According to recent research from the University of Michigan, people who take statins have a lower risk of developing open-angle glaucoma. Statins are commonly prescribed to help lower cholesterol but have also been found to have protective effects in diseases affecting the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis. The study, which examined data on 524,109 patients, found that the longer a person used statins, the lower their risk of developing glaucoma became. In fact, after a year of using statins, the risk dropped by 4.0 percent. Two years of statin use was associated with an 8.0 percent decrease. More here.
Data from the Center For Retirement Research shows an alarming trend in wealth accumulation and retirement preparedness among Americans. The chart, which contains data going back to 1983, shows a stable pattern of wealth accumulation through the most recent survey in 2010. In 2010, accumulation of wealth dropped among most age groups due to the severe recession and unemployment crisis. The CRR suggests that even if the ratio of wealth to income returns to its historical norm, the fact that funding retirement is significantly more expensive than it used to be, means trouble for future retirees. In short, the CRR warns prospective retirees that having the same amount of assets as your parents won’t be enough to handle the rising costs of retirement. More here.
Danish researchers have found four signs of aging that may signal poor heart health and a higher risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The research followed 11,000 men and women over the age of 40 for 35 years and discovered that those who had a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of their head, earlobe crease, or fatty deposits around their eyelid were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Fatty deposits around the eyelid were the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, said looking old for your age is a marker of poor health. Individuals in their 70s were at highest risk. Participants over the age of 70 who exhibited three of the four signs of aging had a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. More here.
Ginger has long been known for its health benefits, which include everything from helping with digestion to fighting the growth and spread of both colorectal and ovarian cancer. But ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties which can benefit people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A recent study from the University of Miami found individuals who were given a highly concentrated ginger extract experienced a 40 percent reduction in pain and stiffness in their knee joints. Adding grated ginger to salads and stir fry is one way to increase your consumption, though there are also supplements and powders available. More here and here.
An analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study conducted by Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, of the University of Southern California is the first to look at how air quality affects the cognitive function of older men and women. The research focused on data from 14,793 people over the age of 50 and found those living in areas with higher levels of air pollution scored poorer on cognitive function tests even after factoring in age, race, education, smoking, behavior, and cardiovascular condition. According to Ailshire, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of unhealthy air and there is emerging evidence that exposure may have adverse effects on the brain, as well as heart and respiratory health. More here.
Conventional wisdom often links aging to sleep problems. And, according to recent research, sleeplessness can raise the risk of everything from hypertension to diabetes. But though that may seem like a reason for older adults to be concerned, a new study from the University of Pittsburgh’s Sleep and Chronobiology Center and University Center for Social and Urban Research found that seniors aren’t having as much trouble sleeping as as assumed and sleep trouble may have more to do with poor health than age. The study surveyed 1,200 retired seniors. Results showed that 75 percent of respondents reported sleeping more than 6.75 hours a night and just 25 percent reported sleeping less than that. Timothy H. Monk, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, said the stereotype of seniors going to bed early and having trouble staying asleep is inaccurate. More here.
A study aimed at determining how many years of life were gained based on the level of exercise an individual engaged in after the age of 40 has found that leisure-time physical activity is linked to life expectancy. The research, led by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, looked at data on more than 650,000 adults over the age of 40 and found that people who got the recommended level of physical activity lived 3.4 years longer than those that didn’t and individuals who reported getting twice the recommended level of exercise increased their lifespan by 4.2 years. Generally, the more activity a person reported, the longer their life expectancy. More here.
A study focused on finding ways to reduce readmission rates among congestive heart failure patients over the age of 65 found that patients who saw a cardiologist had a significantly lower risk of returning to the hospital within 30 days. The study looked at heart failure admissions between 2009 and 2011 and found, among 2,311 patients, 65 percent were treated by a hospitalist and 35 percent were treated by a cardiologist. Among the 23.2 percent of patients that re-entered the hospital within a month of being discharged, 27 percent had been attended to by a hospitalist while just 16 percent were among those treated by a cardiologist. In addition, the analysis noted that readmission rates were lower for patients seen by a cardiologist despite being among the more severe cases. More here.
Surprisingly, research has shown that poor health isn’t a reliable indicator of a person’s level of happiness. And now, a new study from George Mason University adds to the evidence that even people with life-threatening diseases often report being as happy as people in good health. The study, which surveyed 383 older adults, found that other than individuals who suffer from chronic conditions that interrupt their daily lives, people generally adapt to their health problems, regardless of the severity. Research Erik Angner, PhD, says his is the first study to measure the amount of disruption associated with different health conditions. More here.
A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 75 percent of Americans described their retirement preparations as being based on some sort of a guess compared to 22 percent who said their plan was based on calculations. The numbers offer further evidence that Americans are in need of better education and financial preparation leading up to their retirement. For example, participants estimated their out-of-pocket healthcare costs in retirement would total $47,000, far below the $260,000 calculated by the Center for Retirement Research. Also, the number of respondents who said they aren’t confident they will have saved enough to live comfortably in retirement rose from 42 percent in 2011 to 53 percent this year. The poll was conducted via telephone and interviewed 1,000 middle-class Americans between the ages of 25 and 75. More here.