Women would benefit from being prescribed exercise as medicine, according to a study finding that moderate to high intensity activity is essential to reducing the risk of death in older women.

Professor Debra Anderson, from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said that in addition to conventional treatments for physical and mental health, health professionals should be prescribing tailored exercise programs for older women.

The paper by Anderson and Queensland University of Technology's Dr Charlotte Seib pulls together five years of research looking into the impact of exercise on mental and physical health in women over the age of 50.

A new paper based on an analysis of sleep and cognitive (brain function) data from 3,968 men and 4,821 women who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) indicates that sleep problems are associated with worse memory and executive function in older people. 

Respondents reported on the quality and quantity of sleep over the period of a month and the results showed that there is an association between both quality and duration of sleep and brain function which changes with age.

As hormone levels change during the transition to menopause, the quality of a woman's cholesterol carriers degrades, leaving her at greater risk for heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. 

Their evaluation was done using an advanced method to characterize cholesterol carriers in the blood and was published in the Journal of Lipid Research. They believe the results call for further research to evaluate the menopause-related dynamic changes in sex hormones on the quality of cholesterol carriers over time, as well as increased emphasis on the importance of healthy diet and exercise for women undergoing menopause. 

A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that metformin, the world's most widely used anti-diabetic drug, slows aging and increases lifespan. 

In their experiments, the researchers tease out the mechanism behind metformin's age-slowing effects: the drug causes an increase in the number of toxic oxygen molecules released in the cell and this, surprisingly, increases cell robustness and longevity in the long term.

Mitochondria – the energy factories in cells – generate tiny electric currents to provide the body's cells with energy. Highly reactive oxygen molecules are produced as a by-product of this process.

Black trauma patients over the age of 65 are 20 percent less likely to die than white seniors, according to a report in JAMA Surgery.

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