Aging

People who engage in 'brain exercise' activities, like reading, writing, and playing card games, may delay the rapid memory decline that occurs if they later develop dementia, according to a study published in Neurology

So is Texas Hold 'Em the key to a healthy brain in old age?   Yes, though crossword puzzles and playing music worked as well.  But you can't gloat over a crossword puzzle.

The study involved 488 people aged 75 to 85 who did not have dementia at the start of the study. They were followed for an average of five years and during that time 101 of the subjects developed dementia. 
Striking differences in the risk factors for developing heart failure (HF) and patient prognosis exist between men and women, according to a review article published in the August 4, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
 
Men and women may also respond differently to treatment, raising concerns about whether current practices provide the best care and reinforcing the urgency for sex-specific clinical trials for heart failure. 
Researchers writing in BMC Infectious Diseases say their numerical model of influenza transmission and treatment suggests that if a H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic behaves like the 1918 flu, antiviral treatments should be reserved for the young.

They argue that providing the elderly with antiviral drugs would not significantly reduce mortality, and may lead to an increase in resistance.   This is not a case of young researchers doing social engineering.  H1N1 swine flu has also impacted the young much more than the old, the reverse of traditional flu.
Last week, scientists announced the interim results of one of modern physiology’s most closely watched experiments: the effects of caloric restriction on the lifespan of non-human primates.

The report was maddeningly mixed.

Caloric restriction seemed to reduce the incidence of several diseases, but when it came to mortality—a somewhat important factor when it comes  to longevity— the data were  statistically not significant. We still do not know if caloric restriction works in primates, which, of course, we are.
With as many as 24 million people worldwide afflicted with dementia, researchers are looking for correlations in genetics, diet and environment.

Since many of these people live in low- and middle-income countries, the solution to reducing instances of dementia may be a cost-effective one:  more oily fish , according to a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
If you are predisposed to Alzheimer's disease,  would you want to know or would it just make you depressed?  People with a family history are already at higher risk and current research says the risk is further increased if they also carry a certain version of the gene called Apolipoprotein E (APOE).

There's been a longstanding debate about whether learning such information might cause lasting psychological harm, at least among those with a family history of Alzheimer's disease, says Scott Roberts, a University of Michigan researcher at the School of Public Health and co-author of a new study which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine
Does fasting lead to a longer life?   You never see any really old fat people but that has more to do with other issues than starvation.   

Some studies indicate that caloric restriction does extend life spans in fruit flies, mice and, most recently, rhesus monkeys, apparently by slowing the aging process, but in the case of most, they were also weaned that way from birth, which will get you thrown in jail if you do it to your kids.

Virtually all those studies had been performed in sterile environments, on animals raised under relatively pathogen-free conditions.   Stanford University School of Medicine researchers decided to see if reduced caloric intake also helps creatures cope with infection.
Want to live forever but starving is not for you?   A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may be more to your liking.
Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with lower cognitive function in older adults, according to research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Researchers compared cognitive performance in over 4,150 adults with and without COPD and found that individuals with severe COPD had significantly lower cognitive function than those without, even after controlling for confounding factors such as comorbidities. 
Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have discovered that an ingredient in human breast milk called pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor, or PSTI, protects and repairs the delicate intestines of newborn babies.

PSTI is found at its highest levels in colostrum, the milk produced in the first few days after birth.   The lining of a newborn's gut is particularly vulnerable to damage as it has never been exposed to food or drink. The new study highlights the importance of breastfeeding in the first few days after the birth.

The researchers found small amounts of PSTI in all the samples of breast milk they tested but it was seven times more concentrated in colostrum samples. The ingredient was not found in formula milk.