Health Consequences for the Bereaved

Health Consequences for the Bereaved

"Grief in silhouette" by Tim Green is licensed under CC BY 2.0Bereaved elderly spouses have a 30-90% mortality rate in the first three months following spousal death and a 15% mortality rate in the following months. Often called the “widowhood effect” this well researched phenomenon illustrates clearly that grief has a real and profound impact on one’s health. Whether the death is impending or entirely unexpected, the loss of a loved one has predictable adverse consequences on the health of those left behind.

Cardiac Consequences

Losing a loved one, particularly a partner or spouse, has been repeatedly shown to increase the risk of cardiac events in the surviving. The development of an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, is more likely in a surviving spouse than in those not grieving. Presence of an atrial fibrillation can lead to cardiac complications such as stroke, angina, and heart failure. Further, the release of large amounts of stress hormones following the death can induce Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy, which looks and feels like a real heart attack and can, in rare cases, lead to sudden death. Research has also shown that surviving siblings of those who died of a heart attack have a greatly increased risk for dying of a heart attack themselves in the years following the death.

Immune Response

Neutrophils are white blood cells that play an important role in the body’s immune system. Research has shown that among older subjects, the loss of a loved one has a detrimental impact on the functioning of neutrophils. Whether this denigration of function is purely a result of the loss or as a result of increased cortisol in the system is yet to be determined. In any event, the result is the same. In older bereaved, immune system functionality is compromised during grief leaving the person more susceptible to infection, disease, and even death.

Mental Health Considerations

Loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, insomnia, feelings of isolation, inability to make decisions, and confusion are all common symptoms while grieving. If the bereaved does not have support from others during this difficult period they run the risk of falling into a clinical depression. Particularly if the death was sudden, tying up loose ends and dealing with unfinished business can promote anxiety, which impacts the person’s ability to manage daily life.

Coping Mechanisms

Oftentimes those who have lost a loved one turn to alcohol, smoking, drugs, and other unhealthy habits. Naturally these coping mechanisms bring about numerous health concerns. The loss of interest or ability to maintain adequate sleep and exercise exacerbate the problem.

The loss of a loved one represents the most difficult period of most people’s lives. Physical, emotional, and mental health decline only make it that much harder to endure. Proper support, self care, and time can work to improve outcomes.

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 Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:55 am

 

 

Tai Ji Quan Can Reduce Falls in Elderly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Peter A. Harmer, PhD., MPH., ATC., FACSM Professor - Department of Exercise & Health Science Willamette University

Dr. Harmer

Peter A. Harmer, PhD., MPH., ATC., FACSM
Professor – Department of Exercise & Health Science
Willamette University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Falls in older adults have long been a significant healthcare problem associated with loss of independence, premature morbidity and mortality, and considerable financial strain on individuals and healthcare systems. With the demographic impact of the Baby Boom generation aging into retirement, this issue is becoming even more critical. Among potential prevention strategies, exercise has been proposed to be beneficial. However, establishing what types of exercise are suitable to the task has been problematic. More importantly, identifying differences in the effectiveness of various exercise approaches has been lacking.

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Age, Sex and Genetics Can Identify Groups at Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD Department of Clinical Biochemistry Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej & Deputy Head Department of Clinical Medicine Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences University of Copenhagen

Dr. Frikke-Schmidt

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD
Department of Clinical Biochemistry
Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej &
Deputy Head
Department of Clinical Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are devastating, neurodegenerative disorders affecting more than 47 million people in 2015, a number projected to triple by 2050 (1,2). Available curative treatments are lacking, and no useful risk prediction tools exist. The potential for prevention is however substantial, emphasized by the recently observed incidence decline in Western societies, likely caused by improved treatment and prevention of vascular risk factors (1,3,4). Population growth and aging, will however triple dementia prevalence by 2050, if no action is taken. Acting now with ambitious preventive interventions, delaying onset of disease by five years, is estimated to halve the prevalence globally (1,5).

Despite important preventive efforts over the last decades – resulting in decreased smoking, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels in the general population – physical inactivity, overweight, and diabetes remain threats for our health care system, and in particular for cardiovascular disease and dementia. Intensifying preventive efforts in general is thus of crucial importance, and especially for those patients at highest risk who most likely will benefit the most from early and targeted prevention. Risk stratification and specific treatment goals according to the estimated absolute 10-year risk, has been implemented in cardiovascular disease for years (6,7). There is an un-met need for similar strategies in dementia, underscored by the publication of several randomized multicomponent trials that seem to improve or maintain brain function in at-risk elderly people from the general population (8-10) Continue reading

Significant Sex Differences in Genetic Associations with Longevity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yi Zeng, Ph.D.| Professor, Center for Study of Aging and Human Development and Geriatrics Division, School of Medicine, Duke University Professor, National School of Development, Chief Scientist of Raissun Institute for Advanced Studies, Peking University Distinguished Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Yi Zeng

Yi Zeng, Ph.D.|
Professor, Center for Study of Aging and Human Development and Geriatrics Division, School of Medicine, Duke University
Professor, National School of Development, Chief Scientist of Raissun Institute for Advanced Studies, Peking University
Distinguished Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sex differences in genetic associations with human longevity remain largely unknown; investigations on this topic are important for individualized healthcare.

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Accelerated Aging Seen on Brain Imaging with Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Daniel G. Amen MD Amen Clinics, Inc., Founder Costa Mesa, CA

Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Daniel G. Amen MD
Amen Clinics, Inc., Founder
Costa Mesa, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging.

SPECT was used to determine aging trajectories in the brain and which common brain disorders predict abnormally accelerated aging. It examined these functional neuroimaging scans from a large multi-site psychiatric clinic from patients who had many different psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Researchers studied 128 brain regions to predict the chronological age of the patient.

Older age predicted from the scan compared to the actual chronological age was interpreted as accelerated aging.  The study found that a number of brain disorders and behaviors predicted accelerated aging, especially schizophrenia, which showed an average of 4 years of premature aging, cannabis abuse (2.8 years of accelerated aging), bipolar disorder (1.6 years accelerated aging), ADHD (1.4 years accelerated aging) and alcohol abuse (0.6 years accelerated aging).  Interestingly, the researchers did not observe accelerated aging in depression and aging, which they hypothesize may be due to different types of brain patterns for these disorders.

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Women Whose Mothers Lived to 90, Likely To Have Health Old Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD  MS, MPH, CPH Department of Family and Preventive Medicine UCSD twitter.com/TheDrAladdin

Dr. Aladdin Shadyab

Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD  MS, MPH, CPH
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
University of California, San Diego
twitter.com/TheDrAladdin

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous studies have shown that offspring of long-lived parents are not only likely to live longer but to also avoid major chronic diseases (e.g., coronary heart disease), have fewer chronic disease risk factors, and to have better cognitive and physical function in late life. However, few studies have examined parental longevity in relation to an overall measure of successful aging that included reaching old age free of both major diseases and disabilities.

The objective of our study was to determine if parental longevity predicted healthy aging, defined as survival to age 90 without any major age-related diseases (coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, or hip fracture) or physical limitations. The participants of our study were from the Women’s Health Initiative, a large, longitudinal study among postmenopausal women from the United States.

We observed that women whose mothers survived to at least age 90 years were 25% more likely to achieve healthy aging. We also observed that women whose fathers only lived to age 90 did not have increased likelihood of healthy aging. However, women whose mother and father both lived to age 90 were the most likely to achieve healthy aging.

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Plasma Component Investigated To Reverse Age-Related Cognitive Disorders

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
alkahestIan Gallager, MS
Scientist at Alkahest Inc.
San Francisco Bay Area 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our research is aimed to develop novel therapeutics for age-related disorders from fundamental understandings of blood plasma. This expands upon work initially performed in the Wyss-Coray lab at Stanford utilizing a model of parabiosis. By surgically conjoining the blood supplies between a young and aged mouse, they established that beneficial effects were observed in the aged mouse brain, suggesting that there are proteins in young blood which have enhancing properties.

The research presented at AAIC was the culmination of several years of model and dosing paradigm development utilizing both human plasma and a proprietary fractionated plasma product leading to advances for clinical application.

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Waiting Room App Uses Selfies To Show Patients Effects of Sun Damage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Startup Screen Dermatology APPDr. med. Titus Brinker
Head of App-Development // Clinician Scientist
Department of Translational Oncology
National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT)
Department of Dermatology
University Hospital Heidelberg
Heidelberg

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​While everyone in the dermatologic community appears to agree on the importance of UV-protection for skin cancer prevention, busy clinicians often lack time to address it with their patients.

Thus, the aim of this study was to make use of waiting rooms that almost every patient visiting a clinic spends time in and address this topic in this setting by the means of modern technology rather than clinicians time.

We used our free photoaging app “Sunface” which shows the consequences of bad UV protection vs. good UV protection on the users’ own 3D-animated selfie 5 to 25 years in the future and installed it on an iPad. The iPad was then centrally placed into the waiting room of our outpatient clinic on a table and had the Sunface App running permanently. The mirroring of the screen lead to a setting where every patient in the waiting room would see and eventually react to the selfie taken by one individual patient which was altered by the Sunface App.

Thus, the intervention was able to reach a large proportion of patients visiting our clinic: 165 (60.7%) of the 272 patients visiting our waiting room in the seven days the intervention was implemented either tried it themselves (119/72,12%) or watched another patient try the app (46/27,9%) even though our outpatient clinic is well organized and patients have to wait less than 20 minutes on average. Longer waiting times should yield more exposure to the intervention. Of the 119 patients who tried the app, 105 (88.2%) indicated that the intervention motivated them to increase their sun protection (74 of 83 men [89.2%]; 31 of 34 women [91.2%]) and to avoid indoor tanning beds (73 men [87.9%]; 31 women [91.2%]) and that the intervention was perceived as fun (83 men [98.8%]; 34 women [97.1%]).

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Restoring Mitochondrial Function Reverses Wrinkles and Hair Loss – in Mice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by a Candida sp. fungal organism. CW = cell wall, PM = plasma membrane, M = mitochondria, V = vacuole, and N = nucleus.

This transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by a Candida sp. fungal organism. CW = cell wall, PM = plasma membrane, M = mitochondria, V = vacuole, and N = nucleus
CDC image

Keshav K. Singh, Ph.D.
Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair in Cancer Genetics
Professor of Genetics, Pathology and Environmental Health
Founding Editor-in-Chief, Mitochondrion Journal
Director, Cancer Genetics Program
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Decline in mitochondrial DNA content and mitochondrial function has been observed in aging humans. We created mouse to mimic those condition to show that decline in mitochondrial function leads to development of wrinkles and loss of hair.

The main finding is that by restoring mitochondrial function we can reverse skin wrinkles to normal healthy skin and also regain hair growth.  Continue reading

Parents and Siblings of Supercentenarians Also Live Extended Lives

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“siblings” by Katina Rogers is licensed under CC BY 2.0Stacy L. Andersen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Project Manager
New England Centenarian Study
Long Life Family Study
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Exceptional longevity appears to run in families. Previous studies have found that people who have siblings who live into their 90s or who reach 100 years of age have a greater chance themselves of living longer than the general population. Yet it is supercentenarians, those who reach the age of 110 years, who represent the true extreme of the human lifespan.  We wanted to determine whether the parents and siblings of supercentenarians were more likely to reach very old ages than family members of younger centenarians.

We collected family tree information for 29 participants of the New England Centenarian Study aged 110-119 years. Proof of age documents and familial reconstruction methods were used to validate ages and dates of birth and death of the supercentenarian as well as his or her parents and siblings. Mean age at death was compared to birth year and sex-specific US and Swedish cohort life table estimates conditional on survival to age 20 for siblings to omit deaths due to nonheritable factors such as infectious disease or accidents and survival to age 50 (the approximate age at which women are no longer able to reproduce) for parents.  Continue reading

Vision and Cognition Change Together As Older Adults Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Old Eyeglasses” by Leyram Odacrem is licensed under CC BY 2.0Diane Zheng MS
NEI F-31 Research Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology
Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Miami

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Worsening vision and declining cognitive function are common conditions among older people. Understanding the association between them could be beneficial to alleviate age related cognitive decline.

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Financial Savvy Linked To Better Later Life Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612

Dr. James

Bryan D. James, PhD
Assistant Professor
Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Chicago, IL 60612

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is part of a larger body of research examining how literacy and decision making abilities in different areas of life can affect the health and well-being of older adults.

The main finding of this study is that a better ability to understand and utilize financial concepts was related to a lower risk of hospitalization in old age.

Over almost 2 years of follow-up, 30 percent of the 388 older men and women in this study were hospitalized at least once. A 4-point higher score on the scale of financial literacy, representing one standard deviation, was associated with about a 35 percent lower risk of hospitalization. This was after adjusting for a number of factors including physical and mental health indicators and income. The association appeared to be stronger for knowledge of financial concepts such as stocks and bonds, as opposed to the ability to perform numerical calculations. Additionally, the association was stronger for elective hospital admissions as opposed to emergency or urgent hospitalizations; this may support the notion that financial literacy is related to medical decision-making surrounding the decision to be hospitalized, such as which procedures are covered by Medicare.

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Anti-PD1 Immunotherapy May Work Better in Older Melanoma Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ashani Weeraratna, Ph.D. The Ira Brind professor and  Co-program leader of the Immunology, Microenvironment and Metastasis Program  The Wistar Institute Member of Wistar’s Melanoma Research Center Philadelphia 

Dr. Weeraratna

Ashani Weeraratna, Ph.D.
The Ira Brind professor and
Co-program leader of the Immunology, Microenvironment and Metastasis Program
The Wistar Institute
Member of Wistar’s Melanoma Research Center
Philadelphia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response:  This study shows for the first time that older patients, especially those who have had prior MAPKi therapy fare better than younger patients when treated with anti-PD1. We found that tumors in younger patients and younger mice have higher levels of Tregulatory cells, the cells that regulate other immune cells. This is not true systemically, only within the tumor microenvironment.

We were surprised because we expected that, as with targeted therapy, older patients would have a poorer response to immunotherapy, given what we perceive as a poorer immune system in older patients.  Continue reading

As We Age, Our Circadian Clock Becomes Less Sensitive To Light, Leading To Sleep Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Gurprit S. Lall BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA

Medway School of Pharmacy
Interim Deputy Head of School
Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology
Director of Graduate Studies (Research),
University of Kent at Medway
Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Medical advancement in prevention and diagnosis of disease has increased life expectancy significantly, thus generating an ageing population far greater than previously seen.  Because of this, it is essential that we begin to understand the ageing process, together with the health implications associated with senescence.  Recent research has found that changes in the circadian clock, located in the brain, play a contributing role in the decline of many physiological and behavioural traits observed through the ageing process.  One example of this, which is commonly seen in the elderly is a decline in sleep-wake cycle regulation; typically presenting as disrupted sleeping patterns.

The circadian clock, in mammals, possesses the ability to integrate our social lifestyle choices with the environmental day-night cycle to generate a 24-hour rhythm to which our physiological functions are synchronised.  It is this synchronisation that plays a vital role in regulating many of our behavioural outputs, such as sleeping-wake patterns.  This clock takes its strongest timing cue from the natural day night cycle governed by the duration of daily sunlight.

Our study investigated the changes in the interpretation of this light signal by the circadian clock as we age and its impact on function.  We found that the clock became less responsive to light stimuli at both the level of clock cells and at driving behavioural activity.  We were able to narrow this down to changes in the proteins within cells that relay light information to the molecular time setting machinery.  In detail, light signals are relayed to the clock through an excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate and this signal is predominantly relayed through NMDA receptors located on the surface of clock cells.  It is the configuration of the NMDA receptor that alters as we age and this leads to the clock becoming less responsive to light.

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Alcohol Accelerates Aging of Brain’s Frontal Cortex

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
alcohol-cdc-image
Edith V. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5723 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem worldwide with profound health consequences on the body, brain, and function. Our research group has conducted naturalistic yet controlled studies of alcohol dependence for several decades to further our understanding of when and how alcohol misuse affects specific parts of the brain.  In addition, we wanted to know how alcohol misuse interacts with the typical changes in the brain as we grow older.  The studies are controlled in that we recruit healthy, non-alcohol dependence men and women from the community to undergo the same screening and neuroimaging procedures as our alcoholic recruits.  The studies are quantitative because we use neuroimaging methods (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that enable us to measure specific regions of brain structural volumes.  Consistent collection of such data over the years positioned us to ask whether age and alcohol dependence interact to produce regional brain volume loss beyond the loss that occurs in normal aging.

A number of cross-sectional studies pointed to the likelihood that the effects of alcohol dependence on brain structure would be exacerbated by normal aging, which we do know from longitudinal neuroimaging studies results in shrinkage of cortical gray matter volume and thinning of the cortex. What was particularly striking about our longitudinal study of men and women with alcohol dependence was the acceleration of the aging of brain structure that was especially prominent in the frontal cortex.  Critically, even those who initiated dependent drinking at an older age showed accelerated loss.

Because our study sample was large enough, we could also test whether our findings were attributable to conditions that commonly co-occur with alcohol dependence, namely, illicit drug use and hepatitis C.  Although both drug use and hepatitis C infection may have exacerbated brain volume loss, these factors did not fully account for the alcoholism-aging interaction we identified.

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Gene Changes During Aging Predispose To Cancer Formation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hariharan Easwaran, PhD Assistant Professor of Oncology The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Bunting/Blaustein Cancer Research Building 1 Baltimore, MD 21287

Dr. Easwaran

Hariharan Easwaran, PhD
Assistant Professor of Oncology
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Bunting/Blaustein Cancer Research Building 1
Baltimore, MD 21287

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The interpretation of the information encoded in our DNA by the various cells in our body is mediated by a plethora of modifications of DNA and proteins that complex with DNA. DNA methylation is one such important modification, which is normally established in a very orchestrated fashion during development. All normal cells have a defined pattern of DNA methylation, which may vary by tissue type, but is consistent within tissues. This normal pattern is disrupted in all known cancers, and is considered a hallmark of cancers.

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How Old is Old?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Im Spiegel / In the mirror” by njs-photographie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0William Chopik PhD
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The motivation for the study was that we saw a lot of differences in the way people defined “old age”. We also noticed that there is a stigma that goes along with being old. So we had a natural curiosity to see how these perceptions my change as people age.

As people aged, the tended to report feeling younger and consider an older adult as “always in the future”–never quite where they are now.

We found that our results confirmed a lot of existing theories about how our attitudes toward aging change as we age ourselves.

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Patients With Multiple Chronic Diseases Incur High Out-of-Pocket Expenses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Grace Sum Chi-En National University of Singapore

Dr Grace Sum    Chi-En

Dr Grace Sum Chi-En
National University of Singapore

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic diseases are conditions that are not infectious and are usually long-term, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, chronic lung disease, asthma, arthritis, stroke, obesity, and depression. They are also known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Multimorbidity, is a term we use in our field, to mean the presence of two or more NCDs. Multimorbidity is a costly and complex challenge for health systems globally. With the ageing population, more people in the world will suffer from multiple chronic diseases.

Patients with multimorbidity tend to need many medicines, and this incurs high levels of out-of-pocket expenditures, simply known as cost not covered by insurance. Even the United Nations and World Health organisation are recognising NCDs as being an important issue.

Governments will meet in New York for the United Nations 3rd high-level meeting on chronic diseases in 2018. Global leaders need to work towards reducing the burden of having multiple chronic conditions and providing financial protection to those suffering multimorbidity.

Our research aimed to conduct a high-quality systematic review on multimorbidity and out-of-pocket expenditure on medicines.  Continue reading

Activation of Telomerase Will Not Cure Aging

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Douglas P. Kiel, MD, MPH Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Director Musculoskeletal Research Center Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife Associate Member Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Dr. Kiel

Douglas P. Kiel, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director Musculoskeletal Research Center
Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife
Associate Member Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Why we age? and how we age?, are perennial questions that are of interest to all. The research described in this publication brings together two major and different concepts of aging – epigenetic aging, which is manifested by modifications on DNA and telomere-related aging, which is manifested by shortening of chromosome ends (telomeres).  In our search for genes that could potentially affect epigenetic aging, we detected  a variant of the TERT gene (whose encoded protein, telomerase maintains telomere length) to be associated with accelerated epigenetic aging. TERT is a subunit of the enzyme telomerase which is a widely known enzyme for the following reasons:

1)    Telomerase has been touted as an anti-aging enzyme. It has been called a modern fountain of youth. However, some scientists have pointed out that it is unlikely to become a source of anti-aging therapies (see the review article by de Magalhães JP1, Toussaint in Rejuvenation Research (2004) .https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15312299)   Our new results gained by the epigenetic clock also indicate that telomerase will not halt organismal aging.

2)    The book “The Telomere Effect” by Nobel prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel was on the New York Times best seller list and received substantial news coverage:https://www.cbsnews.com/news/telomere-effect-book-living-younger-healthier-longer/

Our data provides a much needed  understanding of the molecular drivers of the epigenetic clock and reveal a unexpected and paradoxical connection between two seemingly distinct aging clocks: the telomere clock and the epigenetic clock.

Our main finding was that variants in the human telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERT) were associated with increased “intrinsic epigenetic aging.” 

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Seniors Entering Old Age Will Increasingly Have Multiple Complicated Health Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Carol Jagger AXA Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing and Deputy Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA) Institute of Health & Society Campus for Ageing and Vitality Newcastle

Prof. Jagger

Prof. Carol Jagger
AXA Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing and
Deputy Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA)
Institute of Health & Society
Campus for Ageing and Vitality
Newcastle 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As part of a larger study (MODEM – modelling outcome and cost impacts of interventions for dementia) we have developed a microsimulation model called PACSim which forecasts the number of older people aged 65 years and over along with their health and lifestyle factors as they age over the next 20 years. Crucially these are the first projections that include the health and lifestyle profiles of younger people as they age into to older population, rather than just assuming they have the same health profiles as existing young-old.

Other studies have already reported that the proportion of older people with multimorbidity (two or more concurrent diseases) has increased. Our study shows that not only will this continue but that the largest increase over the next 20 years will be for complex multimorbidity (four or more diseases). Much of the gain in life expectancy over the next 20 year for a 65 year old will be years spent with complex multimorbidity. And more importantly the future cohorts of young-old entering the older population will have successively more multimorbidity. Continue reading

Early Studies Suggest Blood Pressure Medication Hydralazine May Slow Aging and Neurodegeneration

CrawlingCelegans Wikipedia

Crawling C. elegans
Wikipedia image

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hamid Mirzaei, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
University of Texas Southwestern
Department of Biochemistry
Dallas, TX 75390

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aging is a complex process at the cellular level with distinct organismal phenotypes. Despite millennia-old obsession with aging and relentless pursuits for ways to stop and reverse it, such elixir has not been found due to the complexity of the involved mechanisms and our limited understanding of the processes that lead to aging. Although progress has been made in recent years in slowing down the aging process in model organisms and human cells.

In this study, we report that and FDA approved antihypertensive drug, hydralazine, decelerates aging in C. elegans by mechanisms that seem to resemble dietary restriction. We show that hydralazine increases the median lifespan of the C. elegans by 25% which is comparable to or better than other known antiaging compounds.

We demonstrate that not only hydralazine-treated worms live longer, they appear to be healthier in general. Because aging is directly linked to neurodegenerative diseases, we tested our drug on both in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases using chemical and biological stressors (rotenone and tau fibrils) and show that hydralazine has neuroprotective properties as well.

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Doing Something Is Better Than Nothing: Even Light Physical Activity Improves Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH Research Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Co-Director, MPH Program (epidemiology) School of Public Health and Health Professions Women’s Health Initiative Clinic University at Buffalo – SUNY 

Dr. LaMonte

Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH
Research Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health
Co-Director, MPH Program (epidemiology)
School of Public Health and Health Professions
Women’s Health Initiative Clinic
University at Buffalo – SUNY 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Current national public health guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week for adults. The guidelines recommend persons 65 and older follow the adult guidelines to the degree their abilities and conditions allow. Some people, because of age or illness or deconditioning, are not able to do more strenuous activity. Current guidelines do not specifically encourage light activity because the evidence base to support such a recommendation has been lacking.

Results from the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) Study, an ancillary study to the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative, recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed women ages 65-99 who engaged in regular light intensity physical activities had a reduction in the risk of mortality. The 6,000 women in the OPACH study wore an activity-measuring device called an accelerometer on their hip for seven days while going about their daily activities and were then followed for up to four and a half years.  Results showed that just 30 additional minutes of light physical activity per day lowered mortality risk by 12 percent while 30 additional minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling at a leisurely pace, exhibited a 39 percent lower risk. 

The finding for lower mortality risk associated with light intensity activity truly is remarkable. We anticipated seeing mortality benefit associated with regular moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity, as supported by current public health guidelines. But, observing significantly lower mortality among women who were active at levels only slightly higher than what defines being sedentary was such a novel finding with important relevance to population health.

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Aging Population, Socio-Economic Disparities Linked To Increase in Heart Failure Incidence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof Kazem Rahimi FRCP The George Institute for Global Health Oxford Martin School University of Oxford, Oxford

Prof. Rahimi

Prof Kazem Rahimi FRCP
The George Institute for Global Health
Oxford Martin School
University of Oxford, Oxford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We decided to investigate this topic because disease incidence data is very important for public health bodies; for example, for the allocation of healthcare resources or for the design and assessment of disease prevention measures.

When we reviewed the literature, we found that estimates of heart failure incidence, temporal trends, and association by patient features were scarce. Studies often referred to restricted populations (such as relatively small cohorts that may or may not be representative of the general population), or limited data sources (for example, only including patients hospitalized for their heart failure and not considering those diagnosed by clinicians outside of hospitals). Few studies reported comparable, age-standardized rates, with the result that the rates reported varied considerably across the literature.

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Having a Dog May Help You Live Longer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tove Fall PhD Senior author of the study Associate Professor in Epidemiology Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory Uppsala University.

Dr. Fall

Tove Fall PhD
Senior author of the study
Associate Professor in Epidemiology
Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory
Uppsala University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Loneliness and sedentary lifestyle are two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality, but are notoriously difficult to prevent in the general population.

Previous studies have shown that dogs may serve as a strong motivator for daily exercise, provide substantial social support and have a positive effect on the owner’s gut microbiome. The effects of pet dogs on health outcomes in the general population are largely unknown.

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With Aging, Males and Females Express Genes Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Mandy Peffers BSc MPhil PhD BVetMed FRCVS
Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow
Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences
University of Liverpool Liverpool UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The project was an extension of Louise Pease’s MSc research project in bioinformatics which aimed to re-analyse existing RNA-seq data to determine age related changes in gene expression in musculoskeletal tissues that may lead to the development of degenerative diseases.  From existing literature we identified that degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and tendinitis were more prevalent in females and became more frequent following menopause.  We looked at the biology of the cohort we were trying to assess and discovered a gender imbalance, we hypothesised that this was why few results had been obtained from the original analysis. So we developed a research proposal that detailed extending the existing data to publicly available data and merging the experiments; to increase the number of replicates available and balance the experimental design.  We conducted multiple analyses and discovered that splitting samples by age and gender obtained the most significant results, and that whilst in a lot of cases the same genes were being differentially expressed, they were changing in opposite directions.  Louise remembered her statistics lecturer Gerard Cowburn (Ged) taught her about the assumptions of statistical tests, in particular covariance analysis (which has previously been used to show that age and gender do not affect gene expression) assumed that under the conditions being tested data points were not opposites.  Realising that this assumption had been violated by the data she began to think about what other assumptions we were working with and how to test their validity.

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