Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon area has their own Successful Aging Institute, complete with training for “encore careers,” exercise courses, crafting courses, a class on dealing with your best friend getting Alzheimer’s Disease, and many more. Whether you’re in the area or if you’re just thinking about what is needed for seniors in your area, check it out: http://www.lanecc.edu/sai/news.html
Recent research indicates that we may actually get better with age… in some ways, anyway. Although increases in age are associated with physiological decline, it looks as if emotional resilience and a positive self-image help to keep us young and happy. Here’s a link to the news article:
And a link to the primary research:
DNA methylation is one method by which the expression of our genes (how much protein our genes make and when) can be changed within mere minutes. With age, our genes make proteins less reliably – they’re produced (or not) at inappropriate times or at inappropriate levels. Some researchers think this phenomenon can lead to age-related disease. This article in The Scientist gives an update on the status of research on why and how this wide-scale gene dysregulation happens, and how it relates to the aging process.
In what is possibly the biggest news of the year, scientists in Vienna are entering trials to vaccinate people against Parkinson’s Disease. The method is based upon building an immune response to alfa-synuclein, a protein naturally produced by the body. This smacks of the potential for massive organ failure due to a massive auto-immune response, akin to what we saw in the early days of gene therapy. I hope I’m wrong…
Here is the full press release: http://www.affiris.com/html/en/presse_medien/pressemeldungen.html
A nice article on an excellent complimentary approach to “traditional” aging research. Instead of focusing on what goes wrong in Early-Agers, let’s focus on them, AND on what is different from normal in Super-Agers!
We all know that nutrition is important to our health, but it’s when we see articles like this recently published one, “Blueberry extract prolongs lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster,” or this slightly older one, “Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment” that we are reminded of just how literal and direct the positive results of a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can be.
We all assume that a healthier diet will help to protect us from disease and disorder, but does it actually keep us stronger as we age? A primary research article published online today in the Journal of Gerontology shows us just that: Healthy diets mean stronger muscles and higher walking speed for individuals aged 60 and over! Concrete proof of the major impact of diet upon our physical wellbeing, not only for keeping physical ailments like heart disease and diabetes at bay, but also for maintaining our own physical strength and independence from middle age onward. There aren’t any general news articles about this yet, but if you have access through your library, you can read the primary research article here: http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/67A/1/93.full.pdf+html
Beibei Xu, Denise K. Houston, Julie L. Locher, Kathy Jo Ellison, Sareen Gropper, David R. Buys, and Claire A. Zizza. 2012. Higher Healthy Eating Index-2005 Scores Are Associated With Better Physical Performance. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci (2012) 67A(1): 93-99 doi:10.1093/gerona/glr159