Aging, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, Heart Disease, Herpes Viruses, Stroke / 23.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:| Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM| Director, CHEARS: The Conservation of Hearing Study Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:       Herpes zoster, commonly known as “shingles,” is a viral infection that often causes a painful rash. Shingles can occur anywhere on the head or body. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has chickenpox, the virus stays in their body for the rest of their life. Years and even decades later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. Almost all individuals age 50 years and older in the US have been infected with the varicella zoster virus and therefore they are at risk for shingles. About 1 in 3 people will develop shingles during their lifetime, and since age is a risk factor for shingles, this number may increase as the population ages. The risk is also higher among individuals of any age who are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment. A number of serious complications can occur when a person develops shingles, such as post-herpetic neuralgia (long-lasting pain), but there was limited information on whether there are other adverse long-term health implications of developing shingles. There is a growing body of evidence that links VZV, the virus that causes shingles, to vascular disease. VZV vasculopathy may cause damage to blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. Although some previous studies showed a higher risk of stroke or heart attack around the time of the shingles infection, it was not known whether this higher risk persisted in the long term. Therefore, the question we aimed to address in this study was to investigate whether shingles is associated with higher long-term risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. To address this question, we conducted a prospective longitudinal study in 3 large US cohorts of >200,000 women and men, the Nurses’ Health Study (>79,000 women), the Nurses’ Health Study II (almost 94,000 women) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (>31,000 men), without a prior history of stroke or coronary heart disease. We collected information on shingles, stroke and coronary heart disease on biennial questionnaires and confirmed the diagnoses with medical record review. We followed the participants for up to 16 years and evaluated whether those who had developed shingles were at higher risk for stroke or coronary heart disease years after the shingles episode. The outcomes we measured were incident stroke, incident coronary heart disease [defined as having a non-fatal or fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) or a coronary revascularization procedure (CABG, coronary artery bypass graft or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty)]. We also evaluated a combined outcome of cardiovascular disease, which included either stroke or coronary heart disease, whichever came first. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause, USPSTF / 09.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Stevermer, M.D., M.S.P.H. Vice chair for clinical affairs Professor of family and community medicine University of Missouri Medical director of MU Health Care Family Medicine–Callaway Physicians, Dr. Stevermer joined the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force in January 2021. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As people get older, they are more at risk for many chronic conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes. It’s unclear how much menopause—which typically occurs around age 50—contributes to this risk. Although we all want to stay healthy as we age, the Task Force does not recommend that people who have already gone through menopause use hormone therapy to prevent chronic health problems. (more…)
Aging, Geriatrics, Social Issues / 04.10.2022

If you have aging parents, the one thing you will want to be aware of is the most common health concerns that plague the elderly. While there is no way to definitively say who will suffer from any one of these diseases or conditions, they are most common among the elderly. For this reason, and because the elderly may be prone to memory lapses, it is important that you find a way to communicate with their primary health provider to ensure that everything is as it should be. With HIPAA in effect, you may need to get their approval to speak with their doctor or if they’ve been declared incompetent, the proper authorization from the courts would be necessary. At any rate, these are the health concerns you should be on the lookout for, as they truly are most prevalent in the elderly. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA / 22.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As the population is living longer, there is increased risk of frailty and vulnerability. Frailty is defined as reduced physiological reserve and decreased ability to cope with even an acute stress. Up to half of adults over the age of 85 are living with frailty and preventative measures are greatly needed. We tested the effect of vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the risk of developing frailty in healthy older adults in the US enrolled in the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA, Medical Research Centers, Supplements / 15.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As the population is living longer, there is increased risk of frailty and vulnerability. Frailty is defined as reduced physiological reserve and decreased ability to cope with even an acute stress. Up to half of adults over the age of 85 are living with frailty and preventative measures are greatly needed. We tested the effect of vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the risk of developing frailty in healthy older adults in the US enrolled in the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, JAMA / 15.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jing Li, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Economics The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics (CHOICE) Institute University of Washington School of Pharmacy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia and other cognitive impairment are highly prevalent among older adults in the U.S. and globally, and have been linked to deficiencies in decision-making, especially financial decision-making. However, little is known about the extent to which older adults with cognitive impairment manage their own finances and the characteristics of the assets they manage. (more…)
Aging, Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, NIH, Nutrition / 01.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., R.D. Staff Scientist Metabolic Epidemiology Branch National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tea is rich in bioactive compounds that can possibly protect against health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. A lower risk of death was seen among tea drinkers than non-drinkers in previous studies, but these were largely in populations where green tea drinking is common. In contrast, the studies in populations where black tea drinking is more common have been limited and the findings from these studies have been inconsistent. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Nature / 30.07.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz Professor Emeritus, Department of Integrative Biology Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331 MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  Where is blue light commonly found? Response: Our study in short-lived model organism Drosophila revealed that cumulative, long-term exposure to blue light impacts brain function, accelerates the aging process and significantly shortens lifespan compared to flies maintained in constant darkness or in white light with blue wavelengths blocked. Blue light is predominantly produced by the light-emitting diodes (LEDs); it appears white due to the addition of yellow fluorescent powder which is activated by blue light. LEDs has become a main source of  display screens (phones, laptops, desktops, TV),  and ambient lights. Indeed, humans have become awash in LEDs for most of their waking hours. (more…)
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research, Nature / 20.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael B. Miller, MD, PhD Instructor, Harvard Medical School Department of Pathology Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by somatic genetic changes and how they might occur?  Response: Changes, also called mutations, in the DNA sequence of genes can be passed from parents to their children, and explain why many diseases run in families. This kind of DNA change is called a germline mutation and is present in every cell in a person’s body. Gene mutations can also occur in a subset of cells of a person, in which case they are called somatic mutations. Somatic mutations are well known as a cause of cancer, and recent research has found that somatic mutations can also happen in non-cancerous cells that appear otherwise normal. Recent studies have even found that somatic mutations are present in neurons, cells in the brain that transmit electrical signals and play an important role in how the brain functions. Furthermore, in neurons, somatic mutations increase with age, so we set out to understand if somatic mutations might be playing a role in age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, PLoS, Social Issues / 17.03.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Holly Bennett PhD Research Associate Population Health Sciences Institute Campus for Ageing and Vitality Newcastle upon Tyne MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Life expectancy has been increasing over time and we want to ensure these are years in good health rather than increasing years in poor health. There has mainly been good news for those living with long term health conditions. With better treatment, prevention and care, the proportion of remaining years lived disability-free has increased for more recent generations. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Dental Research, Geriatrics, NYU / 23.01.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bei Wu, PhD Dean's Professor in Global Health Vice Dean for Research Rory Meyers College of Nursing Affiliated Professor, College of Dentistry Co-Director, NYU Aging Incubator New York University New York, NY 10010 MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?    Response: Social isolation and loneliness are global public health concerns. Social isolation is the lack of social contacts and having few people to have regular interactions; while loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated. Approximately 24% of community-dwelling older adults aged 65 and above are considered to be socially isolated in the United States, and 43% adults aged over 60 years old report feeling lonely. Increasing evidence suggests that social isolation and loneliness are risk factors for older adults’ health outcomes, such as depression, comorbidities, cognitive impairment and dementia, and premature mortality. However, one key limitation in the literature is that only a few studies have examined the impact of social isolation and loneliness on oral health. (more…)
Aging, Geriatrics / 08.10.2021

There are several reasons why the elderly select assisted living facilities over their lifetime homes, nursing care, and old age homes. Health issues and getting help in case of an emergency also play a role. For those considering this option, it may be useful to know what advantages this mode of living offers, as experienced by those in assisted living facilities. Let us look at the reality of this choice to determine whether it’s the best fit for you.

The Most Common Reasons

The first reason for opting for assisted living is that it provides a solution to elderly people for the housing dilemma. Many people who have already made this move were living in a house that had become difficult and expensive to maintain. Many found that they could no longer keep up with housework adequately. Some also felt that an assisted living facility offered better security than a large property. Assisted living may offer smaller apartments for their residents. This allows you to retain your independence while benefitting from the other advantages already mentioned. This is also a good alternative to an old age home or nursing care which somewhat reduces your freedom. (more…)