Regional spending is not linked to differences in survival of patients with advanced cancer, according to an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Cancer care accounts for approximately 10% of Medicare spending, and costs are highest for cancer patients with late-stage disease. There are large regional differences in spending within the Medicare program - more seniors, more spending on Medicare, for example - however it is unknown if higher average regional spending for advanced cancer is linked to improved survival for individual patients with cancer.

New surveys find that older adults who play video games report higher levels of emotional well-being.

Scholars asked 140 people aged 63 and older how often they played video games, if at all. The participants then took a series of psychological assessment tests to determine their emotional and social well-being. 61 percent of study participants played video games at least occasionally, with 35 percent of participants saying they played at least once per week.

The survey found that participants who played video games, including those who only played occasionally, reported higher levels of well-being. Those who did not play video games reported that they felt more negative emotions and had a tendency toward feeling higher levels of depression.

Older people who don't expect a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead, according to a paper in
Psychology and Aging

Scholars examined data collected from 1993 to 2003 for the national German Socio-Economic Panel, an annual survey of private households consisting of approximately 40,000 people 18 to 96 years old. The researchers divided the data according to age groups: 18 to 39 years old, 40 to 64 years old and 65 years old and above.

Through mostly in-person interviews, respondents were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their lives and how satisfied they thought they would be in five years.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, say life expectancy changes have been so rapid since 1900 that "72 is the new 30" - by that, they mean primitive hunter gatherers had the same odds of dying at age 30 as a modern man in the developed world faces at age 72.

For older adults looking to sharpen their mental abilities, Facebook may be the way to go, according to preliminary psychology research which suggests that men and women older than 65 who learn to use Facebook could see a boost in cognitive function.

Janelle Wohltmann, a graduate student in the Univesity of Arizona department of psychology, set out to see whether teaching older adults to use the popular social networking site could help improve their cognitive performance and make them feel more socially connected.

Psychologists say they have compelling evidence that older adults can eliminate forgetfulness and perform as well as younger adults on memory tests. 

They used a distraction learning strategy to help older adults overcome age-related forgetting and say it boosted their performance to that of younger adults. Distraction learning sounds like an oxymoron but some claims are that older brains are adept at processing irrelevant and relevant information in the environment, without conscious effort, to aid memory performance.  It's intriguing enough it will likely be on Dr. Oz next month.

Can individual's state of mind can effect how well a vaccine may work?

Writing in Clinical Infectious Diseases, UCLA psychiatry professor Dr. Michael Irwin and colleagues say they have found a link between untreated depression in older adults and decreased effectiveness of the herpes zoster - shingles - vaccine. Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by the varicella–zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. It may affect a million people over the age of 60 each year in the U.S and each year health officials urge individuals 50 and older to get vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine boosts cell-mediated immunity to the virus and can decrease the incidence and severity of the condition.

You don't see many really old, obese people whereas you see a lot of old thin people. It is reasonable to assume, exceptions aside, that obesity kills. 

Unless you reach a certain age, it has been said. When it comes to seniors, research has reported an "obesity paradox" concluding that, at age 65 and older, having an elevated BMI won't shorten your lifespan, and may even extend it. A new study took another look at the numbers, finding the earlier research flawed. The paradox was a mirage: As obese Americans grow older, in fact, their risk of death climbs.

The goal of science is to explain the world according to natural laws - and then sometimes to break those rules.

And there is no greater rule than that people age and die. 

But we mitigate and prevent life-threatening diseases and we have increased life spans in  a quest to find a metaphorical "Fountain of Youth."

Ponce de León thought it might literally be a spring, but biologists are searching a little deeper.  But they may still find it in St. Augustine some day - in the structure and function of cells within the palm.  

Globally, people are living longer and lifespans have increased dramatically in the past 40 years, but the increased life expectancy is not benefiting everyone.  Adult males from low- and middle-income countries are most notably falling behind.

The average lifespan is longer than in 1970, and those extra years of life are being achieved at lower cost, but the costs for an extra year of life among adult males in lower-income countries are rising while the costs for an extra year of life among children worldwide and for adults in high-income countries continues to drop.