Aging

Congratulations to Scientific Blogging's own Greg Critser, whose latest book, Eternity Soup is reviewed in Nature:

Critser's book is a brilliant exposé of the increasingly popular anti-ageing industry and how its practitioners have misled many people into believing that they can stop or reverse the effects of ageing. Proponents seem to argue: ageing is your fault; we have an unproven cure for sale that no one has disproved; scientists and physicians who disagree with us operate in a failed paradigm; and our patients tell us they feel better, therefore our treatments work.
People who stay mentally sharp into their 80s and beyond challenge the notion that brain changes linked to mental decline and Alzheimer's disease are a normal, inevitable part of aging, say scientists presenting at the ACS National Meeting.

The researchers say that elderly people with super-sharp memory — so-called "super-aged" individuals — somehow escaped formation of brain "tangles." The tangles consist of an abnormal form of a protein called "tau" that damages and eventually kills nerve cells. Named for their snarled, knotted appearance under a microscope, tangles increase with advancing age and peak in people with Alzheimer's disease.
People in developed nations are living as much as a decade longer than their parents did as a result of staying healthy to a more advanced age, according to a new review published in Nature.

The better health in older age stems from public health efforts to improve living conditions and prevent disease, and from improved medical interventions, said author James Vaupel, who heads Duke University's Center on the Demography of Aging.

Over the past 170 years, in the countries with the highest life expectancies, the average life span has grown at a rate of 2.5 years per decade, or about 6 hours per day.
Green jobs—great. But gray jobs, maybe an even better bet.

If there is a single graphic that everyone concerned with the nation’s future should have tattooed on their eyeballs, my vote goes to this one:

US population over 65 1950 to 2050

Here is its central message: Forty years from now, one out of four Americans will be 65 or older.

Twenty million will be over 85.

One million will be over 100.
Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests that "exergames" – entertaining video games that combine game play with exercise can improve the symptoms of subsyndromal depression (SSD) in seniors. In a pilot study, researchers found that use of exergames significantly improved mood and mental health-related quality of life in older adults with SSD. The study appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Scientific Blogging fave Greg Critser has a new book out, Eternity Soup: Inside The Quest To End Aging(available at fine retailers everywhere, or at that link if you want us to make a nickel) and in celebration he has put together a short quiz to find out what you know.
A new study published in Current Alzheimer Research claims that marijuana doesn't temper or reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease and may even cause harm. The findings could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.

Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.

Assuming good health, older adults can expect to have a reduced "sleep need" and to be less tired during the day compared to healthy young adults, according to a new study published in Sleep.
 Individuals who suffer memory loss may face a higher risk of stroke, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with dementia, according to a new study published in Neurology.

For the study, 930 men in Sweden around the age of 70 without a history of stroke participated in three mental tests. The first test, called the Trail Making Test A, measures attention and visual-motor abilities. The second, the Trail Making Test B, measures the ability to execute and modify a plan. The third, the Mini Mental State Examination, is commonly used by doctors to measure cognitive decline.