Aging

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.

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.