Aging

Why are some 75-year-olds downright spry while others can barely get around?  Some people who smoke look old from a young age while others don't.

Part of the explanation, say researchers writing in Trends in Molecular Medicine is differences from one person to the next in exposure to harmful substances in the environment. 

A birth date is a chronological age but it might mean little in terms of the biological age of our body and cells. The researchers say that what we need now is a better understanding of the chemicals involved in aging and biomarkers to measure their effects.


Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese pastime that had its origins in self-defense. Like with many sports and hobbies, its benefits in relaxation and fitness are well-documented.

A new paper in Cell Transplantation adds to its benefits, finding in a small study that it increased a cluster of differentiation 34 expressing (CD34+) cells, a stem cell important to a number of the body's functions and structures.

Three groups of young people were tested to discover the benefits of Tai Chi, brisk walking or no exercise. 


In Japanese men, shorter height and longer life seem to be linked, according to an analysis of data in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS).


What can a handshake tell about you? Culturally, different things. In some places, it indicates confidence, in others, aggression or weakness.

Demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis say it can show the rates of aging among different population groups.


Researchers have taken an atomic level look at the enzyme telomerase - and what they have found may unlock the secrets to the fountain of youth.

Telomeres and the enzyme telomerase have been in the medical news a lot recently due to their connection with aging and cancer. Telomeres are found at the ends of our chromosomes and are stretches of DNA which protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets as to how we age –and also how we get cancer.



Telomeres on a chromosome and shows the different components required for telomerase activity. Credit: Joshua Podlevsky


A protein that can make the failing hearts in aging mice appear more like those of young health mice similarly improves brain and skeletal muscle function in aging mice, according to two papers in Science.
Professors Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin, of Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), report that injections of a protein known as GDF11, which is found in humans as well as mice, improved the exercise capability of mice equivalent in age to that of about a 70-year-old human, and also improved the function of the olfactory region of the brains of the older mice – they could detect smell as younger mice do.


Rapidly aging mice fed an experimental drug lived more than four times longer than a control group, and their lungs and vascular system were protected from accelerated aging, according to a new study.


The reason is a protein's key role in cell and physiological aging. The experimental drug inhibits the protein's effect and prolonged the lifespan in a mouse model of accelerated aging. 

This is a completely different target and different drug than anything else being investigated for potential effects in prolonging life and the experimental drug is in the early stages of testing, they note in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


A new article reports that listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over their lives among older Christians. 

The associations are similar for blacks and whites, women and men, and individuals of both low- and high-socioeconomic status.


Nutrionists writing in Ageing Research Reviews have coined a new syndrome called "osteosarcopenic obesity" - they say they have linked the deterioration of bone density and muscle mass with obesity. it explains how many obese individuals experience a triad of problems that place them at a higher risk for falling and breaking bones, they note. 

Nutrition professor Jasminka Ilich-Ernst of Florida State University began looking at the connections between bone, muscle and fat mass a few years ago, believing that most scientists were examining bone issues without taking into consideration muscle mass and strength, let alone fat tissue.


Women going through menopause most likely think of it as the time for an end to monthly periods - and it will be, but not without some false alarms. Researchers at the University of Michigan say it's normal for the majority of women to experience an increase in the amount and duration of bleeding episodes, which may occur at various times throughout the menopausal transition.

The scholars offer the first long-term study of bleeding patterns in women of multiple race/ethnicities who were going through menopause. They say the results could impact patient care and alleviate undue concern about what to expect during this life stage that can last anywhere from 2-to-10 years.