Friday, August 23, 2019

Increasing evidence shows age-related diseases--rather than age itself--may be the key cause of cognitive decline


Declining mental sharpness "just comes with age," right? Not so fast, say geriatrics researchers and clinicians gathered at a prestigious 2018 conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) with support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In a report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS), attendees of a conference for the NIA's Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists Transition into Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program describe how increasing evidence shows age-related diseases--rather than age itself--may be the key cause of cognitive decline. And while old age remains a primary risk factor for cognitive impairment, researchers believe future research--and sustained funding--could illuminate more complex, nuanced connections between cognitive health, overall health, and how we approach age.

"We've long been taught that cognitive issues are 'just part of aging,'" explains Christopher R. Carpenter, MD, MSc, who helped coordinate the conference. "But contemporary medical research shows how bodily changes that lead to diseases like dementia appear long before the symptoms we associate with 'old age.' This begs the question: Is it really age that causes cognitive decline, or is it ultimately the diseases we now associate with age--in large part because we see them with increasing frequency now that we live longer? That's what we wanted to tackle coming together for this meeting."

Hosted by the AGS and NIA in 2018 as the third conference in a three-part series for GEMSSTAR scholars, the NIA "U13" conference brought together NIA experts and more than 100 scholars, researchers, and leaders representing 13 medical specialties to explore experiences with cognitive impairment across health care. Conference findings, published in JAGS (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16093), detail early thinking on the two-way relationship between cognitive health and the health of other organ systems, as well as opportunities for moving science and practice forward.
According to attendees, several themes emerged:
  • Researchers and clinicians from across health care noted the critical relationship between two of their top concerns: Dementia and delirium (the medical term for abrupt, rapid-onset confusion or an altered mental state, which affects millions of older adults annually). Research now suggests delirium and dementia are mutually inclusive risk factors, with cases of one prompting risks for the other. Thus, prevention of delirium may offer the unprecedented opportunity to prevent or lessen future cognitive decline.
  • Still, as one of the conference attendees noted, "[T]he brain is not an island." Because the conference focused on the impact of cognitive impairment across specialties, a critical focal point for scholars was the complex, bi-directional relationship between cognition and the rest of the body. Cognitive impairments can serve as indicators or influencers in the course of other diseases and conditions. For example, cognitive impairment is perhaps "the strongest independent predictor" of hospital readmission and mortality for older people living with heart failure.
  • As the field progresses, however, a major barrier remains: A dearth of research owing to the exclusion of potential study participants who are cognitively impaired. Though obtaining informed consent (the term used to describe a person's willingness to participate in a study after confirming they understand all the possible risks and benefits) remains challenging, researchers pointed to data that willingness to participate remains high. Coupled with suggestions for tailoring consent safeguards to the types of studies and potential participants thus holds promise for protecting against exploitation while continuing to move cutting-edge care principles forward.
As the GEMSSTAR conference attendees concluded, "The aging of the U.S. population and the growing burden of dementia make this an area of critical research focus...[U]nderstanding and addressing cognitive health and its relationship with the health of other organ systems will require multidisciplinary team science...[and new] study designs..."

Cannabis flower is an effective medication for pain



Using the largest database of real-time recordings of the effects of common and commercially available cannabis products in the United States (U.S.), researchers at The University of New Mexico (UNM) found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption.
With a mounting opioid epidemic at full force and relatively few alternative pain medications available to the general public, scientists found conclusive support that cannabis is very effective at reducing pain caused by different types of health conditions, with relatively minimal negative side effects.
Chronic pain afflicts more than 20 percent of adults and is the most financially burdensome health condition that the U.S faces; exceeding, for example, the combined costs of treating heart disease and cancer.
"Our country has been flooded with an over-prescription of opioids medications, which then often leads to non-prescription opioid and heroin use for many people. This man-made disaster is killing our families and friends, regardless of socio-economic status, skin tone, and other superficial human differences" said Jacob Miguel Vigil, one of the lead investigators of the study, titled "The Effectiveness of Self-Directed Medical Cannabis Treatment for Pain," published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Vigil explains, "Cannabis offers the average patient an effective alternative to using opioids for general use in the treatment of pain with very minimal negative side effects for most people."
The researchers relied on information collected with Releaf App, a mobile software program developed by co-authors Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling and Branden Hall. The app. enables cannabis users to monitor the real-time effects of the breadth of available cannabis-based products, which are always variable, of course, given the complexity of the Cannabis plant from which these products are obtained.
Since its release in 2016, the commercially developed Releaf App has been the only publicly available, incentive-free app for educating patients on how different types of products (e.g., flower or concentrate), combustion methods, cannabis subspecies (Indica, Sativa, and hybrid), and major cannabinoid contents (THC and CBD) affect their symptom severity levels, providing the user invaluable feedback on their health status, medication choices, and the clinical outcomes of those choices as measured by symptom relief and side effects.
Scientifically, software like the Releaf App enables researchers to overcome the inherent limitations of government-funded clinical trials on the real-time effects of Cannabis, which are rare in general, but also often limited by onerous federal regulations, including its Schedule I status (no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential) and the mandate that investigators use the notoriously poor quality and low potency cannabis products supplied by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
"Even just rescheduling cannabis just from Schedule I to Schedule II, i.e., classifying it with fentanyl, oxycodone, and cocaine rather than heroin and ecstasy, could dramatically improve our ability to conduct research and only would require that the DEA recognizes that accepted medical uses for cannabis exist, as clearly evidenced by our results and the flourishing medical cannabis programs in the majority of U.S. states," pointed out co-author Sarah Stith.
Among the study's findings the greatest analgesic responses were reported by people that used whole dried cannabis flower, or 'buds,' and particularly cannabis with relatively high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. The more recently popularized cannabinoid, cannabidiol or CBD, in contrast, showed little association with the momentary changes in pain intensity, based on the massive database explored in the study.
"Cannabis likely has numerous constituents that possess analgesic properties beyond THC, including terpenes and flavonoids, which likely act synergistically for people that use whole dried cannabis flower," said Vigil, "Our results confirm that cannabis use is a relatively safe and effective medication for alleviating pain, and that is the most important message to learn from our results. It can only benefit the public for people to be able to responsibly weigh the true risks and benefits of their pain medication choices, and when given this opportunity, I've seen numerous chronic pain patients substitute away from opioid use, among many other classes of medications, in favor of medical cannabis."
"Perhaps the most surprising result is just how widespread relief was with symptom relief reported in about 95 percent of cannabis administration sessions and across a wide variety of different types of pain," added lead author of the study, Xiaoxue Li.
The authors do caution that cannabis use does carry the risks of addiction and short-term impairments in cognitive and behavioral functioning, and may not be effective for everyone. However, there are multiple mechanisms by which cannabis alleviates pain suffering. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis activates receptors that are colocalized with opioid receptors in the brain. "Cannabis with high THC also causes mood elevation and adjusts attentional demands, likely distracting patients from the aversive sensations that people refer to "pain," explains Vigil.
"When compared to the negative health risks associated with opioid use, which currently takes the lives of over 115 Americans a day, cannabis may be an obvious value to patients. Chronic opioid use is associated with poorer quality of life, social isolation, lower immune functioning and early morbidity. In contrast, my own ongoing research increasingly suggests that cannabis use is associated with a reversal of each of these potential outcomes," said Vigil

Physical activity at any intensity linked to lower risk of early death


But being sedentary for several hours a day linked to increased risk


Clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity -- regardless of intensity -- are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, is published by The BMJ today.
The findings also show that being sedentary, for example sitting still, for 9.5 hours or more a day (excluding sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death.
Previous studies have repeatedly suggested that sedentary behaviour is bad and physical activity is good for health and long life.
Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, but are based mainly on self reported activity, which is often imprecise. So exactly how much activity (and at what intensity) is needed to protect health remains unclear.
To explore this further, researchers led by Professor Ulf Ekelund at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo analysed observational studies assessing physical activity and sedentary time with death ("all cause mortality").
Studies used accelerometers (a wearable device that tracks the volume and intensity of activity during waking hours) to measure total activity in counts per minute (cpm) of wear time. Intensity is usually separated into light, moderate and vigorous -- and the time in these intensities is then estimated.
Examples of light intensity activity includes walking slowly or light tasks such as cooking or washing dishes. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, vacuuming or mowing the lawn, while vigorous activity includes jogging, carrying heavy loads or digging.
Data from eight high quality studies involving 36,383 adults aged at least 40 years (average age 62) were included. Activity levels were categorised into quarters, from least to most active, and participants were tracked for an average of 5.8 years.
During follow-up, 2149 (5.9%) participants died. After adjusting for potentially influential factors, the researchers found that any level of physical activity, regardless of intensity, was associated with a substantially lower risk of death.
Deaths fell steeply as total activity increased up to a plateau at 300 cpm, similar to the average activity levels in a population-based sample of US men and about 10-15% lower than that observed in Scandinavian men and women.
A similarly steep decrease in deaths occurred with increasing duration of light physical activity up to a plateau of about 300 minutes (5 hours) per day and of moderate intensity physical activity of about 24 minutes per day.
The largest reduction in risk of death (about 60-70%) was between the first quarter (least active) and the fourth quarter (most active), with approximately five times more deaths in those being inactive compared with those most active. This strengthens the view that any physical activity is beneficial and likely achievable for large segments of the population say the researchers.
In contrast, spending 9.5 hours or more each day sedentary was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of death.
The researchers point to some limitations. For example, all studies were conducted in the US and western Europe, and included adults who were at least 40 years old, so findings may not apply to other populations or to younger people.
Nevertheless, they say the large sample size and device based measures of sedentary time and physical activity provide more precise results than previous studies.
As such, they say their results provide important data for informing public health recommendations, and suggest that the public health message might simply be "sit less and move more and more often."
These findings are important and easy to interpret, say researchers in a linked editorial. However, questions remain, particularly over whether the effect of physical activity continues above a certain threshold.
They acknowledge that increasing activity at the population level is challenging, but say walking is one promising target for intervention, as it is simple, affordable (free), achievable even for older adults, and rarely contraindicated.
"Developing ways to limit sedentary time and increase activity at any level could considerably improve health and reduce mortality," they conclude.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Lower levels of dietary vitamins and antioxidants are linked to frailty in older adults


Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin have shown in the largest study to date that lower levels of specific dietary vitamins and antioxidants are associated with frailty.
Frailty is a common chronic syndrome which affects up to 25% of adults over 65 years and over half of adults over 80. Frailty is characterised by an overall decline in physical function and a loss of ability to bounce back after experiencing a stressful event such as infection, a fall or surgery. It is associated with poor health, disability and death. The TILDA study examined the association of vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, lutein and zeaxanthin levels with frailty.
The B vitamins (B12 and folate) are important for several cellular processes throughout the body including DNA repair and energy metabolism. Vitamin D is essential for bone metabolism, muscle strength and mood. Lutein and zeaxanthin have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties important in eye health and brain health. Low levels of all of these vitamins and antioxidants is common among Irish adults.
In this new research lower levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin D were consistently associated with not only frailty but also earlier stages of 'pre-frailty' (a subclinical precursor of frailty). Low levels of B vitamins were associated with pre-frailty. Furthermore, the accumulation of micronutrient insufficiencies - having low levels of more than one micronutrient - was progressively associated with severity stages of frailty.
This data raises the question of the role of dietary supplementation and contributes to the ongoing policy discussions regarding fortification.
Lead author of the study and Senior Research Fellow at TILDA, Dr Aisling O'Halloran, said: "We have presented evidence in the largest study to date that lower levels of specific vitamins and antioxidants - and having low levels of more than one micronutrient - is consistently and progressively associated with the most commonly used methods for measuring frailty. Our data suggest that low micronutrient status may act as an easily modified marker and intervention target for frailty among adults aged 50 years and over".
Principal Investigator of TILDA, Professor Rose-Anne Kenny said:
"Frailty occurs when a number of systems in the body lose reserve capacity and therefore the ability to 'bounce back' after even trivial illnesses. It is an important and challenging state; commonly associated with ageing but also common in patients of any age who have major surgery, cancer treatments and severe infections. The hall mark of frailty is muscle weakness. If it is recognised in its early stages, it can be reversed. However, the longer it is present, the more difficult is it to 'bounce back' and generalised weakness and fatigue become progressively worse. This research suggests new potential treatments for a common and important condition."
Co-author of the study Dr Eamon Laird said "Again we see that micronutrients (including vitamin D) are associated with better health outcomes in older adults. However we still lack a food fortification policy in Ireland and whilst this continues, we miss the opportunity of a cost-effective strategy to prevent and intervene in the progression of these conditions. As of yet there is no sign that the Irish government or the FSAI (Food Safety Authority Ireland) intend to advise or implement on such a strategy".

New report finds 100% juice helps improve children's diet quality

The Juice Products Association

A new report published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition by pediatrician Dr. Robert D. Murray supports existing scientific data maintaining juice as part of a healthy diet. The report reinforces that claims that 100% juice may be associated with childhood weight gain or negative health outcomes have not been supported by recent scientific research including a number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
"Juice has recently been cast in a negative light without scientific evidence to support these claims," said Dr. Robert Murray, pediatric nutritionist and immediate past president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "This report encourages parents and other consumers to look at a child's total diet before judging foods or beverages "good" or "bad." Foods should be judged not on individual attributes such as fat or sugar but on their contributions to the diet as a whole."
"Drinking 100% fruit juice has many positive attributes that improve overall diet quality," Dr. Murray stated, "When juice is eliminated from a child's diet, it can have unintended negative nutritional consequences, especially for low-income populations."
National surveys show many Americans have poor quality diets. The report notes that while juices do lack fiber, they retain the majority of the same health-promoting nutrients, bioactives and phytochemicals found in whole fruit. Fruit juice drinkers also have better quality diets, consume more whole fruit, less added sugar and saturated fat and greater amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and fiber than non-juice drinkers.
"Over the past three decades, fruit juice consumption has fallen substantially yet the gap has not been filled by the consumption of whole fruit. A combination of whole fruit and juice is the best way for children and adults to meet their daily-recommended fruit servings and improve their overall diet," said Dr. Murray. "Young children are typically the biggest juice drinkers. They are also the only age group in the United States consuming enough servings of fruit."

Monday, August 19, 2019

Gastroesophageal reflux associated with chronic pain in temporomandibular joint


Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is associated with chronic, painful temporomandibular disorder -- pain in the temporomandibular joint -- and anxiety and poor sleep contribute to this association, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.181535. Pain from temporomandibular disorder (TMD) affects about 13% of Canada's population. Reflux is an uncomfortable condition in which stomach contents are regurgitated into the throat. Evidence indicates that anxiety, somatization and depression are linked to GERD.
Researchers from China and the United States looked at data on 1522 patients with chronic TMD, of whom 69% (1048) were women, to understand the relationship between chronic TMD and GERD and to determine if anxiety, somatization and depression influence the association. They found symptomatic GERD was a risk factor for TMD, and people with a longer history of GERD had a higher risk of TMD than those with a shorter history.
"The interactions between chronic musculoskeletal diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, mental disorders and sleep problems are complicated," writes Dr. Jihua Chen, The Dental College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia, and The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China, with coauthors. "There is evidence to support the bidirectional nature of the associations among these comorbidities, and patients may be stuck in a cycle in which undermined sleep, somatization and anxiety exacerbate the pain, with the pain also leading to sleep problems and mental disorders."
The authors suggest physicians need to be aware of the association and consider multidisciplinary management programs to help patients with TMD and chronic pain.
"Physicians and patients may overlook the association between chronic musculoskeletal disease and gastrointestinal symptoms," write the authors. "Patients with both chronic TMD and reflux symptoms may be underdiagnosed, resulting in deferred effective treatment and a prolonged disease course."
"Associations among gastroesophageal reflux disease, mental disorders, sleep and chronic temporomandibular disorder: a case-control study" is published August 19, 2019.

Insomnia tied to higher risk of heart disease and stroke


People suffering from insomnia may have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
Previous observational studies have found an association between insomnia, which affects up to 30% of the general population, and an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. These observational studies were unable to determine whether insomnia is a cause, or if it is just associated with them, explained Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
In this first-of-its-kind study on insomnia, Larsson and a colleague applied Mendelian randomization, a technique that uses genetic variants known to be connected with a potential risk factor, such as insomnia, to reduce bias in the results. The 1.3 million participants with or without heart disease and stroke were drawn from four major public studies and groups.
Researchers found genetic variants for insomnia were associated with significantly higher odds of coronary artery disease, heart failure and ischemic stroke - particularly large artery stroke, but not atrial fibrillation.
"It's important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it," Larsson said. "Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management."
A limitation to this study is that the results represent a genetic variant link to insomnia rather than insomnia itself. According to Larsson, it was not possible to determine whether or not the individuals with cardiovascular disease had insomnia.

Prescription omega-3 fatty acid medications effectively lower high triglycerides


Prescription omega-3 fatty acid medication reduces triglyceride levels by 20-30% among the majority of people who require treatment for high triglyceride levels, according to a science advisory from the American Heart Association.
"From our review of the evidence from 17 randomized, controlled clinical trials on high triglyceride levels, we concluded that treatment with 4 grams daily of any of the available prescription choices is effective and can be used safely in conjunction with statin medicines that lower cholesterol," said Ann Skulas-Ray, Ph.D., an author of the new science advisory published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
There are two prescription omega-3 fatty acid medications available. One combines two types of fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The other medication provides EPA only. Since there have been no head-to-head comparisons of the two different formulations at prescription dosing, the advisory does not recommend one over the other.
Triglycerides are fats that circulate in the blood. Some studies have shown that elevated levels of triglycerides (above 200 mg/dL) can lead to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition to cardiovascular risk, very high levels of triglycerides (above 500 mg/dL) can also cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
Skulas-Ray points out that people with high triglyceride levels should not try to treat the condition themselves with non-prescription, omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplements.
"Dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are not regulated by the FDA. They should not be used in place of prescription medication for the long-term management of high triglycerides," said Skulas-Ray, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In a 2017 science advisory, the American Heart Association noted that there is a lack of scientific research to support clinical use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population.
The effective dose for prescription omega-3 fatty acids is four grams per day taken with food. Currently, the FDA has approved prescription omega-3 fatty acid medications only for treating very high triglyceride levels above 500 mg/dL.
Healthy lifestyle choices, such as getting regular physical activity, losing weight, avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates, limiting alcohol as well as choosing healthier fats from plants in place of saturated fats can help reduce triglycerides. It is also important to treat or eliminate conditions such as poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism and obesity that may contribute to high triglyceride levels before turning to medication.
Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish - such as salmon, mackerel, herring and albacore tuna - at least two times per week.
In analyzing the current scientific data, the advisory panel found:
  • For most people with high triglycerides (200 to 499 mg/dL), prescription doses of omega-3 fatty acids using drugs with either EPA+DHA or EPA alone can reduce triglyceride by 20 to 30%.
  • Contrary to common perception, the formula that contains both EPA and DHA does not increase the "bad" form of cholesterol (LDL-C) among most people with high triglyceride levels (200-499 mg/dL). However, when the drug is given to people with very high triglyceride levels at 500 mg/dL or greater, LDL-C may increase.
  • The panel's review found that the prescription omega-3 drugs are effective in reducing triglyceride levels regardless of whether people are on statin therapy.
  • In a recent large, randomized placebo-controlled study called REDUCE-IT, researchers found that the EPA-only medication combined with statin medication resulted in a 25% reduction in major cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death) among people with high triglycerides.
Elevated triglycerides are relatively common among people in the United States, and the prevalence is increasing due to growing rates of obesity and diabetes. Both of those conditions raise triglyceride levels. About 25% of adults in the U.S. have a triglyceride level above 150 mg/dL, which is considered borderline high.

Brain game exercises can enable people in their 70s and even 80s to multitask cognitively


A University of California, Irvine-led study has found that online brain game exercises can enable people in their 70s and even 80s to multitask cognitively as well as individuals 50 years their junior. This is an increasingly valuable skill, given today's daily information onslaught, which can divide attention and be particularly taxing for older adults.
"The brain is not a muscle, but like our bodies, if we work out and train it, we can improve our mental performance," said lead author Mark Steyvers, a UCI professor of cognitive sciences. "We discovered that people in the upper age ranges who completed specific training tasks were able to beef up their brain's ability to switch between tasks in the game at a level similar to untrained 20- and 30-year-olds."
The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, underscore the cognitive cost of multitasking, which dilutes function by splitting focus, as well as the ways in which people across the lifespan can overcome the brain drain brought on by both the increasingly cluttered multimedia environment and the natural aging process.
For the study, Steyvers and his colleagues partnered with Lumosity, an online platform that offers a variety of daily brain training games. They focused on data from "Ebb and Flow" - a task-switching game that challenges the brain's ability to shift between cognitive processes interpreting shapes and movement. Of the millions of people who played the game between 2012 and 2017, researchers randomly sampled the performance of about 1,000 users within two categories: those who ranged in age from 21 to 80 and had completed fewer than 60 training sessions; and adults 71 to 80 who had logged at least 1,000 sessions.
They found that the majority of older and highly practiced players were able to match or exceed the performance of younger users who had not played very much. Any lead seniors had, though, significantly declined after the 21- to 30-year-olds had completed more than 10 practice sessions.
"Medical advances and improved lifestyles are allowing us to live longer," Steyvers said. "It's important to factor brain health into that equation. We show that with consistent upkeep, cognitive youth can be retained well into our golden years."

Physical activity in adolescence and later life reduces risk



The effects of more than 60 minutes of moderate daily physical exercise, such as walking, accumulate throughout life and are associated with a 39% reduction in the risk of advanced adenomatous polyps, a precursor of colorectal cancer, the third most frequent type of cancer in Brazil.
This is the main finding of an epidemiological study published in the British Journal of Cancer. The study was conducted by researchers in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of São Paulo's Medical School (FM-USP) in Brazil and colleagues elsewhere, specifically Harvard University in the United States. It was supported by a Research Internship Abroad Scholarship (BEPE) from FAPESP.
"The links between physical activity, adenomas and colorectal cancer are well understood, but this is the first study to demonstrate the cumulative effects of physical activity starting in adolescence on the incidence of colorectal adenoma," said Leandro Rezende, a researcher at FM-USP and one of the authors of the study.
The authors analyzed the data of 28,250 women included in the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), one of the largest investigations into risk factors for major chronic diseases ever conducted. The sample population included women aged 25-42 years who were employed as nurses and medical residents in the United States. It was one of a series of prospective cohort studies conducted to examine the etiology of chronic diseases and the long-term effects of physical activity, nutrition, hormones and the environment, among other factors, on health and disease development.
The study published this year in the British Journal of Cancer analyzed the association between physical activity during adolescence and risk of adenoma later in life and adjusted for such known risk factors as smoking, diet, alcohol intake, and family history of colorectal cancer.
The results of the analysis showed that physical activity in adolescence (12-22) reduced the risk of adenoma by 7% compared with little or no physical activity (less than 60 minutes per day). Physical activity in only adulthood (23-64) reduced the risk by 9%. Physical activity in both adolescence and adulthood reduced the risk by 24%.
According to Rezende, the small difference between the impact of physical activity in adolescence alone and in adulthood alone reflects the different lengths of the two periods. "The reduction is actually similar in each case," he said. "This tendency suggests that there is a cumulative effect of physical activity as life goes on. Whether it's during adolescence or adulthood, the more physical activity we get, the lower the risk of developing adenoma in adulthood becomes."
The finding that most surprised the researchers, however, was that adequate physical activity in both adolescence and adulthood reduced the risk of advanced adenoma by 39%. "This increased level of risk reduction correlated with villous adenomas, which are aggressive polyps with a diameter of more than 1 cm and are the most likely to evolve into colorectal cancer," Rezende said.
According to the researchers, physical activity may reduce the risk of carcinogenesis by decreasing body fat, inflammation and insulin levels.
Wealth of data For José Eluf Neto, Full Professor at FM-USP and Rezende's PhD thesis adviser, the results of the study confirm the importance of policies to encourage physical activity as a public health priority.
"Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and the science shows that physical activity alone is a key factor in reducing the risk of adenoma. However, it should be kept in mind that an adenoma is not cancer. In other words, we've shown that physical activity helps prevent the disease from even occurring because it reduces the risk of developing a precursor," Eluf Neto told.
Sedentary behavior in adolescence has been a major concern, especially in connection with colorectal cancer, he added. "Although in most cases the disease appears after the age of 60, the number of patients under 50 is rising. We don't know if this is because more people are being diagnosed or undergoing colonoscopies, or whether early exposure to risk factors such as a sedentary lifestyle may be driving the earlier incidence of colorectal adenoma or cancer," he said.
The Nurses' Health Study II began in the late 1980s, with a target population of nurses between 25 and 42 years of age. Each set of two-year cohort members received a follow-up questionnaire with questions about diseases and health-related topics, including smoking, hormone use, pregnancy history, and menopausal status. The 1997 questionnaire was the first to include items relating to physical activity, diet and obesity during adolescence (when they were between 12 and 22 years of age).
"They answered questions on home-school commute times and methods, and on moderate physical activity such as walking as well as more intense exercise such as gym classes, swimming and other sports. This enabled us to estimate the level of physical activity during their adolescence," Rezende said.
Follow-up continued until 2011, when the questionnaire included further items on lifestyle habits between the ages of 23 and 64 - a period in which the nurses responded the questionnaire every two years. To participate in the study, the nurses had to have undergone at least one sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, since polyps and adenomas are asymptomatic.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Latest Health Research - Diet, etc

 
 
Key take-aways: Good - Apples, especially organic; tea, dark chocolate, plant-based foods, mindfulness meditation, probiotics, rye, blueberries. Bad: more than 2 caffienated drinks a day, lavender oil
 
Diet

An apple carries about 100 million bacteria -- good luck washing them off

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 18 hours ago
 
To the heroes among you who eat the whole apple: besides extra fiber, flavonoids and flavor, you're also quaffing 10 times as many bacteria per fruit as your core-discarding counterparts. Is this a good thing? Probably. But it might depend on how your apples were grown. Published in *Frontiers in Microbiology*, a new study shows that organic apples harbor a more diverse and balanced bacterial community -- which could make them healthier and tastier than conventional apples, as well as better for the environment. *You are w... more »

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 18 hours ago
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders. The study, published in *Depression and Anxiety*, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed. Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants' chocolat... more »
 

Apples, tea and moderation -- the 3 ingredients for a long life

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Consuming flavonoid-rich items such as apples and tea protects against cancer and heart disease, particularly for smokers and heavy drinkers, according to new research from Edith Cowan University (ECU). Researchers from ECU's School of Medical and Health Sciences analysed data from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort that assessed the diets of 53,048 Danes over 23 years. They found that people who habitually consumed moderate to high amounts of foods rich in flavonoids, compounds found in plant-based foods and drinks, were less likely to die from cancer or heart disease. *No q... more »

1-2 caffeinated drinks not linked with higher risk of migraines; 3+ may trigger them

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 6 days ago
Afflicting more than one billion adults worldwide, migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world. In addition to severe headache, symptoms of migraine can include nausea, changes in mood, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as visual and auditory hallucinations. People who suffer from migraine report that weather patterns, sleep disturbances, hormonal changes, stress, medications and certain foods or beverages can bring on migraine attacks. However, few studies have evaluated the immediate effects of these suspected triggers. In a study published today in the *Amer... more »

Eating more plant-based foods may be linked to better heart health --

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Eating mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods may be linked to better heart health and a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease according to new research published in the *Journal of the American Heart Association*, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. "While you don't have to give up foods derived from animals completely, our study does suggest that eating a larger proportion of plant-based foods and a smaller proportion of animal-based foods may help reduce your risk of havin... more »
 

Substituting poultry for red meat may reduce breast cancer risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Results from a new study suggest that red meat consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer, whereas poultry consumption may be protective against breast cancer risk. The findings are published in the *International Journal of Cancer*. For the study, investigators analyzed information on consumption of different types of meat and meat cooking practices from 42,012 women who were followed for an average of 7.6 years. During follow-up, 1,536 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed. Increasing consumption of red meat was associated with increased risk of invasive breast cancer: ... more »

Dietary choline associates with reduced risk of dementia

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland is the first to observe that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Phosphatidylcholine was also linked to enhanced cognitive performance. The main dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine were eggs and meat. The findings were published in the *American Journal of Clinical Nutrition*. Choline is an essential nutrient, usually occurring in food in various compounds. Choline is also necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Earlier studies have l... more »

Eating rye comes with a variety of health benefits

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new study from the University of Eastern Finland now shows that both lactic acid bacteria and gut bacteria contribute to the health benefits of rye. Published in *Microbiome*, the study used a metabolomics approach to analyse metabolites found in food and the human body. Rye sourdough used for the baking of rye bread is rich in lactic acid bacteria. In addition to fermenting the dough, these bacteria also modify bioactive compounds found in rye. They produce branched-chain amino acids and amino acid-containing small peptides, which are known to have an impact on insulin metabolism... more »

Sesame allergy is more common than previously known

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Sesame allergy affects more than 1 million children and adults in the U.S., more than previously known, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. But sesame labeling is currently not required by law as are the other top eight allergens like peanut and milk, and is often labeled in a potentially confusing manner, such as tahini. This increases the risk of accidental ingestion. The new study provides the first up-to-date estimates on the current prevalence of sesame allergy among U.S. children and adults in all 50 states. "Our study shows sesame allergy is prevalent in the U.S. in... more » »
 

Diets rich in blueberries yield diverse benefits

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
A collection of new studies in *The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences* further quantifies how blueberry consumption can contribute to healthy aging. "Since the 1990s, research on the health benefits of blueberries has grown exponentially," wrote guest editor Donald K. Ingram, PhD, FGSA, in an opening editorial. "Studies have documented that this fruit ranks highest in antioxidant activity compared to many other popular fruits. Moreover, other mechanisms for the health benefits of blueberries, such as their anti-inflammatory properties, have ... more »
 
 
Supplements

Probiotics benefit vaginal health

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 15 hours ago
Researchers have shown that three genes from a probiotic Lactobacillus species, used in some commercial probiotic vaginal capsules, are almost certainly involved in mediating adhesion to the vaginal epithelium. This is likely critical to how this species benefits vaginal health. "These results could help us screen for better probiotic candidates in the future," said principal investigator Harold Marcotte, PhD. The research is published this week in *Applied and Environmental Microbiology*, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. "An imbalance of the normal microbiota, a... more »

Testosterone supplements made people more sensitive to moral norm

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
Although some studies have linked high levels of testosterone to immoral behavior, a new study published in *Nature Human Behaviour* finds testosterone supplements actually made people more sensitive to moral norms, suggesting that testosterone's influence on behavior is more complicated than previously thought. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin took a deeper look at the hormonal underpinnings of moral reasoning. Previous research has investigated moral judgment on the basis of behavioral responses and brain activity, but the current study goes beyond this to analyze... more »

Lavender oil may contribute to abnormal breast growth in young girls

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
Abnormal breast growth in young girls is linked to lavender oil exposure, according to a recent study published in the Endocrine Society's *Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism*. Previous research has associated breast growth in boys with lavender-containing fragrances. This study, "Lavender Products Associated With Premature Thelarche and Prepubertal Gynecomastia: Case Reports and EDC Activities," is the first to report abnormal breast growth in young girls. The researchers found that breast growth in young girls and boys resolved after discontinuing lavender-containing f... more »

Dietary choline associates with reduced risk of dementia

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland is the first to observe that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Phosphatidylcholine was also linked to enhanced cognitive performance. The main dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine were eggs and meat. The findings were published in the *American Journal of Clinical Nutrition*. Choline is also available as a supplement. Choline is an essential nutrient, usually occurring in food in various compounds. Choline is also necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Earlier studies have l... more »

Higher vitamin A intake linked to lower skin cancer risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
 
People whose diets included high levels of vitamin A had a 17 percent reduction in risk for getting the second-most-common type of skin cancer, as compared to those who ate modest amounts of foods and supplements rich in vitamin A. That's according to researchers from Brown University, who unearthed that finding after analyzing data from two long-term observational studies. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most-common type of skin cancer among people with fair skin. Vitamin A is known to be essential for the healthy growth and maturation of skin cells, but prior studi... more »
 
Medicine
 

Osteoporosis drugs linked to reduced risk of premature death

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Two studies led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have revealed that nitrogen-bisphosphonates, drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, reduced the risk of premature mortality by 34% in a cohort of over 6,000 individuals. This reduction in early mortality risk was significantly associated with a reduction in bone loss compared with no treatment. The findings present new advice of the significant benefits of taking approved osteoporosis medicine for those at risk of osteoporosis, and their health care professional. After the age of 50, 40% of women and 25% of men will s... more »

ADHD medication may affect brain development in children

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect the development of the brain's signal-carrying white matter in children with the disorder, according to a study published in the journal *Radiology*. The same effects were not found in adults with ADHD. Methylphenidate (MPH), sold under trade names including Ritalin and Concerta, is a commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD that is effective in up to 80 percent of patients. However, not much is known about its effect on the development of the brain, including the brain's white matter, which is imp... more »

Statins, cholesterol and glaucoma risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Statins, the gold standard for high cholesterol treatment, may be associated with a lower risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) when used over time, per new research into cholesterol's interplay with glaucoma. "This is another study that supports statin use being associated with a reduced risk of the development of glaucoma. What is not clear is the reason why." Published online in *JAMA Ophthalmology*, the study found a 21% *lower* risk of POAG among adults using statins for five or more years and, conversely, a 7% *greater* risk of POAG for every 20 mg/dL increase in total ... more »

Pain medications linked to higher cardiovascular risks in patients with osteoarthritis

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to control the pain and inflammation in individuals with osteoarthritis (OA), but a new *Arthritis & Rheumatology* study suggests that NSAIDs contribute to cardiovascular side effects in these patients. The study matched 7,743 OA patients with 23,229 non-OA controls. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease among people with OA was 23% higher compared with people without OA. Among secondary outcomes assessed in the study, the risk of congestive heart failure was 42% higher among people with OA compared with people without O... more »
 

New data indicate rise in opioid use for migraine treatment

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
- Nearly 1 in 5 people with migraine use opioids to treat their headaches, up from 16 percent in 2009. - People who experienced more frequent headaches were even more likely to use opioids to treat migraine, with more than half of them taking opioids at least one time to treat migraine. - Clinical guidelines discourage the use of opioids for treatment of migraine symptoms, except in rare cases. An increasing number of Americans are using opioids to treat their migraine headaches, despite the fact that opioids are not the recommended first-line therapy for mi... more »
 

Doctors more likely to recommend antihistamines rather than cough & cold medicine for kids

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
For respiratory infections in children under 12, physicians are increasingly more likely to recommend antihistamines and less likely to recommend cough and cold medicines, a Rutgers study found. Antihistamines are widely used over-the-counter to treat various allergic conditions. However, these medicines have little known benefit for children with colds, and some older antihistamines cause sedation and occasionally agitation in children. The study, in *JAMA Pediatrics*, found a sharp decline in cough and cold medicine recommendations for children under 2 after 2008, when the Food ... more »
 

Sleep

Links between glaucoma and sleep

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
A recent study reports that abnormal sleep patterns may be risk factors for or consequences of glaucoma. "Whether sleep dysfunction is a byproduct of glaucoma or a risk factor for it still needs to be resolved, but this study addresses some interesting questions." In the recent cross-sectional study, "Association Between Sleep Parameters and Glaucoma in the United States Population: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," researchers reviewed data from the survey's nearly 6,800 patients over 40 years of age who responded to the sleep questionnaire between 2005 and 2008.... more »

Optimistic people sleep better, longer

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
People who are the most optimistic tend to be better sleepers, a study of young and middle-aged adults found. More than 3,500 people ages 32-51 were included in the study sample. The participants included people in Birmingham, Alabama; Oakland, California; Chicago; and Minneapolis. The research was led by Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. "Results from this study revealed significant associations between optimism and various characteristics of self-reported sleep after adjusting for a wide array of variables, including socio-demographic cha... more »
 

Evening use of alcohol or nicotine sabotage sleep, caffeine doesn't

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Between 50 to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. Sleepless nights are associated with a number of adverse health outcomes including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers. Evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are believed to sabotage sleep. Yet, studies examining their effects on sleep are limited by small sample sizes that don't represent racial and ethnic diversity or objective measures of sleep. Furthermore, these investigations have been conducted in laboratory or observatory settings. Considering the pu... more »

1 in 300 thrives on very-early-to-bed, very-early-to-rise routine

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A quirk of the body clock that lures some people to sleep at 8 p.m., enabling them to greet the new day as early as 4 a.m., may be significantly more common than previously believed. So-called advanced sleep phase -- previously believed to be very rare -- may affect at least one in 300 adults, according to a study led by UC San Francisco and publishing in the journal *SLEEP* on Aug. 6, 2019. Advanced sleep phase means that the body's clock, or circadian rhythm, operates on a schedule hours earlier than most people's, with a premature release of the sleep hormone melatonin and shift ... more »
 
 
 
Exercise
 

Exercises to ward off weight gain despite 'obesity genes'

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
[image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *This is an image depicting a female running on a treadmill. Running increases the heart rate and acts as good cardiovascular exercise. The treadmill is shown surrounded by plants and... view more For people who inherited genes that increase their chance of becoming obese, there is hope for keeping the weight off. A study by Wan-Yu Lin of National Taiwan University and colleagues, published 1st August in PLOS Genetics, identified the types of exercise that are especially effective at combatting genetic effects that contribute to obesity. Worldwide, obesity i... more »
 
General Health
 
 

Accidental infant deaths in bed tripled from 1999 to 2016 in the US

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 18 hours ago
While the number of babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has been on the decline, a study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine and collaborators shows that infant deaths from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed have more than tripled between 1999 and 2016 in the United States with increases in racial inequalities. Findings from the study, published in the *Maternal and Child Health Journal*, reveal similar risk factor profiles for non-Hispanic black infants and non-Hispanic white infants, though in every instan... more »

Strong evidence for causal link between obesity and multiple diseases

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new study, led by Professor Elina Hyppönen from UniSA's Australian Centre for Precision Health, presents the strongest evidence yet of a causal relationship between obesity and a wide range of serious conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurological, musculoskeletal and respiratory afflictions. The study, published in *Lancet Digital Health*, draws data from the UK Biobank - a research database holding health and genetic information from half a million volunteers - to analyse associations between body mass index (BMI) and a range of disease outcome... more »

Latest Health Research Report - Aging

Adults with mild cognitive impairment can learn and benefit from mindfulness meditation

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 hour ago
There's currently no known way to prevent older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from developing Alzheimer's disease. But there may be a safe and feasible non-pharmacological treatment that may help patients living with MCI, according to a small pilot study in the current issue of the *Journal of Alzheimer's Disease* led by a neurologist and researcher with Wake Forest Baptist Health. "Until treatment options that can prevent the progression to Alzheimer's are found, mindfulness meditation may help patients living with MCI," said Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., M.P.H., associ... more »

Extra weight in 60s may be linked to brain thinning years later

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 18 hours ago
Having a bigger waistline and a high body mass index (BMI) in your 60s may be linked with greater signs of brain aging years later, according to a study published by a leading University of Miami neurologist researcher in the July 24, 2019, online issue of *Neurology*®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study suggests that these factors may accelerate brain aging by at least a decade. "People with bigger waists and higher BMI were more likely to have thinning in the cortex area of the brain, which implies that obesity is associated with reduced gray matter... more »

Abnormal blood pressure in middle and late life influences dementia risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
In a study that spanned two and a half decades and looked at data from more than 4,700 participants, Johns Hopkins researchers have added to evidence that abnormal blood pressure in midlife persisting into late life increases the likelihood of developing dementia. Although not designed to show cause and effect, the study suggests that maintaining a healthy blood pressure throughout life may be one way to help decrease one's risk of losing brain function. "Our results suggest that one's blood pressure during midlife may influence how blood pressure later in life relates to dementia r... more »

Association between migraine diagnoses and all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease was only significant in women

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
 
Several studies have recently focused on the association between migraine headaches and other headaches and dementia and found a positive migraine-dementia relationship. However, most of these studies have failed to simultaneously adjust for several common comorbidities, thus potentially introducing bias into their findings. The goal of the present study, which will be published in the next issue of the *Journal of Alzheimer's Disease*, was to investigate the association between migraine diagnoses and dementia in patients followed in general practices in the United Kingdom. This s... more »

Physical and mental exercise lower chances for developing delirium after surgery

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
After having surgery, many older adults develop delirium, the medical term for sudden and severe confusion. In fact, between 10 and 67 percent of older adults experience delirium after surgery for non-heart-related issues, while 5 to 61 percent experience delirium after orthopedic surgery (surgery dealing with the bones and muscles). Delirium can lead to problems with thinking and decision-making. It can also make it difficult to be mobile and perform daily functions and can increase the risk for illness and death. Because adults over age 65 undergo more than 18 million surgeries ea... more »
 

Over-55s shouldn't wait for retirement to make time for their health

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
People in middle-age need to keep up their physical activity levels if they are to enjoy a fit and healthy retirement - according to a new report from the University of East Anglia. The study reveals that over-55s in particular should be doing more to keep fit as they approach retirement age - because of the physical, mental and social benefits of being active. But health problems, not having enough time or energy because of work, and a lack of motivation are leaving many approaching retirement in poor shape. Researchers worked in collaboration with Active Norfolk to gather insight ... more »
 

Blood pressure patterns in middle-age, older adults associated with dementia risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Patterns of high blood pressure in midlife that extend to late life or high blood pressure in midlife followed by low blood pressure later in life was associated with increased risk for dementia compared to having normal blood pressure. This observational study included nearly 4,800 participants who had blood pressure measurements taken over 24 years at five visits plus a detailed neurocognitive evaluation during the fifth and a sixth visit, where dementia was assessed. There were 516 new cases of dementia diagnosed between the fifth and sixth visits. Study authors report that compa... more »

Greater blood pressure control linked to better brain health

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
For adults with high blood pressure, greater blood pressure control than what's currently considered standard is associated with fewer adverse changes of the brain, which could mean lower risks of dementia and cognitive impairment, according to new research published in the *Journal of the American Medical Association*. Specifically, the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of 449 adults showed that those with high blood pressure who achieved systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg - known as "intensive" blood pressure control - had a small but significantly lower amount of... more »
 

Regular exercise may slow decline in those at risk of Alzheimer's

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 6 days ago
Moderate exercise is not only good for memory as people age, it also appears to help prevent the development of physical signs of Alzheimer's, known as biomarkers, in those who are at risk for the disease, according to research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. "Our research shows that, in a late-middle-age population at risk for Alzheimer's disease, physically active individuals experience fewer age-related alterations in biomarkers associated with the disease, as well as memory and cognitive functioning," said Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD, an as... more »

Good heart health at age 50 linked to lower dementia risk later in life

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 6 days ago
------------------------------ Good cardiovascular health at age 50 is associated with a lower risk of dementia later in life, finds a study of British adults published by *The BMJ* today. The researchers say their findings support public health policies to improve cardiovascular health in middle age to promote later brain health. Dementia is a progressive disease that can start to develop 15-20 years before any symptoms appear, so identifying factors that might prevent its onset is important. The American Heart Association's "Life Simple 7" cardiovascular health score, initially des... more »

Positive effect of music and dance on dementia

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 6 days ago
Stereotypically viewed as passive and immobile, a University of Otago, New Zealand, pilot study has shown the powerful influence music and dance can have on older adults with dementia. Researchers from the Department of Dance and Department of Psychological Medicine used familiar, reminiscent music and the natural gestures of a group of 22 participants to create an original series of dance exercises. Lead author Ting Choo, Dance Studies Masters graduate, says the aim was to promote a better quality of life for people with dementia by providing memory stimulation, mood moderation and... more »
 

'Stressors' in middle age linked to cognitive decline in older women

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Learning stress coping techniques or using medicines that counteract stress hormone response may someday protect women from Alzheimer's disease, study suggests Johns Hopkins Medicine A new analysis of data on more than 900 Baltimore adults by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has linked stressful life experiences among middle-aged women -- but not men -- to greater memory decline in later life. The researchers say their findings add to evidence that stress hormones play an uneven gender role in brain health, and align with well-documented higher rates of Alzheimer's disease in wome... more »

How some older brains decline before people realize it

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Some older adults without noticeable cognitive problems have a harder time than younger people in separating irrelevant information from what they need to know at a given time, and a new Johns Hopkins University study could explain why. The findings offer an initial snapshot of what happens in the brain as young and old people try to access long-term memories, and could shed light on why some people's cognitive abilities decline with age while others remain sharp. "Your task performance can be impaired not just because you can't remember, but because you can't suppress other memorie... more »

Frailty is a medical condition, not an inevitable result of aging

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Frailty is not simply an adjective associated with old age, it is a medical condition all on its own. And it has significant medical, social and economic implications. A landmark study published today (August 2) in the *Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open*, led by researchers at Monash University in Australia, explored the incidence of frailty in 120,000 people over the age of 60 in 28 countries. It is the first global study to estimate the likelihood of community-dwelling older adults developing frailty. The study, led by Dr Richard Ofori-Asenso and Prof... more »

Socially active 60-year-olds face lower dementia risk

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Being more socially active in your 50s and 60s predicts a lower risk of developing dementia later on, finds a new UCL-led study. The longitudinal study, published in *PLOS Medicine*, reports the most robust evidence to date that social contact earlier in life could play an important role in staving off dementia. "Dementia is a major global health challenge, with one million people expected to have dementia in the UK by 2021, but we also know that one in three cases are potentially preventable," said the study's lead author, Dr Andrew Sommerlad (UCL Psychiatry). "Here we've found t... more »
 

One in 10 older adults currently binge drinks

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
Men, cannabis users more likely to engage in this risky behavior More than a tenth of adults age 65 and older currently binge drink, putting them at risk for a range of health problems, according to a study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine and the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health. The study, published in the *Journal of the American Geriatrics Society*, also finds certain factors--including using cannabis and being male--are associated with an increase in binge drinking. Binge drinking is a risky behavior, particularly ... more »

Both low and high levels of hemoglobin linked to increased risk of dementia

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
Having either low or high levels of hemoglobin in your blood may be linked to an increased risk of developing dementia years later, according to a study published in the July 31, 2019, online issue of *Neurology*®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen. Very low hemoglobin is called anemia. "With around 10 percent of people over age 65 having anemia in the Americas and Europe and up to 45 percent in African and southeast Asian countries, these results could have important implicatio... more »
 

Low muscle mass in arms and legs can heighten the mortality risk in older men and women

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
 
A study of individuals over 65 years old showed that all-cause mortality risk increased nearly 63-fold in women with low appendicular muscle mass. The risk of dying increased 11.4-fold in men (patient undergoing DXA body composition and bone density scan. Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *All-cause mortality risk increased nearly 63-fold in women with low appendicular muscle mass. view more Credit: Rosa Maria Rodrigues Pereira Evaluating body composition, especially appendicular muscle mass, can be an effective strategy for predicting long... more