Aging

Like most things, age is the biggest risk factor for complications in pregnancy. When the expectant mother is over 35,  the risks associated with overweight, smoking, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia also become higher, according to a register-based analysis from the University of Eastern Finland.

Advanced maternal age has been a growing trend over the past few decades. In Finland, the authors note, 20 percent of mothers in 2013 were over 35 years old. Fertility drugs and IVF have made motherhood possible at almost any age and increased popularity of 'egg freezing' is likely to increase the numbers - but there are some risks that increase after the age of 35 and have nothing to do with the embryos themselves.

One of the ways to study longevity has been engineering fruit flies whose genes can be turned on and off by a synthetic hormone, allowing detailed studies of the effects of single genes on life span. They do that because many of the genes have close relatives in humans.

Unfortunately, the hormone used to perform the studies turns out to be anything but neutral, according to a new study.  If so, it means studies on the genetic roots of aging will need a second look, because a common lab chemical can extend the life span of female fruit flies by 68 percent.


Your closest friends are advocates and see the best in you, but they are also observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave, according to a new paper.

The authors say that that your personality at an early age (20s) can predict how long you will live past 75 years - and that close friends are usually better than you at recognizing these traits. 

Male participants seen by their friends as more open and conscientious ended up living longer. Female participants whose friends rated them as high on emotional stability and agreeableness also enjoyed longer lifespans, the study in Psychological Science found.

A study has found that reducing expression of the Myc gene - found in the genomes of all animals, ranging from ancestral single-celled organisms to humans - significantly increased the healthy lifespan of laboratory mice, the first such finding regarding this gene in a mammalian species.

Myc is a major topic of biomedical research and has been shown to be a central regulator of cell proliferation, growth, and death. Though animals cannot live without it, in humans and mice too much expression of the protein that Myc encodes has been closely linked to cancer, making it a well-known but elusive target of drug developers.
If someone won't move around for 20 minutes a day, can anything more be done to help people get off the couch?

Too much sitting has been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Current guidelines suggest adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, but more than a third (35.6%) of adults worldwide don't do that. And the proportion of time spent being inactive rises with age: from 55% (7.7 hours) at 20-29 years, to 67% (9.6 hours) in those aged 70-79 years.
There is a lot of talk about increasing longevity but 50 years of increasing frailty, doctor visits and overall decline is not really an improvement over 30 years of it.

A new study shows that by focusing on the genetics involved in increasing longevity, we won't be helping people much at all; genes that increase longevity may not significantly increase healthy lifespan.

A study of long-lived mutant C. elegans by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows that the genetically altered worms spend a greater portion of their life in a frail state and exhibit less activity as they age then typical nematodes. 

Staying active allows you to age optimally, according to a small study in The Journal of Physiology which analyzed older amateur cyclists and found that many had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age compared to the general population. The authors say this debunks the common assumption that aging automatically makes you more frail than younger people.

The researchers recruited 84 male and 41 female cycling enthusiasts aged 55 to 79 to explore how the aging process affects the human body, and whether specific physiological markers can be used to determine your age.


Some people have the appearance of a young shape even as they age. Good genes and clean living, it is said. But the nature and nurture argument has a new companion - historical context - at least in sociology.

A new study claims evidence that the role of genetics in complex traits, including obesity, varies over time. Both the era in which scientific research is conducted and the era in which subjects were born may have an impact on the degree to which genetic factors are present in scientific data. 


If you can't balance on one leg for 20 seconds you are more likely to have small blood vessel damage in the brain and reduced cognitive function, even if you otherwise seem healthy, according to new research in Stroke.

The study consisted of 841 women and 546 men, average age of 67. To measure one-leg standing time, participants stood with their eyes open and raised one leg. The maximum time for keeping the leg raised was 60 seconds. Participants performed this examination twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis. Cerebral small vessel disease was evaluated using brain magnetic resonance imaging.


You should not be surprised by the irregularity of a newborn infant's sleep patterns but by the age of six months, if the baby is not sleeping through the night, many parents wonder if something is wrong with their baby or their sleeping arrangements.

It helps parents to understand that "normal" sleep patterns for a child are somewhat broad, according to a new paper.