Physical Activity Linked To Better Vision

A new study states that being physically active may help protect vision by decreasing the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that causes blurred vision as people age. A study made up of 40,000 middle-aged long distance runners found that those who ran the most mileage had a much lower risk of developing the disease than those who ran fewer miles. Experts advise exercising daily, not only for fitness and heart health, but now to improve vision. More here

Music Therapy May Help Seniors In Multiple Ways

A new study published in Mental Health Practice suggests that singing and music may help ease pain and decrease depression and anxiety among seniors while also improving overall quality of life. The article states that music can bring enjoyment, improved memory, and social interaction to people over the age of 65. Many experts are now advising health care providers to incorporate music into their treatments. The author of the study said, “listening to music and/or singing represent a safe, evidence-based nursing intervention, and staff should be encouraged to study and use it.” More here

New Rules May Be Added To Medicare Advantage Plans

UnitedHealthcare recently dropped many doctors from its Medicare Advantage plans in several states, and now federal officials are considering adding new rules to the plan to protect seniors when insurers decrease the number of doctors and health care providers in their networks. Federal officials are arguing that the time given for seniors to find alternative plans or health care providers may not be long enough. The new rules would allow beneficiaries a 30-day advanced notice of all changes within their network to give enough time to make decisions. More here

Exercise May Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

New data states that at least one hour of physical exercise each day can reduce the chances of breast cancer by approximately 12% for women of all ages. The study compiled breast cancer research from 1987 to 2013, and found that women who were the most physically active had a lower risk of developing breast cancer. The Director at the International Prevention Research Institute, Mathieu Boniol said, “these are all the studies looking at the relationship between physical exercise and breast cancer risk that have been published to date, so we are confident that the results of our analysis are robust.” More here

Blood Pressure Should Be Taken From Both Arms For Accuracy

A new study has revealed that those with different blood pressure readings in their right arm versus their left arm may have a higher risk of developing heart problems in the future. The study involved 3,300 people age 40 and up and focused on the systolic blood pressure readings. The study found that people who had systolic blood pressure readings different by 10 millimeters or more from the right to the left arm were 38% more likely to suffer from stroke or heart attack over the next 13 years, when compared to those with a smaller difference between the two arms. Results suggest that doctors should now take blood pressure in both arms. More here

Reverse Mortgages Grow In Popularity With Baby Boomers

Many baby boomers are turning to reverse mortgages for extra income, according to recent data. Loan percentages are expected to increase over the next several years as 77 million baby boomers make their way into retirement, and new reverse mortgage rules have been put in place to preserve the safety of the borrower. The new rules have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option. Spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Melanie Roussell said, “as with any mortgage product, there is risk to financing a loan, but we have made, and continue to make, significant efforts to mitigate that risk.” More here

Building Muscle Mass May Lead To A Longer Life

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine states that older people who work on building muscle may have healthier and longer lives. Experts suggest that building muscle directly correlates with decreasing metabolic risk, and increasing overall health in older adults. The study also states that BMI may not always be an accurate focus, explaining that body composition and BMI together may be beneficial when aiding older individuals on preventative health behaviors. Dr. Arun Karlamangla, the studies co-author and associate professor in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School said, “in other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death. Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.” More here

Dark Chocolate Nutrients May Lower Health Risks

A new study is being conducted to find out if nutrients found in dark chocolate may help lower the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart attacks. The study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Mars Inc. plans to create a supplement filled with nutrients from dark chocolate. The  goal is to find out if the nutrients found in  large amounts of chocolate may benefit the body without the added fat and sugar. The study will involve 18,000 men and women, and will be the first large scale study involving cocoa flavanols. More here

Retirement Confidence Grows

New data has shown that an increasing number of Americans who owned stock last year are beginning to have more positive thoughts about retirement than in past years. The American retirement sentiment indicates that confidence increased last year, the first increase seen since the recession. Data suggests that the recent increase in retirement confidence is almost entirely due to stock market investments. More here

Colon Cancer Risk Declines Among Older Adults

According to new research from Colorectal Cancer Statistics, 2014, published in the March/April issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, colon cancer has declined in the United States by approximately 30% among individuals who are 50 years of age or older in the last ten years. Research has found colon cancer screenings have increased and treatment options have improved, increasing the rate of survival.  The American Cancer Society chief cancer control officer, Richard C. Wender, M.D. said, “these continuing drops in incidence and mortality show the lifesaving potential of colon cancer screening; a potential that an estimated 23 million Americans between ages 50 and 75 are not benefiting from because they are not up to date on screening. Sustaining this hopeful trend will require concrete efforts to make sure all patients, particularly those who are economically disenfranchised, have access to screening and to the best care available.” More here