Aging

New research suggests that walking at least six miles per week may protect brain size and in turn, preserve memory in old age. 

For the study, 299 dementia-free people recorded the number of blocks they walked in one week. Then nine years later, scientists took brain scans of the participants to measure their brain size. After four more years, the participants were tested to see if they had developed cognitive impairment or dementia.
A new study published in Cell Metabolism says it has increased the lifespan of middle-aged mice by 12% using a combination of three amino acids as supplements.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have extended life span in yeast but this is the first time these amino acids have been shown to work in mammals, the researchers say. 
A major blow to the free radical theory of aging, which has lead the research in aging for more than 50 years and fuels a multimillionaire anti-aging industry has just been published by Portuguese scientists from the University of Minho.

According to the theory, free radicals provoke oxidative damage and this is the cause of aging. The new work, however, shows that not only is possible to slow down aging in cells with high levels of oxidation but more, that a free radical (H2O2) is behind the high longevity seen with low caloric diets (a well known method to increase lifespan) turning upside down the way we see anti-aging therapy and research with major implications for the field.

There are some Happy Coffins from Singapore challenging death's taboos. Today, designer coffins deck a nursing home where three residents fulfill their pre-departure wishes about how their final resting places should look. 


"Without any fear," Elsie Chua said, "I am not afraid to talk about my eventual departure. It is very meaningful to be able to shape the design of my coffin and see it before I die.   I want to have a matching kebaya to go along."


 A kebaya is a traditional Straits Chinese garment for women. 


The art of dying


Elsie's wish was granted through an initiative between the Lien Foundation, a Singapore philanthropic house and St Joseph's Home and Hospice.


A scam is in the making!  Today I received this email:
Dear Colleague,
I’m writing to you about an extraordinary endeavor, the iHumans Project, which is outlined at: http://www.ihumansproject.org.
I hope you find the iHumans Project inspiring and you will be willing to share your thoughts and suggestions. Thank you!
Best regards,

Claudiu Bandea

cbandea@ihumansproject.org
iHumans Project
Atlanta, Ga.
Based on the website domain's whois info, the full contact info is:
Admin Name:Claudiu Bandea
A reality check on“healthy aging.”  The real troubles - and opportunities - of a gero-nation go unheeded.

The numbers are increasingly disturbing: By 2050, some 88 million Americans will be over 65, with more than 20 million over 85. That such huge demographic shifts portend a challenge to the medical system goes without saying. 

The traditional American response holds that such needs will be filled by an innovative business culture responsive to market demand.
We're not joking; a sense of humor helps to keep people healthy and increases their chances of at least reaching retirement age, though after the age of 70 the health benefits of humor decrease, say researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The study has just been published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine and was composed of an examination of records from 53,500 individuals after after seven years. The study was based on a comprehensive database from the second Nor-Trøndelag Health Study, called HUNT 2, which is comprised of health histories and blood samples collected in 1995-1997 from more than 70,000 residents of a county in mid-Norway.

A positive effect
An international research team has gathered a database of the oldest people in the world - those who lived beyond their 110th birthday, and while searching for these 'supercentenarians' and trying to find accurate documentation of their age, they also documented the personal histories and wisdom of those who long-lived folks.

The result; a book called "Supercentenarians" and  coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock/Germany.
University of Birmingham scientists have discovered that the gene DAF-16 plays an important part in determining the rate of aging and average lifespan of the laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and its close evolutionary cousins.

DAF-16 is found in many other animals, including humans, and it is possible that this knowledge could open up new avenues for altering ageing, immunity and resistance to stresses in humans. The research was published this week in PLoS One
Eternity Soup, by Greg Critser

Harmony Books, 2010


Scientific Blogging's own Greg Critser has tackled the science and business of eternal youth in his latest book. It's an engaging and excellent read. Critser is a fine storyteller, mixing his discussion of science with the lively personalities of the people involved. The book covers the latest science behind aging, the people who have shaped their lifestyles around that science, and the businesses that are trying to capitalize prematurely on the science.