Though many attribute forgetfulness to declining memory, according to Kansas State University professor of psychology Richard Harris, lack of interest may ultimately be responsible for a person’s inability to remember specific details. For example, Harris believes the ability to remember names is more developed in people who are more socially aware, interested in relationships, and in professions where remembering names is beneficial, such as teaching or politics. According to Harris, almost everybody has a good memory for something and the more interest an individual has in a certain topic, the more likely they are to remember details and specifics associated with that topic. More here.
Chronic inflammation can be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. But, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people with the highest levels of vitamin B6 in their blood were least likely to have indicators of inflammation. The study compared blood levels of 2,229 adults and found a relationship between the level of B6 found in the blood stream and the likelihood of suffering from chronic inflammation. Vitamin B6 is found in lean chicken breast, fish, red peppers, potatoes, and beans. Nutritionists recommend getting vitamins through food sources rather than supplements. Studies have also shown that an excessive amount of B6 can be harmful, causing nerve damage and tingling. More here.
New research from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley found that a person’s happiness is more closely tied to their standing in their community and how much respect and admiration they receive from their friends, neighbors, and co-workers than it is to how much money they have. Psychological scientist Cameron Anderson set out to examine the relationship between respect, money, admiration, and happiness. And, over the course of four studies which surveyed and followed a diverse sample of participants, Anderson found clear evidence that having influence and social acceptance was more important than accumulated wealth. Having high standing in your local ladder leads to being more integrated into the group’s social fabric, Anderson said. According to Anderson, one reason money doesn’t buy happiness is how quickly people adapt to new levels of income. More here.
According to Census projections, the number of Americans over the age of 85 is set to rise to 19 million by 2050. By comparison, there were only 3 million Americans older than 85 in 1990. A large part of that increase are the approximately 78 million baby boomers now approaching their retirement years. But with increasing life expectancies and dwindling government resources, today’s seniors face the risk of an uncertain financial future. A recent Gallup poll shows that a rising number of Americans say they expect to rely heavily on social security as a source of retirement income. But as people live longer, the likelihood that they’ll require costly medical care or assistance increases. The struggle to pay for the healthcare needs of an aging American population highlights the need for a proper retirement plan that goes beyond social security and accounts for increasing life spans. More here and here.
A study out of Canada is the second in a year that links omega-3 fatty acids to age-related vision loss. The study follows earlier research published in the Archives of Opthalmology that tied regular consumption of fish to a lowered risk of age-related macular degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as salmon, have been found to assist in healthy aging and have been studied for everything from heart to brain related benefits. The Canadian study gave mice an omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid and discovered that it prevented the buildup of a toxin known to accumulate at the back of the eyes and cause vision loss. More here.
The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are women, as are the majority of people serving as caregivers to Alzheimer’s patients. That is the basis of a new study from the Working Mother Research Institute which seeks to measure the toll of Alzheimer’s on women. The study, titled The Caregiver’s Crisis, found that 82 percent of current caregivers are providing care in their home or the patient’s home. Among them, 39 percent say they feel they have no choice. Also, nearly half of women caregivers say they feel overwhelmed and 65 percent say they have not had a vacation in the past year. Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, said too many women are fulfilling a role they didn’t anticipate and it’s taking a great toll on their health as well as their families and careers. Almost 40 percent of current caregivers say they’ve passed up promotions because of their caregiving duties. More here and here.
How much stress you feel and how you react under stressful situations affects your heart, whether it has a direct physical effect or leads to behaviors proven to increase risk such as smoking or overeating. Learning to effectively manage stress is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart and avoiding numerous health problems associated with stress, such as high blood pressure, asthma, and ulcers. Experts recommend managing stress with relaxation and natural techniques rather than medication and tranquilizing drugs. Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, cutting back on coffee, and maintaining a healthy weight and diet are among the top recommendations from the American Heart Association on how to manage stress and reduce risk of cardiovascular trouble. More here.
Research led by Dr. Laura Asher of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London compared the walking speed of adults over the age of 65 to the time required to safely use a pedestrian crosswalk. The findings determined that a walking speed of at least 1.2 meters per second was necessary to cross the street in time but older men had a mean walking speed of just 0.9 meters per second and women came in at 0.8 meters per second. Also, the speed at which men and women walked slowed as their age increased. The research concluded that 76 percent of older men and 85 percent of women had a walking speed below what was necessary to cross the road safely. Dr. Asher said older people are more likely to be involved in road traffic collisions due to slower walking speeds, decision making, and perceptual difficulties. More here.
According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the average person should expect to live between 20 and 24 years beyond retirement age by 2050. That is up from 17 to 20 years in 2010. But increasing life expectancy also means increasing financial struggles for both individuals and governments. The report suggests raising the retirement age to relieve that burden and address the sustainability of government policies. Currently, the official retirement age in the U.S. is 66, though individuals can begin collecting retirement benefits as early as 62. The retirement age is scheduled to rise two months each year starting in 2017 until it reaches 67 in 2022. More here.
A study conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland found that a form of vitamin B3 found in milk produces remarkable health benefits when given to mice in high doses. The vitamin, which is related to niacin, prevented obesity in mice that were fed a fatty diet, increased their muscle performance, and prevented the development of diabetes, without any side effects. Dr. Anthony Sauve, associate professor of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the vitamin, in animals, offered the health benefits of a low-calorie diet and exercise, without doing either one. The researchers refer to the vitamin as hidden due to the fact that, in food, it is only found in very small, unmeasurable quantities. More here.