Aging

Testing the saliva of healthy older people for the level of the stress hormone cortisol may help identify individuals who should be screened for problems with thinking skills, according to a study published in Neurology. The study found that people with higher levels of cortisol in the evening were more likely to have a smaller total brain volume and to perform worse on tests of thinking and memory skills.


Just a little moderate to vigorous physical activity-below the recommended amount-every week still seems to curb the risk of death among the over 60s, suggests a recent analysis.


While cognitive abilities naturally diminish as part of the normal aging process, it may be possible to take a bite out of this expected decline.

Eating a group of specific foods known as the MIND diet may slow cognitive decline among aging adults, even when the person is not at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. This finding is in addition to a previous study by the research team that found that the MIND diet may reduce a person's risk in developing Alzheimer's disease.


Researchers at the UW Medicine, Veteran's Administration Puget Sound and Saint Louis University have made a promising discovery that insulin delivered high up in the nasal cavity goes to affected areas of brain with lasting results in improving memory.

The findings were published online July 30 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

"Before this study, there was very little evidence of how insulin gets into the brain and where it goes," said William Banks, UW professor of internal medicine and geriatrics, VA Puget Sound physician and the principal investigator of the study. "We showed that insulin goes to areas where we hoped it would go."


Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class.

Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

A  study of 200 dementia sufferers in Norway reveals that almost all experience greater peace of mind and increased levels of physical activity using GPS devices.

The study forms part of the public sector innovation projects collectively known as "Trygge Spor og Samspill" (Safe tracking and interaction) – a joint initiative launched in 2011 being carried out by SINTEF together with a number of Norwegian municipalities. The initial project began with five municipalities and 50 dementia sufferers, and in 2015 it was expanded to include 18 municipalities.
Starfish that reproduce through cloning avoid aging to a greater extent than those that propagate through sexual reproduction, say researchers who investigated the telomere lengths and population genetics of Coscinasterias tenuispina. The telomeres are located at the ends of the chromosomes, and affect the lifespan and health of an individual.
A new paper discusses the current barriers which limit opportunities to own a pet among older adults, going into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.

Medical problems that arise with older adults, such as physical illness and emotional issues, have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation and enhances physical activity. But illnesses that are often associated with aging, ranging from arthritis to diabetes, make it hard or impossible for older adults to provide routine care for their pets. Financial barriers are another issue that older pet owners face.
The sex lives of older people have received a lot of attention recently. From the Netflix sitcom Grace and Frankie, which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (both in their 70s) and does not shy away from the issue of sex, to the Channel 4 series that focused on “love and sex when we’re over 60”, it seems there is no escaping the message that older adults have and enjoy sex.

Having a stroke ages a person's brain function by almost eight years, new research finds - robbing them of memory and thinking speed as measured on cognitive tests.

In both black and white patients, having had a stroke meant that their score on a 27-item test of memory and thinking speed had dropped as much as it would have if they had aged 7.9 years overnight. For the study, data from more than 4,900 black and white seniors over the age of 65 was analyzed by a team from the University of Michigan U-M Medical School and School of Public Health and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research. 

Credit: University of Michigan