Aging

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. 


Presently, there are about 40 million Americans over the age of 65, with the fastest-growing segment of the population over 80 years old. Traditionally, aging has been viewed as a period of progressive decline in physical, cognitive and psychosocial functioning, and aging is viewed by many as the "number one public health problem" facing Americans today.


Genetic research has a great deal of benefit but its mysteries, such as the lack of identified genetic determinants that explain heritability of complex traits, leave a lot of biology open to speculation, like that voting for one candidate may be 'biological' or that molecular changes to our genes -  epigenetic marks - are affected by what we eat.
 


 Benzodiazepines, the commonly prescribed sleeping pills and sedatives, may increase the risk of contracting pneumonia by as much as 50% and increase the risk of dying from it, suggests a new paper. 

Benzodiazepines have a wide range of uses and are commonly prescribed for anxiety, epilepsy, muscle spasm, and insomnia.

Benzodiazepines

are also frequently used in palliative care, as a sedative, and to help those with an alcohol problem to "dry out." Around 2 percent of the US and UK population have taken benzodiazepines for 12 months or more, and among the elderly this prevalence rises 10 percent.


We'll never cure things that shorten life span, like cancer and aging, but a roadmap to under cells at the molecular level might one day help push them to the background, and so a team of researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison have created an "atlas" that maps more than 1,500 unique landmarks within mitochondria that could provide clues to the metabolic connections between caloric restriction and aging. 


A researcher has discovered a critical reason why women experience fertility problems as they get older. The solution could be simple — putrescine water.

Putrescine is naturally produced in mammals by an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and is easily absorbed and cleared by the body. In female mammals, ODC levels are known to rise during ovulation, when the egg cell matures and is released from the ovary.  Dr. Johné Liu, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and professor at the University of Ottawa, has shown that ODC levels rise very little in older females. He has also shown that inhibiting ODC levels in young mice leads to an increase in egg cells with chromosomal defects. 


The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has adopted a positive opinion, recommending the granting of a marketing authorization for BETMIGA[ (mirabegron) for the symptomatic treatment of urgency, increased micturition frequency and/or urgency incontinence as may occur in adult patients with overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome. 

The opinion now needs ratification by decision of the European Commission which is expected within the next 74-90 days. If approved, mirabegron will be the first in a new class of OAB treatment, offering healthcare professionals an alternative option to antimuscarinics (currently the only licensed oral treatment option) when treating patients with OAB.


Implemented in 2006, Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D) spent $65.8 billion for prescription drugs in 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But Medicare beneficiaries are overpaying by hundreds of dollars annually because of difficulties selecting the ideal prescription drug plan for their medical needs, an investigation by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health reveals.  Their work also could be useful in designing health insurance exchanges, which are state-regulated organizations created under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") to offer standardized health care plans.