Aging

As people age, they gradually lose their ability to filter out irrelevant information. But that may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts, according to a new study appearing in Psychological Science.

The study demonstrated that when older adults "hyper-encode" extraneous information – and they typically do this without even knowing they're doing it – they have the unique ability to "hyper-bind" the information; essentially tie it to other information that is appearing at the same time.
Education plays a key role in lifelong memory performance and risk for dementia, and it's well documented that those with a college degree possess a cognitive advantage over their less educated counterparts in middle and old age. But if you didn't attend college there's still a way to retain your memory, and it'll probably cost you a lot less than a degree.  A large national study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry shows that people with less schooling can significantly compensate for poorer education by frequently engaging in mental exercises such as word games, puzzles, reading, and lectures.

Don Rickles

The burgeoning demographics of aging, which is transforming cites and suburbia alike, recently prompted me to attend the UCLA Conference on Technology and Aging, held at the lovely Skirball Center, cultural hub of LA’s older Jewish community. The following are unedited excerpts from my diary:


9:00 am: Arrive, following hour on freeway. Write down number of parking lot space on back of hand. Will be accused of being 13-year-old girl.

Researchers writing in BMC Cancer say that post-menopausal women who engage in moderate or vigorous exercise have reduced risk of breast cancer.

Over 110,000 post menopausal women were asked to rate their level of physical activity at ages 15-18, 19-29, 35-39, and in the past 10 years. It was found, over 6.6 years of follow up, that women who engaged in more than 7 hours per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise for the last ten years were 16% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who were inactive. However, no link was observed between breast cancer risk and physical activity in women who were active at a younger age.
Older people have noticed their thinner arms and legs and perhaps you have as well.   It's no secret muscle is harder to maintain, much less build, as we age but science was unclear exactly why.    

A team of researchers the University of Nottingham Schools of Graduate Entry Medicine and Biomedical Sciences say that the suppression of muscle breakdown, which also happens during feeding, is blunted with age. 

Muscle mass is important because a loss of muscle which decreases strength and increases the likelihood of falls and fractures - and a 'double whammy' affects people aged over 65.  But weight training may 'rejuvenate' muscle blood flow and help retain muscle for older people.
Scientists in Germany say they may have an alternative to Botox and cosmetic surgery; high-intensity light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and a lotion made of green tea extract.

Like all miracle products must, they say in Crystal Growth&Design that it works ten times faster than anti-wrinkle treatment that uses LEDs alone. 
Identifying a face can be difficult when it is shown for only a fraction of a second but young adults have a distinct advantage over elderly people in those conditions, say researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience, who found indications that elderly people have reduced perception speed.
If you studied the basics of human anatomy, you probably know that females are born with their entire lifetime's supply of eggs and once they're gone, they're gone.    New findings by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center say that is not always true.

The good news; during starvation, ovulation stops and when normal food conditions resume, so do the eggs, basically turning back the reproductive clock.

The bad news; it only works in in nematode worms.
Proteins are essential for healthy cells and all biological activities - misfolded and/or damaged proteins are common to human neurodegenerative diseases and age-associated diseases.

A big question is, when during a lifespan do proteins start to misbehave?

A new Northwestern University study says that protein damage can be detected much earlier than previously believed, long before individuals exhibit symptoms.   Importantly, the results also suggest that if we intervene early enough, the damage could be delayed.
I laughed when I saw an upcoming conference on aging was to be held in Miami - really, can you think of a better place?

Anyway, I was following a related link and discovered the story of wrinkled bats - not the leathery-skinned, bingo-playing ones living in Florida, but actual bats with the cutest little smooshed faces. I think these deserve a spot on Josh's second cutest babies ever series.