Aging

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.


If you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new paper.

Simon Fraser University doctoral student Joe Thompson, associate professor Mark Blair, Thompson's thesis supervisor, and Andrew Henrey, a statistics and actuarial science doctoral student say this in one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data and they tested when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that by analyzing the digital performance records of 3,305 StarCraft 2 players, aged 16 to 44. StarCraft 2 is a competitive intergalactic computer war game that players sometimes play for money. 


Older people without dementia but who are starting to have memory and thinking problems may have a lower risk of dying from cancer, according to a paper in Neurology. People with dementia are less likely to develop cancer also.

The study involved 2,627 people age 65 and older in Spain who did not have dementia at the start of the study. They took tests of memory and thinking skills at the start of the study and again three years later, and were followed for an average of almost 13 years. The participants were divided into three groups: those whose scores on the thinking tests were declining the fastest, those whose scores improved on the tests, and those in the middle.


The British government is putting pressure on commissioners, and in turn general practitioners, to make more diagnoses of dementia and that is leading to concern in a BMJ editorial.