People Who Enjoy Life Maintain Better Physical Function as They Age

People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less, according to a new study in CMAJ(Canadian Medical Association Journal).

A study of 3199 men and women aged 60 years or over living in England looked at the link between positive well-being and physical well-being, following participants over 8 years. Participants were divided into three age categories: 60-69, 70-79 and 80 years or over. Researchers from University College London (UCL), United Kingdom, assessed participants’ enjoyment of life with a four-point scale, rating the following questions: “I enjoy the things that I do,” “I enjoy being in the company of others,” “On balance, I look back on my life with a sense of happiness” and “I feel full of energy these days.” Researchers used personal interviews to determine whether participants had impairments in daily activities such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, bathing or showering. They gauged walking speed with a gait test.

“The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” states Dr. Andrew Steptoe, UCL. “They are less likely to develop impairments in activities of daily living such as dressing or getting in or out of bed, and their walking speed declines at a slower rate than those who enjoy life less.”

Full story of enjoying life when aging at Science Daily

Mental Disorders in Mid-Life, Older Adulthood, More Prevalent Than Previously Reported

Common methods of assessing mental or physical disorders may consistently underestimate the prevalence of mental disorders among middle-aged and older adults, a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found.

The analysis, led by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yoichiro Takayanagi, and published in the January 8 online edition of JAMA Psychiatry, reveals substantial discrepancies among mid-life and late-life adults in reporting past mental health disorders, including depression, compared with physical disorders such as arthritis and hypertension.

“The takeaway is that lifetime estimates based on [participant] recall in cross-sectional surveys underestimate the occurrences of mental disorders over the lifetime,” said Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, MPH, MA, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health and senior author of the study.

The findings are believed to be the first to examine retrospective evaluations versus cumulative assessments among older adults. Recent studies of adolescent and young adults have also found discrepancies in prevalence estimates of common mental disorders between retrospective reports versus multiple assessments over time.

Full story of mid-life mental disorders at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Video game may help aging brain

Zoom! Move that car! Get those road signs!

A specially designed video game, called NeuroRacer, isn’t just for fun, although scientists believe that’s one of its key ingredients.

Researchers say this game may help enhance certain cognitive abilities in older adults, such as multitasking and attention span.  Results from a study on the game’s effects were published today in the journal Nature.
Background

We know that older adults experience declines in cognitive control abilities, including a decrease in sustained attention and working memory.

Previous research has also shown that older adults often experience difficulties in responding to interference – i.e. distractions from irrelevant information or multitasking attempts, said senior study author Adam Gazzaley, professor of neurology and director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

An ongoing trend in dementia research is the emphasis on an active lifestyle to prevent or delay memory loss.  A study of Swedish twins, for instance, suggests that women who participate in intellectual and cultural activities may have a lower dementia risk.  Exercise at midlife for both sexes has also been found to be protective against dementia.

Full story of video games to help an aging brain at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Your Eyes May Hold Clues to Stroke Risk

Photographing the retina may help detect which high blood pressure patients are more likely to have a stroke. Retinal imaging may be an inexpensive and non-invasive way to assess risk.

Your eyes may be a window to your stroke risk.

In a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, researchers said retinal imaging may someday help assess if you’re more likely to develop a stroke — the nation’s No. 4 killer and a leading cause of disability.

“The retina provides information on the status of blood vessels in the brain,” said Mohammad Kamran Ikram, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Singapore Eye Research Institute, the Department of Ophthalmology and Memory Aging & Cognition Centre, at the National University of Singapore. “Retinal imaging is a non-invasive and cheap way of examining the blood vessels of the retina.”

Worldwide, high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. However, it’s still not possible to predict which high blood pressure patients are most likely to develop a stroke.

Full story of the eyes and clues to a stroke at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

New CEU Courses

NEW QUANTUM LOGONEW! Biology of Aging

3 CE hrs. $9
CEU Course Description
Biology of Aging describes some of the National Institute of Aging’s exciting findings about the basic biology of aging and points to directions for future investigation.

NEW! Suicide Prevention in High Schools

10 CEU hrs. $30
CE Course Description
This toolkit was prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) in collaboration with Education Development Center, Inc. This toolkit was developed to assist high school personnel design and implement strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among students.

NEW! Marijuana: Effects on Brain, Body and Behavior

2 CEU hrs $6
CE Course Description
This short course covers selected effects of marijuana on the brain, body and behavior. In addition to information about how it affects the mind and body, it includes statistics on marijuana use in the US.

Full information on the new courses and many others at Quantum Units Education

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education