Aging

Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class.

Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

A  study of 200 dementia sufferers in Norway reveals that almost all experience greater peace of mind and increased levels of physical activity using GPS devices.

The study forms part of the public sector innovation projects collectively known as "Trygge Spor og Samspill" (Safe tracking and interaction) – a joint initiative launched in 2011 being carried out by SINTEF together with a number of Norwegian municipalities. The initial project began with five municipalities and 50 dementia sufferers, and in 2015 it was expanded to include 18 municipalities.
Starfish that reproduce through cloning avoid aging to a greater extent than those that propagate through sexual reproduction, say researchers who investigated the telomere lengths and population genetics of Coscinasterias tenuispina. The telomeres are located at the ends of the chromosomes, and affect the lifespan and health of an individual.
A new paper discusses the current barriers which limit opportunities to own a pet among older adults, going into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.

Medical problems that arise with older adults, such as physical illness and emotional issues, have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation and enhances physical activity. But illnesses that are often associated with aging, ranging from arthritis to diabetes, make it hard or impossible for older adults to provide routine care for their pets. Financial barriers are another issue that older pet owners face.
The sex lives of older people have received a lot of attention recently. From the Netflix sitcom Grace and Frankie, which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (both in their 70s) and does not shy away from the issue of sex, to the Channel 4 series that focused on “love and sex when we’re over 60”, it seems there is no escaping the message that older adults have and enjoy sex.

Having a stroke ages a person's brain function by almost eight years, new research finds - robbing them of memory and thinking speed as measured on cognitive tests.

In both black and white patients, having had a stroke meant that their score on a 27-item test of memory and thinking speed had dropped as much as it would have if they had aged 7.9 years overnight. For the study, data from more than 4,900 black and white seniors over the age of 65 was analyzed by a team from the University of Michigan U-M Medical School and School of Public Health and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research. 

Credit: University of Michigan


The capacity to recall specific facts deteriorates with age, but other types of memory do not, according to research conducted by Wilma Koutstaal (University of Minnesota) and Alaitz Aizpurua (UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country), which concludes that the memory of older adults is not as deficient as has been thought until now. Elderly people remember fewer specific details than younger people and, in general, both groups retain concrete information about events experienced better than abstract information. The main difference is to be found in the capacity to remember more distant facts: youngsters remember them better.

Aging is associated with significant decline in cognitive functions. But does this translate into poorer decision making? Psychologists from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development report that in simple decision situations, older adults perform just as well as younger adults. However, according to their study published in the academic journal Cognition, aging may affect decision performance in more complex decision situations.

Important decisions in politics and economics are often made by older people: According to Forbes magazine, the average age of the world's most powerful people in 2013 was 61 years. As populations across the globe age, the selection of older individuals into such powerful roles may even be further intensified.


Between the ages of 40 and 80, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of muscle mass is lost, resulting in lower strength and less ability to carry out everyday tasks. This process is known as sarcopenia and it is common and clearly linked to frailty and poorer health in older people.


The plant-based Mediterranean diet is an ongoing diet fad, and proponents now have some new ammunition - it is associated with improved cognitive function in a study of older adults in Spain, according to a paper in JAMA Internal Medicine.