Is 70 the new 60? – Study

Is 70 the new 60? I just stumbled across this study and you can imagine my interest, being well into 77 years old.

A new Stony Brook University-led  study to be published in PLOS ONE uses new measures of aging to scientifically illustrate that one’s actual age is not necessarily the best measure of human aging itself, but rather aging should be based on the number of years people are likely to live in a given country in the 21st Century.

The study combines the new measures of aging with probabilistic projections from the United Nations and predicts an end to population aging in the U.S. and other countries before the end of the century. Population aging – when the median age rises in a country because of increasing life expectancy and lower fertility rates —  is a concern for countries because of the perception that population aging leads to declining numbers of working age people and additional social burdens.

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According to Warren Sanderson, Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University and the lead author, this study’s projections imply that as life expectancies increase people are generally healthier with better cognition at older ages and countries can adjust public policies appropriately as to population aging.

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How Healthy is Watermelon?

July is watermelon month here in the U.S. so I thought it might be nice to discuss this giant member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Watermelon harvests also peak in July. It is now the most consumed melon in the U.S. followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. Although watermelons are sold year ’round, summer is their season and that’s when you get the best tasting ones. It is aptly named because a watermelon consists of 92 percent water. Can you say super-hydrator?

Full disclosure: Mr. Lazy Cook loves watermelon. What’s not to like? It is utterly simple to deal with and tastes delicious. Below is a photo of my first watermelon this year. Yum.

My first watermelon of the season

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Dairy – Good or Bad? – MNT

I started drinking soymilk some years ago after reading some scare stories about cow milk consumption. I don’t even remember the reasons now, but I do look forward to my quarts of soymilk that I buy from Costco. Since starting I can’t put my finger on any negative health effects.

This extensive Medical News Today rundown by Hannah Nichols gives a lot of useful detail on the subject.

What do government health guidelines say? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food MyPlate guidelines, to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, healthy food and beverage choices should be made from all five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.

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The dairy food group consists of all fluid milk products and many foods that are made from milk. The USDA recommend that food choices from the dairy group should retain their calcium content and be low-fat or fat-free. Fat in milk, yogurt, and cheese that is not low-fat or fat-free will count toward your limit of calories from saturated fats.

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What happens after you quit smoking: A timeline

As regular readers know, I feel strongly that smoking is an unmitigated blight on our lives. We lose over 170,000 people to it every year – just in lung cancer alone – totally preventable. To be honest, I am surprised that anyone who can read would choose to be a smoker. Nonetheless, it is so. I have a Page on it – How many ways does smoking harm you?   which I recommend you check out after reading this.

I am reproducing what follows from Medical News Today because I like the way they spell out positive aspects of ceasing smoking. Jenna Fletcher wrote it.

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Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Despite this, some smokers find quitting daunting. They think it will take a very long time before seeing improvements in their health and well-being.

However, the timeline for seeing real benefits to quitting smoking is much faster than most people realize. Health benefits begin in as little as an hour after the last cigarette and continue to improve. Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, cholesterol, coronary heart disease, impact of quitting smoking, smoking, Smoking dangers

Can Exercise Slow Cognitive Decline?

Experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease are conducting a national clinical study to determine if exercise may be an effective non-drug intervention for maintaining cognitive fitness.

The Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center is the only site in Illinois, and one of only 15 sites across the United States leading the Exercise in Adults With Mild Memory Problems (EXERT) study, which is trying to determine if exercise can slow the progress of memory loss and cognitive impairment in older adults.

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Neuroscientists are collaborating with the YMCA to provide individualized, one-on-one exercise programs and personal training to study participants. Rush will be working with the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, Illinois, to provide 45-minute personal training sessions for one year.

Adults with memory issues may avoid being active when they need it most

“We want to see if a personalized program implemented in the community and prescribed by health care providers can be an effective therapy for people with memory issues,” said Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, associate professor of neurology and principal investigator of the EXERT study at Rush. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, brain, brain function, brain health, cognitive decline, exercise and brain health

Perhaps you don’t want fries with that …

A hundred years ago, it seems, when I ate at McDonald’s regularly, I never missed a chance to enjoy their fries. This study from Medical News Today suggests that wasn’t the best idea. Fortunately, I am no longer a regular at Mickey D’s.
Eating two to three portions of fried potatoes each week could increase the risk of early death.
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Do you want fries with that? A new study provides a good reason to say “no,” after finding that eating two to three portions of fried potatoes every week could raise the risk of early death by twofold.

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Fitness funnies and GIFs

Some more pics and GIFs on the important subjects of exercise and health. Enjoy!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU DADS OUT THERE!

 

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Get outdoors and move.

 

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What does it take to be a super-ager? – Harvard

One of the stated aims of this blog is to live past 100. Posts every day touch on that goal, but mostly in a ‘part of the big picture’ way. Herewith some positive ideas from Harvard Health publications directly on the subject of super-aging.

Finding role models who are older than we are gets more difficult as we age. But in the last few years, medical science has identified a new group we can aspire to join — the super-agers. The term refers to people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts.

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Although super-agers’ brains show less cell loss than those of their contemporaries, their IQs and educational levels are similar. What sets them apart might be that they view problem-solving differently, Dr. Dickerson says. “They may approach these tasks as a challenge they can succeed at, in contrast to typical older adults who may give up.” Continue reading

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Harvard, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, super-ager

A fresh look at Obesity – Harvard

I have been writing about obesity for years here. There are included links at the bottom of this post if you want to read further on the subject.

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Madeline Drexler, Editor, Harvard Public Health, wrote in the Spring 2017 issue: “According to 2014 national data, 35 percent of adult men and 40.4 percent of adult women are obese—that is, their body mass index, or BMI, a standard calculation of weight divided by height, is greater than or equal to 30. (Normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9; overweight is 25 to 29.9.) Among youth 2 to 19 years old, the prevalence of obesity is 17 percent, and extreme obesity (a BMI at or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile on standard child growth charts), 5.8 percent. All told, more than 70 percent of Americans ages 20 and over are either overweight or obese. Continue reading

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Sweet or savory? Research on how the brain makes preference-based decisions

Some like it hot, but most folks choose sweet or savory ahead of it.

Researchers have found a direct window into the brain systems involved in making every day decisions based on preference.

The study, led by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, and published in Nature Communications, offers crucial insight into the neural mechanisms underlying our decision-making process, opening up new avenues for the investigation of preference-based choices in humans.

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Whether we decide to opt for a piece of apple or a piece of cake is, for example, a preference-based decision. How our brains arrive at such decisions – as well as choices that rely on our subjective valuation of different alternatives – is currently a popular research topic. Continue reading

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Surprising answer to – Is white bread, or whole wheat bread healthier?

Despite many studies looking at which bread is the healthiest, it is still not clear what effect bread and differences among bread types have on clinically relevant parameters and on the microbiome. In the journal Cell Metabolism, Weizmann Institute researchers report the results of a comprehensive, randomized trial in 20 healthy subjects comparing differences in how processed white bread and artisanal whole wheat sourdough affect the body.

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Surprisingly, the investigators found the bread itself didn’t greatly affect the participants and that different people reacted differently to the bread. The research team then devised an algorithm to help predict how individuals may respond to the bread in their diets.

 

All of the participants in the study normally consumed about 10% of their calories from bread. Half were assigned to consume an increased amount of processed, packaged white bread for a week – around 25% of their calories – and half to consume an increased amount of whole wheat sourdough, which was baked especially for the study and delivered fresh to the participants. After a 2-week period without bread, the diets for the two groups were reversed.

Before the study and throughout the time it was ongoing, many health effects were monitored. These included wakeup glucose levels; levels of the essential minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium; fat and cholesterol levels; kidney and liver enzymes; and several markers for inflammation and tissue damage. The investigators also measured the makeup of the participants’ microbiomes before, during, and after the study.

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Fitness funnies …

Here are some more pics and GIFs I stumbled upon in my web wandering.

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That’s what I call resourceful.

Tony

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How to Beat the Heat

I personally prefer extreme cold to extreme heat, because you can always add layers and go out, but with heat, no matter how much you take off, you are still uncomfortable once you are outside.

I cruised the web and wanted to share some of the suggestions of others in the same situation.

Our friends overseas at the Daily Mail offered some very down to earth ones, including: “Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.”

A similar concept came up in my blog item The Brain is an Oxygen Burner explaining why we often feel sluggish after eating a big meal because digestion requires a lot of oxygen that would be going to the brain, but is diverted to the gut.
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Filed under Exercise, extreme heat, outdoor exercise, Risky exercise, summer exercise

6 ways your pet can boost your health and well being – Medical News Today

As regular readers know, I am a dog lover . I have posted about my poodle, Gabi, a number of times. She accompanies me on about 5000 miles of bikes rides every year. So, I was very pleased to run across this item by Honor Whiteman on Medical News Today.

On arriving home after a long, stressful day at work, you are greeted at the door by an overexcited four-legged friend. It can’t fail to put a smile on your face. Pet ownership is undoubtedly one of the greatest pleasures in life, providing companionship and giggles galore. But the benefits do not end there; your pet could be doing wonders for your health and well-being.
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My intrepid little partner, Gabi, in her basket wearing her hat ready to ride.

The United States is a nation of animal lovers; more than 65 percent of households own a pet, with dogs and cats being the most popular choice.

It is no surprise that so many of us have a pet in our lives; not only are animals fantastic company, but they also teach us compassion and offer unconditional love.

As British novelist George Eliot once said, “Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

Adding to pets’ indisputable charm is the wealth of benefits they offer for human health and well-being. We take a closer look at what these are.

1. Lower risk of allergies

Around 50 million people in the U.S. have nasal allergies, and pet dander is one of the most common triggers.With this in mind, it may come as a surprise that pets could actually lower the risk of developing allergies.

One study reported by Medical News Today in 2015 associated exposure to dogs and farm animals in early life with a lower risk of asthma development by school age.

More recent research published in the journal Microbiome found that children who were exposed to household pets prior to birth and up to 3 months after experienced changes in gut bacteria associated with childhood allergies. Continue reading

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Filed under allergies, biking, depression, Exercise, exercise benefits, heart, mental health, pets and well being, sleep

Home blood pressure monitors inaccurate 70 percent of the time: Study

What to watch out for when choosing and using your own device

Advances in technology have made it possible for us to take measurements of our body that previously we had to rely on doctor visits to get done. This is a positive development that saves us time and money – on the assumption that we can do as accurate a measurement as the hospital. Seems that is not necessarily the case with home blood pressure monitors.

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Seventy per cent of readings from home blood pressure monitors are unacceptably inaccurate, which could cause serious implications for people who rely on them to make informed health decisions, new UAlberta research reveals.

“High blood pressure is the number one cause of death and disability in the world,” said medical researcher Jennifer Ringrose, who led the research study. “Monitoring for and treating hypertension can decrease the consequences of this disease. We need to make sure that home blood pressure readings are accurate.” (my emphasis)
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What is that lump?

This body we dwell in is one magnificent organic machine. And, like a machine, it requires maintenance. Intelligent eating, regular exercise and good sleep habits are a running start on good health. But what about the vagaries of our physical bodies? Like a lump somewhere. Here is what Rush University Medical Center suggests.

It can be alarming to feel a new lump or bump that pops up on or under your skin … but not every bump is something to worry about, says Timothy Wollner, DO, a family medicine physician at Rush.

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Location, location, location

If you notice a new bump, your first stop should be your primary care doctor’s office.

“A physician with some experience has likely seen and felt thousands of the really common, harmless lumps and bumps,” Wollner says, “and has probably seen hundreds of even the more rare and worrisome ones.” Continue reading

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