Aging

Women are now spending fewer years with cognitive impairment but more years with disability compared to 20 years ago. We're living longer but senior years are still marked by declines in physical well-being even as mental acumen remains better than in decades past. In most developed countries worldwide life expectancy is increasing at the rate of at least two years every decade, and, for life expectancy at age 60, shows no sign of slowing down. 

Living longer usually means a longer dotage, with more pills and disease risk for more decades rather than aging well. What would be better? Extended young adulthood, when we are at our primes.

Dietary restriction enhances the expression of the circadian clock genes in peripheral tissue, according to research in Cell Metabolism which found that dietary restriction, induced by reducing protein in the diet, increased the amplitude of circadian clocks and enhanced the cycles of fat breakdown and fat synthesis.

This improvement in fat metabolism may be a key mechanism in explaining why dietary restriction extends lifespan in several species, including the flies in this study. 

It may feel like old age is slowing you down, but that is not the case for everyone. A new research program found that age is no obstacle to performing well. Even as well as elite cyclists.

The Department of Biomedicine and the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen examined how seniors convert energy when exposed to maximal physical exertion. Six men, aged 46-71 years, cycled 2,700 km, from Copenhagen to the North Cape, in two weeks, and the researchers examined them along the way. The resulting study shows that the seniors expended 4.0 times the basal metabolism. During Tour de France cyclists typically expend 4.3 times the basal metabolism. 

A recent paper explores the evolution of disease classification practices and the progress made since William Cullen's seminal Nosolagae Methodicae synopsis published in 1769. The paper discusses some of the additions to the ICD-10 including some of the less obvious conditions like obesity that may set the precedent for classifying aging as a disease.

If you're feeling a little blue during the transition to menopause, there's good reason, according to a new study being reported online today in Menopause. The study suggests that the estradiol (a form of estrogen) fluctuation that is common during the menopausal transition may enhance emotional sensitivity to psychosocial stress.

When combined with a very stressful life event, this sensitivity is likely to contribute to the development of a depressed mood. 

Managing money can be difficult at any age but for older adults, changes in physical condition and life circumstances can lead to changes for the worse in financial behavior, putting their well-being in danger.

Now those changes have been given a name: age-associated financial vulnerability. 

The authors define the condition as "a pattern of financial behavior that places an older adult at substantial risk for a considerable loss of resources such that dramatic changes in quality of life would result." To be considered AAFV, this behavior also must be a marked change from the kind of financial decisions a person made in younger years.

It is generally recognized that our physical fitness and our mental fitness are linked, especially as we get older, but how does being physically fit affect our aging brains?

Neuroimaging studies, in which the activity of different parts of the brain can be visualized, have led to hypotheses but no study has directly linked brain activation with both mental and physical performance. A new paper in NeuroImage, led by Dr. Hideaki Soya from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, sees a direct relationship between brain activity, brain function and physical fitness in a group of older Japanese men. They found that the fitter men performed better mentally than the less fit men, by using parts of their brains in the same way as in their youth.


One of every nine infants in the United States is born early and, thus, with increased risk of cognitive difficulties, problems with motor skills, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders and anxiety.

Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric problems that may be due to weakened connections in brain networks linked to attention, communication and the processing of emotions, new research shows. 

Studying brain scans from premature and full-term babies, researchers zeroed in on differences in the brain that may underlie such problems.