Aging

It's not enough to stay fit as you age if you want to avoid falls, according to an analysis of how many hours older people exercised and how well they performed on four balance tests.

Every year around 30 percent of all people aged 65 and older experience a fall. In the same age group, falls account for 40 percent of all injury-related deaths worldwide. Injuries from falls can have serious consequences. One in four seniors who break their hip die within a year, and quality of life can be greatly reduced for survivors.

A commonly used skin care ingredient is one of several newly identified compounds that can mimic the life-extending effect of a starvation diet, finds a new lab study.

Calorie restriction, a dramatic reduction in calorie intake, has been found to slow down the aging process in several animal models. Mice weaned on it from birth live longer but to-date it has not been shown to work in humans, since such an experiment on babies would be a human rights violation. Efforts are on to try and create drugs that can reproduce this effect, without the side effects of starvation.

The flu virus infects up to one-fifth of the U.S. population each year and kills thousands of people, many of them elderly. A new study explains why the flu vaccine is less effective at protecting older individuals, the people it is supposed to protect. 

Flu vaccines, which contain proteins found in circulating viral strains, offer protection by eliciting the production of antibodies -- proteins that help the immune system identify pathogens and protect against infectious disease. While vaccination is considered the most effective method for preventing influenza, it is less effective in the elderly. But until now, the molecular mechanisms underlying this decrease in vaccine efficacy were unknown.

Many strokes that required immediate treatment in emergency rooms may have been preventable, but stroke prevention has not advanced the way therapy for acute stroke has. Stroke prevention has fallen by the wayside as stroke patient outcomes have improved but the close monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and cardiac conditions remain important, finds a paper in JAMA Neurology.

Using a prevention scale they developed for this study, University of California Irvine neurologist Dr. Mark Fisher and colleagues discovered that 76 percent of acute stroke patients exhibited some degree of stroke preventability, while 26 percent exhibited high preventability.

Two studies conducted 20 years apart in England reveal an apparent increase in healthy ageing, or years lived healthily, reflecting less cognitive impairment; and an increase in the proportion of life lived healthily, through a larger proportion of years lived with disability but less rather than more severe disability. The research from Professor Carol Jagger at the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, UK, and colleagues is published in The Lancet.

Women are now spending fewer years with cognitive impairment but more years with disability compared to 20 years ago. We're living longer but senior years are still marked by declines in physical well-being even as mental acumen remains better than in decades past. In most developed countries worldwide life expectancy is increasing at the rate of at least two years every decade, and, for life expectancy at age 60, shows no sign of slowing down. 

Living longer usually means a longer dotage, with more pills and disease risk for more decades rather than aging well. What would be better? Extended young adulthood, when we are at our primes.

Dietary restriction enhances the expression of the circadian clock genes in peripheral tissue, according to research in Cell Metabolism which found that dietary restriction, induced by reducing protein in the diet, increased the amplitude of circadian clocks and enhanced the cycles of fat breakdown and fat synthesis.

This improvement in fat metabolism may be a key mechanism in explaining why dietary restriction extends lifespan in several species, including the flies in this study. 

It may feel like old age is slowing you down, but that is not the case for everyone. A new research program found that age is no obstacle to performing well. Even as well as elite cyclists.

The Department of Biomedicine and the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen examined how seniors convert energy when exposed to maximal physical exertion. Six men, aged 46-71 years, cycled 2,700 km, from Copenhagen to the North Cape, in two weeks, and the researchers examined them along the way. The resulting study shows that the seniors expended 4.0 times the basal metabolism. During Tour de France cyclists typically expend 4.3 times the basal metabolism. 

A recent paper explores the evolution of disease classification practices and the progress made since William Cullen's seminal Nosolagae Methodicae synopsis published in 1769. The paper discusses some of the additions to the ICD-10 including some of the less obvious conditions like obesity that may set the precedent for classifying aging as a disease.