Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 29.06.2018 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 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Social Issues / 25.06.2018 Interview with: Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612 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. Additionally, research conducted from financial services firm Sambla, Norway's largest bank and lender for medical loans, found that doctors and pharmacists are among Scandinavia's financial services most financially savvy, often saving for retirement 5-7 years before others working in the medical field. 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. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Memory / 12.06.2018 Interview with: Arno de Wilde, MD / PhD candidate Department of Neurology & Alzheimer Center Amsterdam Neuroscience VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, the Netherlands What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies assessing the clinical utility of amyloid imaging used very selected research populations, limiting the translatability to clinical practice. In contrast, we used an unselected memory clinic cohort, offering amyloid PET to ALL patients visiting our memory clinic, and for the purpose of this study, we implemented amyloid PET in our routine diagnostic work-up. Our results demonstrate that amyloid PET has important consequences, in terms of diagnosis and treatment changes, for a significant number of patients within a situation that closely resembles clinical practice. I think that these results are an important step in 'bridging the gap' between using amyloid PET in a research setting versus daily clinical practice. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Vitamin D / 25.04.2018 Interview with: Dr. Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Krist is is a professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University and active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice residency. What is the background for these recommendation statements? What are the main findings? Response: Falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults age 65 and older and can lead to serious disability and even death. Bone fractures—which may result from a fall—can also cause serious disability and death in older adults. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked into the most recent evidence on the best ways to prevent falls and fractures in older adults. We found that clinicians should recommend exercise or physical therapy to help prevent falls by older adults who live at home and are at higher risk for falling. Additionally, we concluded that taking a low dose of vitamin D and calcium does not help prevent fractures due to osteoporosis, but we don’t know if taking a higher dose is effective or not, so we are calling for more research. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bone Density, Geriatrics, Nutrition / 06.04.2018 Interview with: “bought a passive-aggressive amount of milk” by Paul Downey is licensed under CC BY 2.0Shivani Sahni, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director, Nutrition Program Associate Scientist, Musculoskeletal Research Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston  MA  02131-1097 What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have shown that higher milk intake is associated with higher bone mineral density. In one of our previous studies, we reported that higher dairy food intake was protective against bone loss especially among older adults who used vitamin D supplements. Older adults are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency because recommended intakes are difficult to achieve without fortified foods (such as dairy) or supplements. Vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption, which is beneficial for building bones. However, it is unclear if the effect of vitamin D on calcium absorption is substantial enough to translate into beneficial effects on bone. Therefore, the current study determined the association of dairy food intake with bone health. We further examined whether these associations would be modified by vitamin D status. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics / 04.04.2018 Interview with: Curtis Florence, PhD Division of Analysis, Research and Practice Integration CDC’s Injury Center What is the background for this study? Response: The estimates in this study provide a more robust indicator of the economic impact falls have on the U.S. economy.  Previous studies focused on Medicare spending. This study includes Medicare, Medicaid and out-of-pocket spending. What are the main findings?  Response: Our study found that older adult (65 years and over) falls impose a large economic burden on the U.S. healthcare system. In 2015, with a total medical cost $50 billion for non-fatal and fatal falls.  About three-quarters of the total cost was paid by government-funded programs.  Medicare paid nearly $29 billion for non-fatal falls, Medicaid $8.7 billion, and $12 billion was paid for by Private/Out-of-pocket expenses.  For fatal falls, $754 million was spent in 2015. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Disorders / 29.03.2018 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 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. (more…)
Aging, Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Stanford / 15.03.2018 Interview with: alcohol-cdc-imageEdith V. Sullivan, Ph.D. Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5723 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Johns Hopkins / 12.03.2018 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 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Psychological Science / 27.02.2018 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 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Nature / 07.02.2018 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 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) .   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: 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.”  (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics / 23.01.2018 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 04.01.2018 Interview with: “Grandparents” by Tim Wilson is licensed under CC BY 2.0Allison Flamion, Doctorante Unité de Psychologie de la Sénescence Département Psychologies et cliniques des systèmes humains Université de Liège LIEGE Belgique What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Ageism—stereotypes that lead to prejudice and discrimination against older people— occurs frequently in young adults and can even be seen in children as young as 3. Ageism has deleterious consequences on older people in our aging Western societies. However, the factors influencing this phenomenon in the young are not well known. To answer this question, we have asked 1151 Belgian children and adolescents to provide their views of the elderly, using especially designed questionnaires and open questions. We found four main influences on their views of the elderly: gender and age of the child, quality of contact with grandparents, and grandparents’ health. Girls had slightly more positive views than boys. Ageist stereotypes fluctuated with age, with 7- to 9-year-olds expressing the most prejudice and 10- to 12-year-olds expressing the least. This finding mirrors other forms of discrimination (e.g., those related to ethnicity or gender) and is in line with cognitive-developmental theories. For example, acquiring perspective-taking skills around age 10 reduces previous stereotypes. With regard to ageism, prejudice seemed to reappear when the participants in this study reached their teen years: 13- to 16-year-olds had higher levels of ageism compared with younger children. Moreover, youths who described their contact with grandparents as good or very good had more favorable feelings toward the elderly than those who described the contact less positively. Finally, children and adolescents with grandparents in poor health were more likely to hold ageist views than youths with grandparents in better health. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Nature, UT Southwestern / 27.12.2017 Interview with: Hamid Mirzaei, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biochemistry University of Texas Southwestern Department of Biochemistry Dallas, TX 75390 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. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 11.12.2017 Interview with: “Hear” by Jaya Ramchandani is licensed under CC BY 2.0David G. Loughrey, BA(Hons) NEIL (Neuro Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland What is the background for this study? Response: Age-related hearing loss, a common chronic condition among older adults, has emerged in the literature as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. This is of interest as current pharmacological therapies for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease only offer symptom-modifying effects. Treatment of risk factors such as hearing loss may help delay the onset of dementia and may provide an alternate therapeutic strategy. However, there is variance in the research on hearing loss and cognition with some studies reporting a small or non-significant association. In this meta-analysis, we investigated this association and we only included observational studies that used standard assessments of cognitive function and pure-tone audiometry (the clinical standard). (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Geriatrics / 29.11.2017 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 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Social Issues / 26.11.2017 Interview with: Prof Kazem Rahimi FRCP The George Institute for Global Health Oxford Martin School University of Oxford, Oxford 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health / 20.11.2017 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 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. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Nature / 07.11.2017 Interview with: Dr Miguel Chillon PhD Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Universitat Autonoma Barcelona Spain What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Klotho is a protein with an anti-aging and neuroprotective role. Recent studies show it prevents the development of cognitive problems associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease. Klotho works mainly by inhibiting the insulin / IGF-1 signaling pathway and decreasing the damage caused by oxidative stress in the brain. One of the latest results revealed that the concentration of Klotho in cerebrospinal fluid is significantly lower in Alzheimer's patients than in human controls of the same age; and it is lower in the elderly with respect to young adults. Our study used a gene therapy strategy to introduce the Klotho gene into the Central Nervous System of adult animals. With just a single injection of the Klotho gene, young adult animals were protected over time from the cognitive decline associated with aging in old animals. These exciting results pave the way to further advances in research and the development of a neuroprotective therapy based on Klotho. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 31.10.2017 Interview with: Alicia J. Kowaltowski, MD, PhD Professor of Biochemistry Departamento de Bioquímica, IQ, Universidade de São Paulo Cidade Universitária São Paulo, SP, Brazil What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We recently found that brain mitochondria from calorically-restricted animals can take up more calcium than mitochondria from animals that eat ad libitum (or "all they can eat"; doi: 10.1111/acel.12527). Calcium is a well-know regulator of energy metabolism, as is caloric intake, but this was the first evidence that limiting caloric intake changed calcium handling by mitochondria, the main hub for energy metabolism. As a result, we decided to investigate if this result was specific for the brain or happened in other tissues, focusing on the liver because of its central importance in metabolic control. We found that liver mitochondria from calorically-restricted mice take up substantially more calcium than ad libitum fed mice. We also found that this result is related to a change in the amount of ATP within the mitochondria; ATP can complex calcium ions effectively due to its negative charges. Finally, we were able to correlate the increase in calcium uptake by liver mitochondria to a very strong protection of caloric restriction livers against ischemia/reperfusion damage. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome / 18.10.2017 Interview with: Greg Gloor, PhD Principal investigator Professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We sampled the bacteria in the gut (stool) in over 1000 members of a super healthy population in China across the age ranges of 3 to over 100. Exclusion criteria included a history of genetic or chronic disease (intergenerational in the case of people younger than 30), no smoking, drinking or drug use (including no prescription drugs). Our goal was to identify what, if any changes in the makeup of the gut microbiota occurred in this population so that we could define "what is associated with health". We found three things.
  • First, that the expected differences between the very young and everyone else were found in this population. This indicates that we could observe the standards signatures of a maturing gut microbiota.
  • Second, that the gut microbiota of very healthy very elderly group (over 95 yo) was very similar to that of any very healthy person over the age of 30.
  • Third, we found that the gut microbiota of 20yo people (in three distinct groups) was different from all other age groups. The reason for the differences observed in the 20 yo groups from all the others is unknown, but is not methodological in origin.
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 17.10.2017 Interview with: Neelam A. Vashi, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology Director, Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin Director, Cosmetic and Laser Center Boston University School of Medicine Boston Medical Center   Mayra B. C. Maymone, MD, DSc. Department of Dermatology Boston University , Boston What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Societal interest with beauty dates back centuries; Plato described the 3 wishes of every man to include beauty, good health, and riches.  Given this fascination, there are many people who have dedicated their entire lives to studying the concept of beauty and the implications it presents to society.  The ability to set ‘beauty’ as a standard of comparison has shown us the advantages of being deemed beautiful – those who are more beautiful being able to get jobs easier and go out on more dates.  Beautiful people are even more often attributed qualities such as likeability, social competence, and intelligence. The study and concept of beauty are quite fascinating yet complicated.  We have found that there are both biological/innate indicators and also subjective aspects.  As discussed in my article, the classical conception of beauty is a matter of mathematical conceptions and instantiating definite proportions.  However, this inflexible treatment of the concept of beauty as objective denies paying tribute to its many different aspects and the contributions of individuality, culture, and history.  From our study, we can see that beauty standards are evolving and slowly drifting from the rigid standards once set. We found that compared to 1990, celebrities rated beautiful in 2017 were older, more often women, and had a higher rate of darker skin types and mixed race. The study of beauty is a quite lengthy topic - I wrote a book on it: (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness / 22.09.2017 Interview with: Dr. Daniel Aggio, PhD UCL Department of Primary Care and Population Health UCL Medical School University College London PA Research Group London, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Maintaining a physically active lifestyle into old age is associated with optimal health benefits. While we know that levels of physical activity in youth predict physical activity levels in adulthood, how physical activity in midlife predicts physical activity in old age is not as well understood. It is also unclear how different types of physical activity predict physical activity in later life. Using data from the British Regional Heart Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study involving men recruited between 1978 and 1980, we assessed how physical activity tracks over 20 years from midlife to old age. The study of over 3400 men showed that being active in midlife more than doubled the odds of being active 20 years later. Interestingly, sport participation in midlife predicted physical activity in old age more strongly than other types of physical activity, such as walking and recreational activity. The odds of being active in old age were even stronger for those men who took up sport from a younger age prior to midlife. Sport was the most stable activity across the follow up, with just under half of men reporting playing sport at least occasionally at each survey. However, walking was the least stable; the proportion of men who reported high levels of walking rose from just under 27% at the start of the study to 62% at the 20 year survey, possibly because retirement might free up more time. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Weight Research / 19.07.2017 Interview with: Yan Zheng Research Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthYan Zheng Research Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most people gain weight cumulatively during young and middle adulthood. Because the amount of weight gain per year may be relatively small, it may go unnoticed by individuals and their doctors—but the cumulative weight gain during adulthood may eventually lead to obesity over time. Compared to studies of attained body weight or BMI, the investigation of weight change may better capture the effect of excess body fat because it factors in individual differences in frame size and lean mass. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Geriatrics, JAMA / 17.07.2017 Interview with: Donal J. Sexton, BSc, MD The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing Trinity College Dublin Health Research Board Clinical Research Facility Galway National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland Trinity Health Kidney Centre, Tallaght Hospital Department of Nephrology, Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Dublin, Ireland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study we used the inclusion criteria for SPRINT to identify those community dwelling elders who would meet criteria for the trial in clinical practice. Our data are based on a prospective cohort study composed of participants chosen by a national stratified random sampling mechanism. If SPRINT participants were truly representative of the population, then the participants in the standard care arm of the trial should resemble the population to some extent. If this were true then the injurious falls rate might be similar between the two samples also. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, McGill, Nature / 29.06.2017 Interview with: Pr. Siegfried Hekimi PhD McGill University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We analyzed data about the longest living individuals over the period of time during which the record can be trusted. We found that there was no detectable plateauing of the maximum possible lifespan. This is consistent with not clearly observed plateau in the currently increasing average lifespan as well. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Sexual Health / 28.06.2017 Interview with: Dr Hayley Wright BSc(Hons) MSc PhD C.Psychol Research Associate Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, Coventry University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Last year, we published a study that showed a significant association between sexual activity and cognitive function (Wright & Jenks, 2016). This study showed that sex is linked to cognition, even after we account for other factors such as age, education, and physical and mental wellbeing. One important question that emerged from this study was centred around the role of frequency with which we engage in sexual activity. In the current study (Wright, Jenks & Demeyere, 2017), we found that engaging in sexual activity on a weekly basis is associated with better scores on specific cognitive tasks. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics / 10.06.2017 Interview with: Raya Elfadel Kheirbek, MD, MPH Geriatrician and Palliative Care Physician Washington DC VA Medical Center Associate Professor of Medicine George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the past decade, there has been a shift in the concept of successful aging from a focus on life span to health span. We all want to age gracefully “expecting” optimal health, quality of life and independence. Centenarians are living examples to the progress we have made in health care. They are the best example of successful aging since they have escaped, delayed or survived the major age-related diseases and have reached the extreme limit of human life. However, little is known about Veterans Centenarians’ incidence of chronic illness and its impact on survival. Utilizing the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), I worked with my colleagues’ researchers and identified 3,351 centenarians who were born between 1910 and 1915. The majority were white men who served in World War II and had no service related disability. The study found that 85 % of all the centenarians had no incidence of major chronic conditions between the ages of 80 and 99 years of age. The data demonstrate that Veteran centenarians tend to have a better health profile and their incidence of having one or more chronic illness is lower than in the general population. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Depression / 02.06.2017 Interview with: Miranda T. Schram PhD Associate professor Department of Medicine Maastrich What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Late-life depression, also called vascular depression, is highly prevalent, recurrent and difficult to treat. Anti-depressants only relieve symptoms in about 50% of the patients. So we urgently need new treatment targets for this disease. In this study we found that microvascular dysfunction, irrespective if you measure this by biomarkers in the blood or in the brain, is associated with an increased risk for depression. Moreover, we found evidence from longitudinal studies that microvascular dysfunction, at least of the brain, may actually be a cause of depression. To investigate this, we undertook a meta-analyses of data from over 40,000 individuals of whom over 9,000 had a depression. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Science / 31.05.2017 Interview with: Kan Cao PhD Associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics University of Maryland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2015, our group demonstrated a surprising positive effect of methylene blue in treating fibroblast cells from progeria patients, a severe premature aging disease. Interestingly, we also noticed a beneficial effect of methylene blue in protecting normal skin cells. In this study, we followed the initial observation, compared methylene blue with other popular antioxidants, and conducted further analysis of the effects of methylene blue in 3d reconstructed skin. The take home message is that we believe methylene blue has a great anti-aging potential. As it is also super safe, we suggest it a potent ingredient for skin care products. (more…)