A study from the Barcelona Biomedical Research Institute has found that a combination of daily exercise and a daily dose of melatonin can help regulate circadian rhythm and protect against brain deterioration in mice. The research studied the effects of exercise and melatonin on a group of mice in the earliest phases of Alzheimer’s disease and found those receiving treatment showed signs of significant regression in the disease. Researcher Coral Sanfeliu said it’s been known for years that combinations of anti-aging therapies such as physical exercise, a Mediterranean diet, and not smoking add years to one’s life. According to Sanfeliu, melatonin also appears to have important anti-aging effects. More here.
A new poll of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center has found an increasing amount of anxiety over retirement savings but a shift in which Americans are expressing the most concern. In 2009, baby boomers were the most worried about funding their retirement but now adults in their late 30s and 40s are the least confident in their income and savings. Among adults between the ages of 36 and 40, more than half say they are not confident their assets will last through retirement, while only 34 percent of people ages 60 to 64 said the same. Overall, the number of Americans who express anxiety about financing their retirement has risen since 2009. According to Pew, the share of adults who aren’t confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has risen from 25 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in the latest poll. More here.
A new report from the National Research Council says the economic effects of an aging U.S. population need to be addressed in order to avoid negative consequences for all generations. Longer life expectancies and lower birth rates mean the increasing demographic shift toward an older population isn’t temporary and changes will be necessary to tackle the expanding share of national resources required to address the needs of older Americans. Robert Lee, professor of demography and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, said the nation needs to rethink its outlook and policies on working and retirement. According to the report, increasing older adults’ participation in the workforce, better financial literacy and retirement preparation, as well as structural changes to federal programs are all available options that would effectively address the growing needs of an older population. More here.
A collection of retirement research compiled by Business Insider paints an alarming picture of the nation’s retirement readiness. For example, 30 percent of workers in 2012 said they had less than $1,000 in savings and only 14 percent said they were confident they’d have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. But a lack of adequate savings isn’t just a problem for Americans currently in the workforce. Retirees also expressed a lack of sufficient funds. Among current retirees, nearly 75 percent said they hadn’t saved enough and, if they could do it all over, would save more. Also, half of current retirees said they left their job due to health problems, disability, or being laid off, underscoring the importance of being properly financially prepared. More here.
Increasingly, studies show spending too much time sitting has a detrimental effect on your health. Now new research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston suggests primary care physicians should use counseling to encourage their patients to modify sedentary behavior. Kerem Shuval, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas, said reducing sedentary time can be done by virtually everyone and requires fewer lifestyle changes than meeting physical activity guidelines. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American spends eight hours a day sitting. Sedentary behavior counseling would begin a dialogue between patient and doctor about the harmful effects of prolonged sitting. More here.
New research from Dartmouth University and the University of Warwick found that a person’s happiness rose with the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables they consumed. The study, which examined the diets of 80,000 people in England, found that happiness peaked at seven servings per day. Sarah Stewart-Brown, a professor of public health, said that the results were surprising since diet has typically been neglected when studying well being. The new research adds to recent studies recommending more than the familiar five servings per day. The study defined a serving as 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. More here.
It’s been estimated that nearly 40 percent of adults have trouble sleeping. And, according to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, insomnia and other common sleep disorders may lead to an increased risk of developing dementia and cognitive decline. The study examined 1,300 adults over the age of 75, first assessing their sleep patterns and then their cognitive ability at a five-year follow up. The results showed that individuals with sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and disruptions of their circadian rhythms were up to twice as likely to have developed dementia after five years. Researchers caution, however, that their findings only show an association and more study would be needed before a definitive link was established between trouble sleeping and cognitive decline. More here.
Among people over the age of 65, more than half have at least three chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or Alzheimer’s disease. But, according to a new report from the American Geriatrics Society, healthcare providers often follow standard clinical guidelines for an individual disease when they may not be the safest or most effective treatment for a patient with multiple conditions. Cynthia M. Boyd, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said a clinician prescribing medications according to standard guidelines for an individual disease may end up with a patient who is taking too many medications and running a risk for drug interactions and harmful side effects. The report recommends a number of guiding principles for caring for seniors with multiple health problems, such as considering patient preferences, weighing risks, benefits, and burdens, interpreting research, and accounting for the complexity and feasibility of treatment options. More here.
Low levels of vitamin C have long been associated with brittle bones but, according to a new study, large doses of the vitamin may actively stimulate bone formation and protect against osteoporosis and bone loss. Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine tested bone mineral density among two groups of mice, one of which was given large doses of vitamin C over eight weeks. The results showed that the mice who received vitamin C had a higher bone mineral density when compared to the group who received no vitamin C. Mone Zaidi, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program, said the study has profound public health implications and, with further research, may discover that dietary supplements may help prevent osteoporosis in humans. More here and here.
New data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College shows the pattern of wealth accumulation has remained virtually the same since 1983. That means, though expenses and life expectancies have gone up, people have approximately the same assets going into retirement that they had in 1983. In addition, the most recent recession has taken a staggering toll on the preparedness of baby boomers heading into retirement. Losses experienced in the real estate and stock markets were compounded by the need to dip into retirement savings to make up for the financial burden. These changes to the wealth-to-income ratio, which is a good predictor of how much income someone can replace once they retire, suggest that Americans have become increasingly less prepared for retirement over the past 30 years. More here and here.