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Speaking Two Languages May Slow Down Cognitive Decline From Aging

Better cognition this way!

Speaking Two Languages May Slow Down Cognitive Decline From Aging

(Wiley)

New research reveals that bilingualism has a positive effect on cognition later in life. Findings published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, show that individuals who speak two or more languages, even those who acquired the second language in adulthood, may slow down cognitive decline from aging.

Bilingualism is thought to improve cognition and delay dementia in older adults. “Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” says lead author Dr. Thomas Bak from the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

For the current study, researchers relied on data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, comprised of 835 native speakers of English who were born and living in the area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The participants were given an intelligence test in 1947 at age 11 years and retested in their early 70s, between 2008 and 2010. Two hundred and sixty two participants reported to be able to communicate in at least one language other than English. Of those, 195 learned the second language before age 18, 65 thereafter.

Findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would be expected from their baseline. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading. The effects were present in those who acquired their second language early as well as late.

“These findings are of considerable practical relevance. Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”

After reviewing the study, Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, an Associate Editor for Annals of Neurology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. said, “The epidemiological study by Dr. Bak and colleagues provides an important first step in understanding the impact of learning a second language and the aging brain.”

Comprende?

Good.

 
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Cynics More at Risk for Dementia

You might be a cynic if....you looked like this!

You might be a cynic if….you looked like this!

Cynics More at Risk for Dementia

A study in Neurology, the journal of the of the American Academy of Neurology, found that cynical people have a higher likelihood of developing dementia.

The study tested 1,449 people with an average age of 71. The study participants took a test for dementia. A separate test measured their level of cynicism.

The cynicism test asks if the person agrees with statements like “Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it”; “I think most people would lie to get ahead”; and “It is safer to trust nobody.”

Those who agreed with the critical statements in the test were considered highly cynical. The people with the highest level of cynical distrust had a 2.54 times greater risk of dementia than those with the lowest cynicism rating.

Speaking to CNN, Dr. Hilary Tindle, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh said, “This is a complex issue that needs to be studied more. The relationships between psychological attitudes and health outcomes are very complex.”

Tindle was the lead author on a study that examined the health outcomes of over 97,000 women and found that cynical women had a higher hazard of cancer-related mortality.

Research shows cynical people also tend to smoke more, exercise less and weigh more. They also have a harder time following even the best medical advice, because their cynical natures won’t let them believe what people tell them, Tindle said.

I don’t believe this crap!

 

 
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Our Friday Song of the Week – Brown Eyed Girl

Our Friday Song of the Week – Brown Eyed Girl

 
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Physical Activity May be Best Option for Middle-aged Women Who are Overweight or Obese to Avoid Heart Disease

Avoid heart disease with physical activity, yes, even walking can help.

Physical Activity May be Best Option for Middle-aged Women Who are Overweight or Obese to Avoid Heart Disease

That was the conclusion of a study that followed nearly 900 women for seven years. Findings were reported in a paper led by authors at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk for developing conditions such as hypertension, elevated triglyceride levels and elevated fasting glucose levels—all of them risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.,” said lead author Unab Khan, M.B.B.S.,M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics and of family and social medicine at Einstein and attending physician, pediatrics at Montefiore. “With about two out of every three American women overweight or obese, we need to find practical ways to keep them healthier, longer.”

The authors identified 866 overweight and obese women, aged 42 to 52 who were enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, or SWAN, a multicenter, multiethnic study designed to examine the health of women during their middle years. The women studied were categorized as “metabolically benign overweight/obese.” That means they had at most one risk factor for heart disease and therefore were at a lower risk for developing the disease.

Throughout the seven-year study, the women were tested annually for heart disease risk factors. They also completed an annual survey describing their physical activity for the prior 12 months, which ranged from active living, caregiving and doing household chores to exercise and sports.

During the seven years, 373 of the participants—43 percent of the total—had progressed from having at most a single risk factor for heart disease to at-risk overweight/obese, meaning they had developed two or more of the following five heart-disease risk factors: hypertension; low blood level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol; elevated blood levels of triglycerides, elevated fasting glucose level (indicating pre-diabetes or diabetes); and elevated levels of C-reactive protein ( indicating inflammation).

Low-to-moderate physical activity—at the start of the study and during it—was the only lifestyle factor found to protect overweight/obese women from becoming at-risk for heart disease.

More specifically, women who participated in physical activity during the study were 16 percent less likely to become at-risk for heart disease compared with women who were not physically active.

The researchers also identified several “triggers” that predisposed women to become at-risk for heart disease:

  • Women who had elevated fasting glucose levels or took antidiabetic drugs at the start of the study were more than three times as likely to become at-risk for heart disease compared with women who had normal fasting glucose levels when the study began.
  • Women who had hypertension at the start of the study were three times more likely to fall into the at-risk group compared with women who were not hypertensive at the start of the study.
  • Women who gained weight during the study were 16 percent more likely to become at-risk for heart disease compared with women who did not gain weight.

“A large number of women who began the study— more than 40 percent of them— were no longer heart-healthy by the end of it,” said Dr. Khan. “But our study does demonstrate the important role that physical activity can play in protecting overweight or obese women from becoming at-risk for heart disease. Our findings suggest that physical activity may be able to prevent overweight women from developing heart disease even if they have risk factors for the disease.”

 
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E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers to Quit

Could help but it’s not the total answer for quitting smoking.

E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers to Quit

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, reveals new research published in Addiction.

The study surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support. 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey. lobbyists

“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” says Professor Robert West of University College London’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, senior author of the study. “However, we should also recognize that the strongest evidence remains for use of the NHS (UK’s National Health Service) stop-smoking services. These almost triple a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products.”

 
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Merrill Lynch Clear™ Living Your Best Life in Retirement Through Exploration of Life Priorities

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 1.02.58 PMMerrill Lynch Clear™ Living Your Best Life in Retirement Through Exploration of Life Priorities

You have heard the statistics about aging and the litany of lectures, including from me, about preparing for aging. During a recent webinar, Merrill Lynch demonstrated a new tool that you might be interested in exploring. By the way, this is not an endorsement. My wife and I actually use Fidelity for retirement planning. Nonetheless, here goes.

Merrill Lynch Clear™ modernizes the process of preparing for retirement through:

  • An exploration of seven distinct life priorities – including health, home, family, finance, giving, work and leisure – connecting the financial aspects of life in retirement.
  • Deeper levels of education and insight about priorities and concerns through a series of videos, guides, seminars and other rich content to help people make informed decisions.
  • Specially trained financial advisors with innovative tools to bring this approach and these resources together for clients throughout their lives, as needs and priorities change.

The framework is designed to better connect people’s lives to their finances through broader, more personally meaningful conversations with their financial advisors about their priorities. This exploration then leads to goal setting, the creation of an investment strategy to help pursue those goals, and making course corrections along the way.

“Retirement today is a totally different experience,” said Andy Sieg, head of Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Baby boomers are living later life in ways no other generation has. This requires a bold new approach to helping people think about their lives in a comprehensive way, explore opportunities and challenges, and seek peace of mind.”

Among Merrill Lynch Clear’s unique tools is a series of iPad “Discovery Apps” created to help facilitate deeper conversations between clients and advisors. The first apps in this expanding series focus on the exploration of life priorities, along with social security, health care, lifetime income and knowing your investment personality. These apps offer a dynamic approach to helping people consider retirement in ways they may never have before, using illustrations, educational resources, and interactive exercises to better understand priorities and allocate resources based on personal goals and circumstances.

When announcing this tool, Merrill Lynch also named Cyndi Hutchins as director of Financial Gerontology, providing a resource to help advisors address the challenges that come with aging.

The retirement website (www.ml.com/retire) has also been redesigned with actionable content and resources from Merrill Lynch and third-party experts to help clients navigate life in retirement. New content being introduced on an ongoing basis includes original articles, client and expert videos, webcasts and research on topics ranging from: Changing the Conversation About Retirement, Understanding Health Care Costs, The Caregiver’s Financial Guide, Sharing the Family Vacation Home, An Encore Education for Your Encore Career, Financial Guide for First-Time Grandparents and much more.

 
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Our Friday Song of the Week – Devil with the Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly

Published on August 8, 2014 by in Songs

 

Our Friday Song of the Week – Devil with the Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly

 
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Sagging Eyelids – Not Just a Cosmetic Concern

Certain behaviors in our control can help with sagging eyelids.

Sagging Eyelids – Not Just a Cosmetic Concern

Sagging eyelids because of excess skin (called dermatochalasis) is typically seen in middle-age or older adults. Typically a cosmetic concern, sagging eyelids also can cause visual field loss, irritation and headaches because patients force themselves to elevate their brow in order to see better.

Other than aging, risk factors for sagging eyelids include being a man, having lighter skin color and having a higher body mass index (BMI).

In a JAMA study, author Leonie C. Jacobs, M.D., Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues studied two population-based groups: 5,578 unrelated participants of North European ancestry (“Dutch Europeans”) (average age 67 years) and 2,186 twins (average age 53 years).

Among the group of Dutch Europeans, 17.8 percent had moderate to severe sagging eyelids. Risk factors for sagging eyelids included age, being male, having lighter skin color and a higher BMI. Current smoking also may have some association. Among the twin pairs, heritability of sagging eyelids was estimated at about 61 percent.

We have no control over our age, sex or skin tone but we do over our BMI and smoking.

 
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Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity For Older Adults Reduces Mobility Problems

elder exerciseModerate-Intensity Physical Activity For Older Adults Reduces Mobility Problems

Among older adults at risk of disability, participation in a structured moderate-intensity physical activity program, compared with a health education intervention, significantly reduced the risk of major mobility disability (defined in this trial as loss of ability to walk about a quarter mile), according to a study published by JAMA.

Mobility—the ability to walk without assistance—is a critical characteristic for functioning independently. Reduced mobility is common in older adults and is an independent risk factor for illness, hospitalization, disability, and death.

Marco Pahor, M.D., of the University of Florida, Gainesville, and colleagues with the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, randomly assigned 1,635 sedentary men and women (age 70 to 89 years) who were able to walk 400 meters to a structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program conducted in a center and at home that included aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training activities, or to a health education program, consisting of workshops on topics relevant to older adults and upper extremity stretching exercises. The adults participated for an average of 2.6 years. Participants were enrolled at 8 centers across the country.

Major mobility disability was experienced by 246 participants (30.1 percent) in the physical activity group and 290 participants (35.5 percent) in the health education group. Persistent mobility disability was ex­perienced by 14.7 percent of participants in the physical activity group and 19.8 percent of participants in the health education group.

A subgroup with lower physical function at study entry, representing 45 percent of the study population, received considerable benefit from the physical activity intervention.

“These results suggest the potential for structured physical activity as a feasible and effective intervention to reduce the burden of disability among vulnerable older persons, in spite of functional decline in late life. To our knowledge, the LIFE study is the largest and longest duration randomized trial of physical activity in older persons,” the authors write.

So forget the learning, get to the doing.

 
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Resveratrol in Red Wine, Chocolate, Grapes Not Associated With Improved Health

Resveratrol in Red Wine, Chocolate, Grapes Not Associated With Improved Health – oh no after all the hoopla comes this.

The antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine, chocolate and grapes was not associated with longevity or the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation, according to author: Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., and colleagues.

The “French Paradox” of a low incidence of coronary heart disease despite a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat in France has been attributed to the regular intake of red wine, in particular, to resveratrol and other polyphenols contained in wine. Some preliminary evidence also suggests that resveratrol may have anti-inflammatory effects, prevent cancer, and decrease blood vessel stiffness.

The participants (a sample of 783 men and women 65 years or older) were part of the Aging in the Chianti Region study from 1998 to 2009 in two Italian villages. The authors sought to determine if resveratrol levels achieved through diet were associated with inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death. Levels were measured using 24 hour urine collections to look for breakdown products of resveratrol.

During nine years of follow-up, 268 participants (34.3 percent) died; of the 639 participants free of cardiovascular disease at enrollment, 174 (27.2 percent) developed cardiovascular disease during the follow-up; and of the 734 participants who were free of cancer at enrollment, 34 (4.6 percent) developed cancer during the follow-up. Urine resveratrol metabolite levels were not associated with death, inflammation, cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Discussion: “This study suggests that dietary resveratrol from Western diets in community-dwelling older adults does not have a substantial influence on inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or longevity.”

If you watch the 60 Minutes segment on the 90+ Study, you will also find that people who had two alcoholic drinks of any kind lived longer. Check it out.

 
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