Aging

When people hear about elder abuse in nursing homes, they usually think of staff members victimizing residents. However, research by Cornell University faculty members suggests that a more prevalent and serious problem may be aggression and violence that occurs between residents themselves.

Although such aggression can have serious consequences for both aggressors and victims, the issue has received little attention from researchers, and few proven solutions exist to prevent resident altercations, says Karl Pillemer, director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging at the College of Human Ecology. He has co-authored two articles -- in Aggression and Violent Behavior and in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society -- on "resident-to-resident mistreatment" this spring with Weill Cornell Medical College professor of medicine Mark S. Lachs, M.D., and medical student Tony Rosen. Both studies report that verbal and physical aggression between residents is common and problematic, and that more research is necessary to identify risk factors and preventative measures.

"Anyone who spends much time in a nursing home will observe arguments, threats and shouting matches among residents, as well as behaviors like pushing, shoving and hitting," Pillemer said.

Researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden say golf is good for your health.

People of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status who golf can expect a 5 year increase in life expectancy compared to those who do not, they say. And great golfers live even longer, so work on your handicap.

Why so? People who are good at something tend to enjoy it and do it more and also practiced more to attain their skill, so they end up with better health.

The study does not rule out that other factors than the actual playing, such as a generally healthy lifestyle, are also behind the lower death rate observed amongst golfers. However, the researchers believe it is likely that the playing of the game in itself has a significant impact on health.



Dozens of studies show collagen repair is possible and demonstrate why three types of available skin treatments, topical retinoic acid, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing and injections of cross-linked hyaluronic acid, are effective.

University of Michigan scientists draw on dozens of studies since the early 1990s to explain why these treatments all improve the skin’s appearance – and its ability to resist bruises and tears – by stimulating new collagen. Collagen is a key supporting substance, plentiful in young skin, that’s produced in the sub-surface layer of skin known as the dermis. The findings show that the breakdown of the dermis’ firm, youthful structure is a very important factor in skin aging – a much more straightforward thing to fix than genetic factors that others theorize may be involved.

“Fibroblasts are not genetically shot,” says John J. Voorhees, M.D., F.R.C.P., chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School and the article’s senior author. Fibroblast cells in the skin are the key producers of collagen.


Researchers at the University of Illinois report this week that a plant compound found in abundance in celery and green peppers can disrupt a key component of the inflammatory response in the brain. The findings have implications for research on aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Inflammation can be a blessing or a blight. It is a critical part of the body’s immune response that in normal circumstances reduces injury and promotes healing. When it goes awry, however, the inflammatory response can lead to serious physical and mental problems.

Inflammation plays a key role in many neurodegenerative diseases and also is implicated in the cognitive and behavioral impairments seen in aging.

Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins have discovered that mice lacking an enzyme that contributes to Alzheimer disease exhibit a number of schizophrenia-like behaviors. The finding raises the possibility that this enzyme may participate in the development of schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders and therefore may provide a new target for developing therapies.

The BACE1 enzyme, for beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme, generates the amyloid proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The research team years ago suspected that removing BACE1 might prevent Alzheimer.

“We knew at the time that in addition to amyloid precursor protein, BACE1 interacts with other proteins but we didn’t know how those interactions might affect behavior,” says Alena Savonenko, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in neuropathology at Hopkins.

Gambling activity is widespread among U.S. adolescents and young adults ages 14 through 21, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

Results of the first national survey of its kind show problem gambling -- described as gambling with three or more negative consequences (for example, gambling more than you intended or stealing money to gamble) in the past year -- occurring at a rate of 2.1 percent among youth 14 to 21. That ppercentage projects to approximately 750,000 young problem gamblers nationwide.

In addition, 11 percent of the youth surveyed gambled twice per week or more, a rate that describes frequent gambling. Sixty-eight percent of the youth interviewed reported that they had gambled at least once in the past year.

People with shorter arms and legs may be at a higher risk for developing dementia later in life compared to people with longer arms and legs, according to a study published in the May 6, 2008, bonus issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers say the association between short limbs and dementia risk may be due to poor nutrition in early life, which can affect limb growth.

Several studies have shown that early life environment plays an important role in susceptibility to chronic disease later in life.

“Body measures such as knee height and arm span are often used as biological indicators of early life deficits, such as a lack of nutrients,” said Tina L. Huang, PhD, who was with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, when the study started. Huang is now with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, MA. “Because the development of the brain region most severely affected by Alzheimer’s disease coincides with the greatest change in limb length, we thought it was possible that men and women with shorter limbs could be at greater risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ethylene (C2H4) is a gaseous hormone produced naturally in plants and by man in combustion (1). When plants encounter ethylene they soften and ripen (fruit) or wilt and fade (flowers.)

We all like fruit that is ripe but lasts longer and flowers that stay colorful are a good thing so some growers spray plants with products like EthylBloc for flowers or SmartFresh for fruits and vegetables which contain a compound, 1-methylcyclopropane or 1-MCP, that blocks ethylene’s action on plants.

But how this compound works at the molecular level remains uncertain despite several chemical pathways chemists have proposed.

Calorie restriction is a hot topic in discussions of aging but most studies use mice that were weaned with calorie restriction as test subjects whereas humans would have to adopt that lifestyle later in life if they were to grow normally.

Research continues to see how a restricted calorie diet impacts the aging process. Working with yeast cells, University of Washington scientists have linked ribosomes, the protein-making factories in living cells, and Gcn4, a specialized protein that aids in the expression of genetic information, to the pathways related to dietary response and aging.

Previous research has shown that the lifespan-extending properties of dietary restriction are mediated in part by reduced signaling through TOR, an enzyme involved in many vital operations in a cell. When an organism has less TOR signaling in response to dietary restriction, one side effect is that the organism also decreases the rate at which it makes new proteins, a process called translation.