended levels.

Leaving the house linked to longevity in older adults

For older people, getting out of the house regularly may contribute to a longer life - and the effect is independent of medical problems or mobility issues, according to new research from Israel. For study participants in their 70s, 80s and 90s, the frequency with which they left the house predicted how likely they were to make it to the next age milestone, researchers report in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “The simple act of getting out of the house every day propels people into engagement with the world,”  “We saw similar benefits that you’d expect from treating blood pressure or cholesterol with medicine,” said lead author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Social connectedness and meaningful activities are crucial for well-being. The more varied your social network, the happier and healthier you will be.
Socializing key to 'successful aging'.  Seniors who frequently socialized reported better health

"Social engagement — involvement in meaningful activities and maintaining close relationships — is a component of successful aging," wrote Heather Gilmour of Statistics Canada's health analysis division.  "The results of this analysis highlight the importance of frequent social participation to maintaining quality of life...."The greater the number of frequent social activities, the higher the odds of positive self-perceived health, and the lower the odds of loneliness and life dissatisfaction," Gilmour said.

Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women   Lonely seniors are shoplifting in search of the community and stability of jail.

Almost 1 in 5 women in Japanese prisons is a senior. Their crimes are usually minor—9 in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were found guilty of shoplifting.  Why have so many otherwise law-abiding elderly women resorted to petty theft? Caring for Japanese seniors once fell to families and communities, but that’s changing. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of seniors caught shoplifting live alone; 40 percent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help.

Medical research: Reversing Aging: Scientists Make Old Human Cells Look and Act Younger

A groundbreaking discovery in cellular biology could help humans age without as much deterioration in their bodies. A research team experimenting on a class of genes called "splicing factors" was able to take older human cells and physically rejuvenate them, turning back the clock to make them appear and behave young again....Splicing factors help your genes operate smoothly, making sure that instructions like when to grow new blood vessels get to where they need to go. Over the course of the aging process, they become less efficient, and eventually break down entirely, leaving our bodies with less and less ability to regenerate. ..."When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn't believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic," said Eva Latorre, the research associate at the University of Exeter who conducted the experiments.

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