A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Scientists Agree This Is the Most Effective Diet for Weight Loss

(U.S. News & World Report) "People have these unbelievably strong beliefs against fat or carbs," says obesity researcher Tim Church, chief medical officer of ACAP Health Consulting and professor of preventative medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. "But despite the never-ending list of best-selling books that exist on weight loss, there is no macronutrient that wins the day."
After all, when you cut through all of the mumbo jumbo, if you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning per day, you are going to lose weight. So why not cut them in a way that's actually doable?
"You didn't gain 20 pounds overnight. It took time. The same goes for losing 20 pounds," says NYC-based registered dietitian and certified strength and conditioning specialist Albert Matheny. "Consistency and change of lifestyle over the long term is what leads to health and weight-loss success."
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High-fat Mediterranean diet, not low-fat one, is how you lose weight

(CNN) You don't need to be afraid of fat in food anymore, at least if it comes in the form of extra-virgin olive oil and other items from the Mediterranean diet
The study -- from scientists looking at the weight and waist circumference of 7,447 people who ate three different diets for five years in a randomized control study -- suggests that a Mediterranean diet (versus a low-fat diet, in which you avoid all fat) is more successful in helping you lose a little weight. This is true even if you are older, have type 2 diabetes or are already obese or overweight.
A Mediterranean diet -- one of the recommended options with the updated dietary guidelines -- is heavy on vegetables and legumes, fish, fruit, nuts and whole grains. The food is cooked with olive oil. Carnivores on the diet keep poultry and lean cuts of meat on the menu. Red meat, processed food and sugar are off the table.
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Copper is key in burning fat

(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California) [New findings establish] for the first time copper’s role in fat metabolism…
“We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy,” said [Chris Chang, a faculty scientist]. “It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”
Chang said that copper could potentially play a role in restoring a natural way to burn fat. The nutrient is plentiful in foods such as oysters and other shellfish, leafy greens, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and beans.
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How Sleep Can Sabotage Weight Loss

(The Observer) Researchers have found links between a lack of sleep and obesity (as well as an increased risk of diabetes), possibly due to an increase in the amount of food consumed, and/or due to a decrease in the amount of energy burned.
An article from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests a lack of sleep may increase hunger and correlate to less healthy diets. A lack of sleep might also lead to a decrease in body temperature (read: less calorie burning), as well as decreased physical activity (since most people who aren’t sleeping enough aren’t likely to hit the gym on a regular basis). Given just the simple context of the traditional college experience—when many people stay up later, eat more unhealthy foods and snacks, and gain weight—it’s easy to see why these studies may be worth paying attention to.
Other studies have indicated that getting too much sleep can add inches to your waistline. While more conclusive research needs to be done on this side of the scale, initial research indicates that routinely sleeping too much can increase the risk of depression, weight gain, heart problems, memory loss, and even premature death. 
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Poor hydration linked to obesity, study finds

(Press of Atlantic City) Using information from a national health and nutrition survey and urine tests to gauge hydration, University of Michigan researchers discovered that those who did not consume enough water were more likely to be obese than hydrated adults.
The thirsty group also had higher Body Mass Index numbers than others.
Drinking water - especially before meals - is a popular technique among those trying to lose weight. But there hasn't been concrete scientific proof of its effectiveness before this study, which expanded the focus to include foods with high water content.
"What we showed is there is a relationship between hydration status and weight status," explained lead author Dr. Tammy Chang.
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Can bright light at night lead to obesity?

(Reuters Health) Obesity rates may surge in places where artificial lights blaze all night compared to communities where people tend to live in darkness after the sun goes down, a recent study suggests.
To explore this connection, researchers analyzed U.S. military satellite images of nighttime illumination around the globe and country-level data from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the prevalence of overweight and obese people.
Artificial light at night contributed to excessive weight in men and women about as much as eating junk food, the research team reports
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Blood pressure hormone promotes obesity

(University of Iowa Health Care) The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) controls blood pressure and is important for cardiovascular health. Many of the drugs used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure block or inhibit the RAS…
When the RAS is elevated in the brain, it increases energy expenditure by increasing resting metabolism, resulting in weight loss. However, increased activity of the RAS circulating in the body (the peripheral RAS) -- which occurs during obesity in humans and experimental animals -- has the opposite effect, decreasing resting metabolism and increasing weight gain…
A more precise understanding of how the RAS acts in tissue-specific and receptor-specific ways to influence energy balance may ultimately be useful for developing new ways to treat obesity and the health problems associated with it.
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5 weight loss exercise tips when it's hot

(Bangor Daily News) The summer brings some challenges to putting this formula into action, especially when the weather gets hot. These tips help keep you active and on track but more importantly, they keep you safe.
1. Beat the sun or wait it out. Walks and runs are safer when the sun isn’t high in the sky...
2. Be visible, even in broad daylight...
3. Protect yourself from sun damage. Sun screen, hat and sunglasses are musts, but there is more you can do to protect your skin. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables protects your skin from the inside out...
4. Stay hydrated. Getting enough fluids to replace what you’re losing through perspiration is critical. Sports drinks aren’t the best choice. They often have a lot of sugar...
5. Have fun. Physical activity is good. When it’s fun it’s so much better. The more you enjoy physical activity, the more you will do it and the easier it will be to find the time.
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Exercise and Weight Loss: The Science of Preserving Muscle Mass

(Live Science) Many people who take up a regular exercise regime do so with the hopes of shedding pounds. But exercising to lose weight can be tricky. 
People who are exercising for weight-loss must aim for a Goldilocks diet: One that provides just enough calories to prevent muscle wasting, but not enough to pack on extra pounds or hold on to the ones already there. Exercisers may also need to keep closer track of the ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein experts said.
People who exercise in order to lose weight should not restrict their calories too dramatically, said Melinda Manore, an exercise scientist at Oregon State University and a former member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) Science Board, who has done extensive research on nutrition, metabolism and exercise.
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Online Intervention Helps Sustain Weight Loss

(University of Southampton) New research, led by the University of Southampton, has found that an online behavioural counselling tool is effective at helping people lose weight.
Obesity is a common problem that affects around a quarter of adults in the UK. It can result in a number of health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint problems and stroke. Aside from changes to diet and increased levels of physical activity, behavioural counselling is effective at helping people lose weight, but previous studies have shown that to be effective intensive counselling and support is needed.
People given evidence-based information online that had been shown to help previously lost around 3 Kg (6.6 lb), but using the Positive Online Weight Reduction (POWeR)+ online programme with very brief support from practice staff, participants lost over one kg (2.2lb) more averaged over 12 months and were more likely to maintain clinically important weight loss by 12 months.
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How a Powerful Obesity Gene Helped Samoans Conquer the South Pacific

(Gizmodo) By studying the genomes of more than 5,000 Samoans, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered a single gene that boosts a person’s obesity risk by upwards of 40 percent. Remarkably, this gene—which appears in a quarter of all Samoans—may have arisen in the population as they colonized the South Pacific…
[T]his “thrifty” genetic variant, called CREBRF, is associated with a 1.5 percent increase in Body Mass Index (BMI)…
[The] gene appears to work by causing cells to store more fat and release less energy. As Alice Klein pointed out…, it’s as “if [cells] are trying to conserve as much fuel as possible.” And indeed, there may be a very good reason why this gene appears at elevated levels among Samoans. It has to do with their history of colonizing the South Pacific Islands.
Starting around 3,500 years ago, ancestors of Samoans began the arduous task of settling the 24 major island groups of Polynesia. This colonization process—one of the most extreme examples in all of human history—took possibly thousands of years to complete. “They had to endure voyages between islands and subsequently survive on those islands,” study co-author Ryan Minster [said].
Community: I am absolutely certain that I have this gene. If we had a famine, I’d be in good shape!
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Obesity Three Times More Deadly For Men Than Women, Study Finds

(KCBS) Putting on the pounds could cut short your life, according to research, and the news is especially bad if you’re a man.
A look at millions of people across North America and Europe finds that obesity is nearly three times more deadly for men than it is for women.
Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford in England puts obesity on par with smoking as a serious health risk.
“Smoking and obesity are the two biggest risks for death in America,” Peto said.
But in America, says Peto, the number of smokers is declining while the number of those who are overweight is increasing.
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Brain Activity, Response to Food Cues Differ in Severely Obese Women, Study Shows

(UT Southwestern Medical Center) The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts, according to a recent study...
The study ... compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).
MRI images of the study participants were taken before and after a meal. Both groups showed significantly increased activity in the neo- and limbic cortices and midbrain when they were hungry. After eating, however, that brain activity dropped among lean participants while continuing in their obese counterparts.
Even after eating and reporting they were full, the severely obese women continued to react to pictures of food in much the same way they had when fasting, as exhibited in brain scans.
"Before or after the meal, they're just as excited about eating," said Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. "It seems they have an instinctive drive to keep eating."
Community: That’s me! I’m not obese (just barely), but that’s me.
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New obesity treatment targeting hunger hormone showing promise

(WABC) For the morbidly obese, stopping the hunger cravings can be the biggest challenge. But now, there's a new treatment with no major surgery that targets the hunger hormone…
"One of the things we have learned is that there is a hormone named ghrelin," Dr. Aaron Fischman said. "Ghrelin is produced in the stomach, and so we think if we can reduce this level, we can reduce a patient's hunger."
Unlike traditional weight loss surgeries, this trial involves surgery that is minimally invasive…
While the results are promising, the "beat obesity" surgery isn't yet approved by the FDA, so it isn't covered by insurance. Those participating in the trial have the cost of the procedure paid for.
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Weight Loss Surgery Associated With Increased Fracture Risk

(BMJ) Severely obese patients undergoing weight loss surgery are more likely to have increased fracture risks both before and after the surgical procedure compared to obese and non-obese people who don't need surgery, finds a large study...
Obesity may not be as protective for fracture as originally thought, say the authors, and they suggest that fracture risk assessment and management should be part of weight loss care.
Guidelines should be followed on patient adherence to dietary supplements and physical activity, and patients should be referred to bone specialists if fracture risk is considered high.
Benefits and risks of surgery should be considered on an individual basis to propose the type of surgical procedure best suited to the patient as the efficacy of weight loss surgeries differs in terms of resolution of chronic conditions, they add.
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Healthy Lifestyle Programs Provide Improved Quality-of-Life

(University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences) The value of a healthy lifestyle isn't reflected only in the numbers on the scale or the blood pressure cuff. University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers demonstrated that it also can be measured through improved "health-related quality of life."
In an analysis…, the scientists showed that participation in a community-based behavioral lifestyle intervention program to improve health not only helped people lose weight, increase their physical activity levels, and reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease, but also increased their health-related quality of life by an average of nearly 10 percent. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"These community-based lifestyle intervention programs have additional valuable benefits, beyond the improvement of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease," said lead author Yvonne L. Eaglehouse, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Pitt Public Health. "Our study demonstrates that these programs, delivered in diverse community settings such as senior centers and worksites, simultaneously and significantly improved the quality of life of the participants."
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Healthy eating can include ‘a lot’ of (good) fat

(Washington Post) Hanna Bloomfield's bosses at the Department of Veterans Affairs had been reading a lot about the plant-based Mediterranean diet. Some highly publicized recent studies had shown that eating lots of fresh vegetables and olive oil along with maybe a splash of red wine could have tremendous health benefits, and they wondered whether it was something the VA, as an organization, should consider recommending to its more than 9 million patients.
They tasked Bloomfield with figuring out whether this health effect was real — or simply hype. Bloomfield, associate chief of staff for research for the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and a professor at the University of Minnesota, pulled 56 previously conducted studies on the subject and re-analyzed all the data…
When looking at mortality, the results were discouraging. Bloomfield found that the diet didn't seem to impact overall mortality. That is, those who stuck to the diet didn't seem to have a lower risk for dying earlier than those who ate differently.
However, there did seem to be a lot of good news when looking at specific diseases. The Mediterranean diet not only appeared to reduce a person's risk of heart issues but also seemed to have benefits in connection with breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
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Drinking More Water Has Numerous Dietary Benefits

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) For people who want to control their weight or reduce their intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat, tap water may be what the doctor ordered.
A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 U.S. adults found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water -- tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle -- by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams, according to a paper by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An. They also consumed 5 grams to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7 to 21 milligrams daily.
"The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status," An said.
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The Next Superfood May Be Cockroach Milk

(Refinery29) The milk produced by a certain species of cockroach may be four times more nutritious than cow's milk, according to a new study…
But if the thought of cockroach milk hitting grocery store shelves one day makes you gag, don't panic just yet — if that ever happens, it'll probably be cockroach-inspired milk. Since it's really the protein crystals present in the roaches' milk that make it so nutritious, researchers can replicate the stuff in a lab instead of developing the tiny technology necessary to milk a bunch of cockroaches.
Until that time comes, just relax and remember that other forms of insect-based protein already exist. Yum.
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Americans Getting Shorter Due to Bad Diet

(Seeker) Americans kids' junk food diet is making them shorter as adults compared to the rest of the world. That's one finding from a massive new study of nearly 19 million people across the world.
On the eve of World War I, American men were third tallest on the planet. By 2014, they dropped to 37th, while U.S. women have slipped from 4th tallest to 42nd. While the average American grew throughout much of the century, that growth leveled off between 1974 and 1994, according to researchers from Imperial College London…
The main reason that we haven't kept up with adults of Netherlands, Belgium, Latvia and Estonia (ranked first through fourth) is that American children are eating too much crappy food, according to Majid Ezzati, professor of medicine at Imperial College.
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Historical Love-Affair With Indulgent Foods

(Cornell Food & Brand Lab) Our desire for indulgent meals may be over 500 years old. A new analysis of European paintings shows that meat and bread were among the most commonly depicted foods in paintings of meals from the 16th century.
"Crazy meals involving less-than-healthy foods aren't a modern craving," explains lead author Brian Wansink, PhD, Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design. "Paintings from what's sometimes called the Renaissance Period were loaded with the foods modern diets warn us about -- salt, sausages, bread and more bread."
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Unpacking Packaged Foods: Understanding The New Nutrition Labels

(Susan Blumenthal, M.D., Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General) On May 20, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new federal guidelines for nutrition labeling, announced by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit...
The labels are designed to help people make more informed choices about what foods and beverages they are consuming. While the general format of the new nutrition label is similar to the original format, a few important changes have been made, including:
·         Larger, bolded font for the calorie count
·         Larger serving sizes that are more representative of how much people actually eat
·         Inclusion of the grams of added sugar and the percent daily value
·         Dual columns listing the nutritional content for packages that could reasonably be eaten in one sitting, comparing nutritional information for an individual serving with the contents of the entire package
·         Revised percent daily value of nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin D based on the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans
·         Removal of “calories from fat” from the label
·         Adding grams and percent daily value of Vitamin D, potassium, calcium and iron to the label
·         Removing percent daily value of Vitamins A and C from the label
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Only Half of Consumers Aware of Food Waste Problem

(ThePoultrySite) Even though American consumers throw away about 80 billion pounds of food a year, only about half are aware that food waste is a problem.
Researchers have also identified that most people perceive benefits to throwing food away, some of which have limited basis in fact.
A study … found that only 53 per cent of respondents said they were aware that food waste is a problem…
"Generally, we found that people consider three things regarding food waste," said doctoral student Danyi Qi, who co-authored the study. "They perceive there are practical benefits, such as a reduced risk of foodborne illness, but at the same time they feel guilty about wasting food. They also know that their behaviours and how they manage their household influences how much food they waste."
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More sick; General Mills recalls 15 million more pounds of flour

(Food Safety News) The Kansas City, MO, plant that produced 45 million pounds of recalled General Mills flour continues to operate as the recall expands and more people fall victim to a 21-state E. coli outbreak linked to flour made there.
General Mills Inc. expanded the recall Monday after federal officials told company officials that four more people have been confirmed with E. coli infections matching strains of the pathogen proven by lab tests to be in the company’s flour…
The recall includes three main brands of flour, Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Wondra. Several sizes and varieties of these three brands are under recall. The complete list is available online.
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U. S. Land Capacity for Feeding People Could Expand With Dietary Changes

(Tufts University) A new "food-print" model that measures the per-person land requirements of different diets suggests that, with dietary changes, the U.S. could feed significantly more people from existing agricultural land. Using ten different scenarios ranging from the average American diet to a purely vegan one, a team led by scientists from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University estimated that agricultural land in the contiguous U.S. could have the capacity to feed up to 800 million people -- twice what can be supported based on current average diets.
The researchers found that a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products could feed the most people from the area of land available…
"Dietary choices can influence the ability of agriculture to meet our need for food," said lead author Christian Peters, Ph.D., associate professor at the Friedman School. "Our approach challenges the 20th century emphasis on increasing yield and production. Improving crop yields remains vitally important, but it is not the only way to increase the number of people fed per acre. Our aim is to identify potential agricultural-sustainability strategies by addressing both food consumption and production."
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Weintraub on Nutrition: Farm-to-table experience has plenty of benefits

(LA Daily News) You may have heard of farm-to-table eating, one of the biggest trends in the culinary space that refers to food made from locally sourced ingredients. Farm-to-table foods include fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy products, baked goods and more that are grown and prepared locally and are in season…
It wasn’t that long ago that most people ate food grown within 50 miles from home. Although times have changed, there are progressive communities here in California that have cultivated a farm-to-table food culture that nourishes and gives back to the community in so many ways.
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Maintaining a Healthy Heart Through Bile Acids

(University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry) Groundbreaking research from the University of Alberta and McGill University has opened the door towards the future prevention of cardiac fibrosis -- a condition leading to heart failure for which there is currently no treatment...
The study discovered the specific triggers activating the development of fibrosis which accelerates heart failure. Blocking the triggers through the use of a specific kind of bile acid prevented cardiac fibrosis from occurring...
"It offers hope to those who are living with heart failure," [says] Luis Agellon, co-principal investigator and a professor at McGill University's School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. "Prevention of fibrosis will extend the ability of the heart to function, even if at a reduced capacity. Currently patients with heart failure have poor quality of life and a dismal prognosis. Improving their quality of life will do wonders for these individuals."
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Gastrointestinal Disorders Involve Both Brain-to-Gut and Gut-to-Brain Pathways

(Wiley) New research indicates that in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or indigestion, there is a distinct brain-to-gut pathway, where psychological symptoms begin first, and separately a distinct gut-to-brain pathway, where gut symptoms start first...
"We believe these results are really a breakthrough in conceptualizing IBS. The data indicate some patients with IBS have a primary gut disease that may not only explain their gut symptoms but also their psychological distress," said Prof. Nicholas Talley, senior author... "There are now three studies we have done that have all shown this new gut to brain pathway. Targeting the gut is much easier than the brain, and in doing so we may be in reach of relieving not only gut pain but also anxiety and depression that arises from gut disease."
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Is Your Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Real? New Blood Test Can Help

(Medical Daily) Celiac disease is the reason why so many people can't eat bread. The disease is really an autoimmune disorder, meaning every time a patient consumes gluten — a common protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine; painful digestive problems ensue. But across the country, roughly 3 million Americans claim to have a similar insensitivity without a proper diagnosis. So, a team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) decided to find out why…
The research showed that a number of people who have been complaining about gut problems and wheat sensitivities (some of whom are accused of making things up) have a genuine medical condition that results in intestinal damage. Finally, proof that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is real.
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Cicero's tips for aging well: Stay active, use your brain, chill out

(Seattle Times) Removed to his country estate after opposing Julius Caesar, the Roman orator Cicero wrote a short treatise on embracing old age actively, enjoying its consolations while accepting its limitations. In Philip Freeman’s translation (with Latin and English on facing pages), Cicero comes across as not only a wise old soul, but a mellow one, too.
Some complaints people associate with the elderly are more about character than age, he writes: “Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.”
“Let each use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking,” Cicero states. He encourages cultivating both the mind and a farm or garden, noting his own “mental gymnastics” of practicing the Pythagorean art of reviewing each thing he said, heard or did during the day before retiring at night.
Community: Order the book from the Princeton University Press.
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Social Correlates of Longevity—Part II

(Josh Mitteldorf, ScienceBlog.com) When we think about things we can do to have longer, healthier lives, it’s the metabolism that comes to mind—diet, exercise, supplements.  It’s a surprising fact that (at least until the next generation of anti-aging technology becomes available) the most effective things we can do are not just psychological—they’re social.  Perhaps because we were raised in the most pathologically individualistic culture in the history of humanity, this seems hard to take in.  The message is to embed in your community and your family, to actualize your creative potential, to love the people around you, to celebrate life and connect, only connect.
Philosophers from Kant to Buber like to distinguish two ways that people may relate to one another.  One is utilitarian, using the person to help you make money or obtain something else that you want.  This kind of relationship needn’t be sinister.  There can be cooperation and mutual benefit, but the relationship is a calculated investment for personal gain.  The second kind of relationship is a core of human friendship or love or companionship or empathy that we value for its own sake, independent of whether we can get anything out of it...
Both utilitarian relationships of power and reciprocal relationships of love can contribute to longevity.  There is a longevity bonus attached to social status and power, and a separate correlation with family, sexual contact, and loving connection.
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Exercise ability in middle age may be one key to longer life

(Reuters Health) Middle-aged men who have more endurance in exercise tests may end up living longer than their peers who struggle with physical activity, a Swedish study suggests.
Researchers gave about 650 men an exercise test in 1967 when they were 50 years old. They asked participants to push themselves to the limit and ranked results into three groups based on low, medium or high endurance.
Each bump up in the endurance rankings was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of death during 45 years of follow-up, after adjusting for factors like smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“Low fitness in middle age was associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality for several decades,” lead study author Dr. Per Ladenvall of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden said by email.
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5 foods to keep you moving as you age

(Mother Nature Network) Want to stay mobile as you get older? Who doesn't, right? A new study details how you can keep that spring in your step, and it boils down to eating five healthy foods, as part of a healthy diet, on a regular basis
[Researchers Francine] Grodstein and [Kaitlin] Hagan found that the women who ate healthier diets had fewer mobility issues than their junk food-eating peers. In particular, the researchers noted that women who ate lots of fruits and veggies while limiting their consumption of alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fats and salt had a lower risk for developing physical impairments than the women with less healthy diets.
The team also found five foods that were strongly linked with better mobility:
·         Oranges/Orange juice
·         Pears
·         Apples
·         Walnuts
·         Romaine or leaf lettuce
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Aging isn't for sissies

(Bert Keller, a retired minister, and Bill Simpson, a retired physician) It takes a lot of fortitude to put up with all the things our bodies start doing to us when we get up in years. And that’s right, it sure does. Definitely not for sissies.
But there is an altogether different way of hearing “not for sissies.” Try hearing it this way:
It’s not for sissies to give up success-achieving goals that drove us during our working years but aren’t appropriate now.
It’s not for sissies to grasp a vision for both ourselves and our community connected to the values of the inner life, values that stress being over doing, living in harmony over competing, deeper understanding of people we relate to instead of labeling and respect and love for the Earth instead of production.
Mature values and qualities of character, in our society, do not come easy.
Aging on these terms takes real courage because it requires personal change in ways that are out of step with forces driving our society. Growing older “ain’t for sissies.” It takes gumption to make changes that far-reaching.
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Wide disparity in health, longevity within just a few miles in New Jersey

(Newsworks.org) If you live in parts of well-to-do Princeton, New Jersey, there's a good chance you'll live to age 87. But just down the road, for some residents of Trenton--where poverty is widespread--the life expectancy is as low as 71…
“What the maps show is there’s a limit to what can be done locally,” said Marty Johnson, CEO of Isles, Inc., an urban community development group…
The city has added opportunities for outdoor exercise and nutritious food, and [Samuel Frisby, CEO of the Trenton YMCA,] said those neighborhood changes could — someday — improve health across the community...
Derek Chapman, associate director for research at Virginia Commonwealth University's Center on Society and Health, said there's a new focus on the health benefits of community-wide improvements.
“I think the conversation in the past has centered almost entirely on access to medical care and individual risk behaviors like diet and exercise and smoking and that sort of thing," Chapman said.
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Hot news flash! Menopause, insomnia accelerate aging

(University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences) Two separate UCLA studies reveal that menopause and the insomnia that often accompanies it make women age faster.
The dual findings suggest these factors could increase women's risk for aging-related diseases and earlier death
"Not getting restorative sleep may do more than just affect our functioning the next day; it might also influence the rate at which our biological clock ticks," said Judith Carroll, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and first author of the sleep study. "In the women we studied, those reporting symptoms such as restless sleep, waking repeatedly at night, having difficulty falling asleep, and waking too early in the morning tended to be older biologically than women of similar chronological age who reported no symptoms."
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Menopause in Reverse: Can Scientists Really Turn Back the Clock?

(Newsweek) Scientists in Greece claimed recently to have reversed the menopause. They did this by injecting blood plasma that contains platelets into the ovaries of eight women who had not menstruated for around five months in order to stimulate ovarian regeneration. The scientists later recovered eggs from the ovaries. The eggs were able to mature and reach the stage at which they could be fertilized. Does this mean the end of menopause? At this time, the answer would almost certainly be “no”.
The work was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Helsinki earlier this month. Importantly, it has not been peer-reviewed and there is no independent verification of the findings.
Community: No way do I want to go back to having periods.
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Hormone reverses cell aging in clinical trial

(Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) Telomerase, an enzyme naturally found in the human organism, is the closest of all known substances to a "cellular elixir of youth." In a recent study, Brazilian and US researchers show that sex hormones can stimulate production of this enzyme…
"One of the processes associated with aging is progressive shortening of telomeres, DNA-protecting structures at the ends of chromosomes, like the plastic tips on shoelaces," [professor Rodrigo] Calado said. "Each time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter. Eventually, the cell can't replicate anymore and dies or becomes senescent. However, telomerase can keep the length of telomeres intact, even after cell division."…
In 2009, Calado and collaborators published an article … showing that androgens, which are converted into estrogens in humans, bind to female hormone receptors in the telomerase gene promoter region and thereby stimulate expression of the enzyme in cells.
"The study we've just published was designed to find out whether the effect we'd observed in the lab also occurred in humans, and the results indicate that it does," Calado said.
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Embryonic Gene Reverses Aging in Adult Stem Cells

(University at Buffalo) The fountain of youth may reside in an embryonic stem cell gene named Nanog.
In a series of experiments at the University at Buffalo, the gene kicked into action dormant cellular processes that are key to preventing weak bones, clogged arteries and other telltale signs of growing old…
"Not only does Nanog have the capacity to delay aging, it has the potential in some cases to reverse it," says [Stelios T. Andreadis, PhD], noting that the embryonic stem cell gene worked in three different models of aging: cells isolated from aged donors, cells aged in culture, and cells isolated from patients with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.
Additionally, the researchers showed that Nanog activated the central regulator of muscle formation, serum response factor (SRF), suggesting that the same results may be applicable for skeletal, cardiac and other muscle types.
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Researchers describe how free radicals contribute to aging

(Yale University) Aging in part is the result of oxidative damage to proteins caused by free radicals, a byproduct of interaction of our bodies and radiation such as sunlight. A new study by Yale scientists provides some clues into how this damage is inflicted.
The research team headed by Jimin Wang analyzed protein structures after bombardment with massive amount of X-rays.
They found many different examples of oxygen molecules added to the proteins and polypeptide bonds within proteins, rendering them non-functional.
Some of these damaged proteins also become unrecognizable to proteasomes, the cellular garbage collectors that clean up faulty proteins.
The problems are compounded because proteasomes themselves are also damaged while trying to clean faulty proteins.
This further limits the process of cellular cleanup, a failure that is a major characteristic of aging.
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Dogs test anti-aging drug in early trial

(FiercePharma) In news sure to thrill dog lovers everywhere, VCA Animal Hospitals announced that it has completed a trial with the University of Washington of a medicine scientists think might be able to slow aging in man's best friend. The study looked at the safety and tolerability of rapamycin, a drug that is currently FDA approved for some people undergoing organ transplants, as well as some patients with cancer.
Previously, the drug--which is made by a soil bacterium--had been shown to extend the lives of mice, yeast, flies and worms, according to a recent New York Times story featuring the research…
Following the study, University of Washington aging scientist Dr. Matt Kaeberlein reported that rapamycin caused no significant side effects, and dogs receiving the medicine had hearts that pumped blood more efficiently. Next up, the team hopes to conduct a 5-year study in 450 dogs, pending much-needed funding, the Times said.
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Aging in Place Tax Credits Get a Step Closer

(Next Avenue) Recently, a (barely) bipartisan group of Congressional members introduced The Senior Accessible Housing Act (HR 5254, for the C-SPAN crowd), which would provide a tax credit of up to $30,000 to people over 60 for aging-in-place modifications to their homes, such as widening doorways for wheelchairs and installing ramps, nonslip flooring, handrails and grab bars. (The credit would be nonrefundable, which means it wouldn’t be of use to those who don’t owe federal income taxes.)
Many of these modifications don’t come cheaply. Ramps can run as much as $4,000, installing grab bars and level handles throughout a home can go for $1,500 and you can spend $1,000 or so to widen a doorway.
Tenenbaum, founder of the Aging in Place Institute, believes The Senior Accessible Housing Act is the first federal bill to incentivize older Americans to prepare their homes for aging in place…
“If you can stay in your home safely, that cuts down on falls, which cost patients and insurance companies $34 billion a year,” says Tenenbaum.
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Cerebrovascular disease linked to Alzheimer's

(Rush University Medical Center) While strokes are known to increase risk for dementia, much less is known about diseases of large and small blood vessels in the brain, separate from stroke, and how they relate to dementia. Diseased blood vessels in the brain itself, which commonly is found in elderly people, may contribute more significantly to Alzheimer's disease dementia than was previously believed, according to new study...
"Cerebral vessel pathology might be an under-recognized risk factor for Alzheimer's disease dementia," the researchers wrote.
The study found that the worse the brain vessel diseases, the higher the chance of having dementia, which is usually attributed to Alzheimer's disease. The increase was 20 to 30 percent for each level of worsening severity. The study also found that atherosclerosis and arteriolosclerosis are associated with lower levels of thinking abilities, including in memory and other thinking skills, and these associations were present in persons with and without dementia.
Community: The Alzheimer’s Association has information on how to minimize damage to the brain’s blood vessels.
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Reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer's disease in 10 patients

(Buck Institute for Research on Aging) Results from quantitative MRI and neuropsychological testing show unprecedented improvements in ten patients with early Alzheimer's disease (AD) or its precursors following treatment with a programmatic and personalized therapy. Results from an approach dubbed metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration are now available online…
The study, which comes jointly from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, is the first to objectively show that memory loss in patients can be reversed, and improvement sustained, using a complex, 36-point therapeutic personalized program that involves comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise, optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple additional steps that affect brain chemistry.
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Complex jobs and social ties appears to help ward off Alzheimer's, new research shows

(Washington Post) Work that involves complex thinking and interaction with other people seems to help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to research presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto.
Two studies looked at how complex work and social engagement counteract the effects of unhealthy diet and cerebrovascular disease on cognition. One found that while a “Western” diet (characterized by red and processed meats, white bread, potatoes, pre-packaged foods, and sweets) is associated with cognitive decline, people who ate such food could offset the negative effects and experienced less cognitive decline if they also had a mentally stimulating lifestyle.
Occupations that afforded the highest levels of protections included lawyer, teacher, social worker, engineer and doctor; the fewest protections were seen among people who held jobs such as laborer, cashier, grocery shelf stocker, and machine operator.
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Marijuana Compounds Show Promise In Protecting Brain Cells From Alzheimer's

(Forbes) Some potentially good news about cannabis compounds is wafting from the Salk Institute labs in San Diego. Researchers discovered that the main psychoactive compound in marijuana—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—and a few other active compounds remove amyloid beta proteins from lab-grown neurons. Amyloid is the toxic protein known to accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The compounds also significantly reduced cellular inflammation, an underlying factor in the disease’s progression…
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” said Professor David Schubert, senior author of the study, in a Salk Institute press release.
The brain produces its own cannabis-like molecules, endocannabinoids, which play a signaling role between cells, but also seem to protect nerve cells from inflammatory amyloid damage. THC in cannabis activates the same receptors as the body’s endocannabinoids.
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Can This Brain Exercise Put Off Dementia?

(Wall Street Journal) One particular type of mental exercise may succeed at doing what nothing else has before: putting off dementia.
A new, 10-year study showed that speed training—computer exercises that get users to visually process information more quickly—beat out memory and reasoning exercises, two other popular brain-training techniques. Researchers found that a total of 11 to 14 hours of speed training has the potential to cut by as much as 48% the risk of developing dementia 10 years later.
The results of the study, called Active, for Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly, were presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers. The study is believed to be the first to demonstrate that a behavioral intervention can reduce the incidence of dementia.
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Diabetes drugs could also treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease, experts reveal

(Daily Express) DRUGS used to treat diabetes could also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and vice versa, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen…
The study report said Alzheimer’s Disease and type 2 diabetes are so closely related that drugs currently used to control glucose levels in diabetes may also alleviate the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The paper, published in the journal Diabetologia, found for the first time that dementia-related complications within the brain can also lead to changes in how the body handles glucose and ultimately diabetes. 
This is contrary to what was previously thought - that diabetes begins with a malfunction in the pancreas or a high fat, high sugar diet.
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Antibiotics weaken Alzheimer's disease progression through changes in the gut microbiome

(University of Chicago Medical Center) Long-term treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics decreased levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and activated inflammatory microglial cells in the brains of mice in a new study by neuroscientists from the University of Chicago.
The study … also showed significant changes in the gut microbiome after antibiotic treatment, suggesting the composition and diversity of bacteria in the gut play an important role in regulating immune system activity that impacts progression of Alzheimer's disease.
"We're exploring very new territory in how the gut influences brain health," said Sangram Sisodia, PhD, Thomas Reynolds Sr. Family Professor of Neurosciences at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. "This is an area that people who work with neurodegenerative diseases are going to be increasingly interested in, because it could have an influence down the road on treatments."
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Progress in world's first Alzheimer's vaccine

(Flinders University) researchers in the U.S. and Australia have made a breakthrough discovery in the international quest to discover a new and potentially effective vaccine targeting the pathological proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.
In research findings…, Flinders University experts, as part of a high-level U.S. research team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and University of California, Irvine (UCI), have made a successful vaccine formulation that targets the abnormal beta-amyloid and tau proteins that signal Alzheimer's disease…
Using a combination of anti-amyloid-beta and anti-tau vaccines with powerful and safe adjuvant technology called Advax developed by Vaxine Pty Ltd "shows promise for both preventive and therapeutic approaches in AD," Professor David Cribbs told Bloomberg news agency in the U.S.
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