Aging


In the developed world, we are aging rapidly. People age 85 and older make up the fastest growing age group in the United States and in other countries that trend will also increase.

Aging and aging well are not always the same thing, though, and issues like Alzheimer's are a concern. A new study of 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study concluded that who participate in arts and craft activities and who socialize may delay the development in very old age of the thinking and memory problems that often lead to dementia.
Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by bones becoming brittle and fragile. Age-related loss in muscle mass and strength is considered analogous to osteoporosis but this “sarcopenia” is not recognized as a clinical condition even though it is linked to impaired physical function and contribute to disability, falls, and hospitalizations. Lower muscle mass and strength are also associated with lower bone mineral density and greater risk for osteoporotic fractures.

Why isn't sarcopenia more accepted? No valid diagnostic criteria whereas osteoporosis can be diagnosed based on widely accepted clinical standards.
Jonas the lemur defied his small size by living to the age of 29. David Haring, Duke Lemur Center

When Jonas the fat-tailed dwarf lemur died recently in captivity at the ripe age of 29 years, he was the oldest known of his species. But Jonas not only outlasted members of closely related lemur species held in captivity; he also lived much longer than science would predict based on his small size.

 NASA

NASA has sent an astronaut to the International Space Station to stay there for a year.

As we age, our bodies biologically are going to perform less efficiently. There are no 60-year-old shortstops in major league baseball, we can injure more easily and our brains slow down as well. We often won't have the memory or cognitive processing ability we used to have, but that doesn't mean it is dementia.

A new paper outlines a risk factor scoring system for dementia. The downside to risk factors is people really do not understand them, if Angelina Jolie continues to get genetic tests and then surgery as a result she may soon have no internal organs left, but properly used they can help identify those at risk and that leads to early diagnosis.
An examination of over 3,600 postmortem brains has concluded that the progression of dysfunctional tau protein drives the cognitive decline and memory loss seen in Alzheimer's disease. That means amyloid, the other toxic protein that characterizes Alzheimer's and builds up as dementia progresses is not the primary culprit.

There has been an ongoing debate about the relative contributions of amyloid and tau to the development and progression of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's but the findings suggest that halting toxic tau should be a new focus for Alzheimer's treatment, 

As medicine has improved, increasing our ability to treat disease, our longevity has improved as well. The deterioration of the body with age is a whole other matter, though.


Older brains are more similar to younger brains than previously thought, according to a new study. 

Certainly, brains change as we get older. People get dementia and that is linked to plaque build-up, but that is not neuronal activity, as some papers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have claimed. Instead, it may be due to vascular (blood vessel) changes. 

Since fMRI is frequenly used (and misused) in studies to assess aging, this could have important consequences for mainstream media's ability to promote a new theory of aging once a month.

Doctors are writing lots of prescriptions for drugs to calm the behavior of people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, but non-drug approaches work better and carry far fewer risks, according to a new paper.  

In contrast to current protocol non-drug approaches should be the first choice for treating dementia patients' common symptoms such as irritability, agitation, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, aggression, apathy and delusions, write a team in British Medical Journal after reviewing two decades' worth of research on antipsychotics, antidepressants and non-drug approaches that help caregivers address behavioral issues in dementia patients. 

A new paper based on a study of 4,219 people without any evidence of blood cancer nonetheless found that up to 20 percent of people aged 50-60 and more than 70 percent of people over 90 have blood cells with the same gene changes as found in leukemia.  

That means it is almost inevitable that we will develop genetic mutations associated with leukemia as we age, according to the authors investigating the earliest stages of cancer development used an exquisitely sensitive sequencing method capable of detecting DNA mutations present in as few as 1.6 percent of blood cells, to analyze 15 locations in the genome, which are known to be altered in leukemia.