Aging

One in five older people who drink alcohol are consuming it at unsafe levels - over 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 units for women each week - according to a study by King's College London. The research in inner-city London, published in BMJ Open, found these unsafe older drinkers are more likely to be of higher socioeconomic status.

The researchers used anonymised electronic GP health records for 27,991 people aged 65 and over in the Borough of Lambeth in London. From these records, they identified 9,248 older people who had reported consuming alcohol and of these 1,980 people drank at unsafe levels.


In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, with positive effects in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

"Alpha-lipoic acid has an essential role in mitochondria, the energy-generating elements of the cell," says senior author Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "It is widely available and has been called a 'natural antioxidant'. Yet ALA's effects in human clinical studies have been a mixed bag."



Studies that deliberately exclude older adults from their samples render older adults' sexuality invisible. shutterstock

By Sue Malta, University of Melbourne

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.