Many Years Young

A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Global life expectancy rises, but people live sicker for longer

(Reuters) People around the world are living longer, but many are also living sicker lives for longer, according to a study of all major diseases and injuries in 188 countries.
General health has improved worldwide, thanks to significant progress against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria in the past decade and gains in fighting maternal and child illnesses.
But healthy life expectancy has not increased as much, so people are living more years with illness and disability, according to the analysis.
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Anti-Aging Tricks from Dietary Supplement Seen in Mice

(Emory Health Sciences) In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, with positive effects in a mouse model of atherosclerosis [(hardening of the arteries)].
The discovery highlights a potential avenue for the treatment for chronic diseases…
ALA appears to exert its effects against atherosclerosis by spurring the smooth muscle cells that surround blood vessels to make PGC1 (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator 1)-alpha. PGC1-alpha was already well known to scientists as controlling several aspects of how skeletal muscles respond to exercise. While the Emory researchers did not directly assess the effects of exercise in their experiments, their findings provide molecular clues to how exercise might slow the effects of aging or chronic disease in some cell types.
"The effects of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes on blood vessels can be traced back to telomere shortening," Alexander says. "This means that treatments that can restore healthy telomeres have great potential."
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Drinking a problem for many older adults, study finds

(CBS News) When it comes to the problem of drinking to excess, the senior citizen population may not immediately come to mind. But a new study finds that many older adults are drinking too much alcohol, putting them at risk for major health problems…
The researchers looked at anonymous electronic health records from a sample of almost 28,000 people from one area of London. They identified 9,248 older people who had reported consuming alcohol and found that 1,980 of them did so at unsafe levels…
"As the Baby Boomer generation become seniors, they represent an ever increasing population of older people drinking at levels that pose a risk to their health," Dr. Tony Rao, lead author from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London, said in a statement. "This study shows the need for greater awareness of the potential for alcohol related harm in older people, particularly those of higher socio-economic status, who may suffer the consequences of ill health from alcohol at an earlier age than those in previous generations."
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Weak Doses of Radiation Prolong Life of Female Flies, Scientists Find

(Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology) Scientists at MIPT have revealed that weak doses of gamma radiation prolong the life of drosophila flies (fruit flies), and that the effect is stronger in females than in males. These findings could reveal the genes that enable the prolongation of life and in the future lead to the creation of a means to prevent aging in humans…
It is a commonly accepted view that there can be no safe doses of radiation, as any radiation will damage the molecules of DNA. An acceptable background is considered to be that at which the risk of cancer is negligibly small.
However, a number of experiments have demonstrated an improvement "under radiation" of indicators of life expectancy in mice and cell cultures. Indirect confirmation of radiation hormesis can be seen in cases of accidental irradiation of large groups of people over extended periods of time.
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Colorful Potatoes May Pack Powerful Cancer Prevention Punch

(Penn State) Compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer, according to a team of researchers.
Baked purple-fleshed potatoes suppressed the growth of colon cancer tumors in petri dishes and in mice by targeting the cancer's stem cells. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and responsible for more than 50,000 deaths annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
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Eco-Friendly Start-Up Sells Ugly Fruits and Veggies

(Discover Magazine) They’re ugly. They’re misshapen. They’re perfectly edible. But these fruit and veggies will never make it to the produce section in your grocery store.
Vast quantities of asymmetrical fruit and veggies are cast aside on the farm simply because we like our roughage to look beautiful before we chew it up in our mouths. Now a new start-up, called Imperfect, hopes to change that. The company plans to collect rejected produce and ship 10-14 pounds of oddball deliciousness to your doorstep, and it’ll only cost $12.
Community: Great! This idea could reduce waste and make healthier eating more affordable.
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Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May Be Mediated by Gut Microbes

(Cell Press) Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard (e.g., bacon) produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a study… The researchers transferred these microbes into other mice to see how they affected health. The results suggest that gut bacteria share some of the responsibility for the beneficial effects of fish oil and the harmful effects of lard.
In particular, mice that received transplants of gut microbes associated with a fish oil diet were protected against diet-induced weight gain and inflammation compared with mice transplanted with gut microbes associated with a lard diet. This demonstrates that gut microbes are an independent factor aggravating inflammation associated with diet-induced obesity and gives hope that a probiotic might help counteract a "greasy" diet.
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Lemon Juice Disinfects Against Human Norovirus

(German Cancer Research Center) Noroviruses are the predominant cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in community settings such as hospitals, cruise ships, and schools. The virus is extremely contagious and is mostly transmitted via "fecal-oral-route," i.e., through contaminated hands or contaminated food. Symptoms include violent and sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
"It is therefore important to provide a safe and harmless disinfectant against human norovirus," explains Grant Hansman, head of CHS junior research group at the German Cancer Research Center noroviruses and the University of Heidelberg…
This current study was a continuation of an earlier project conducted at the National Institutes of Health in the United States, where they discovered that citrate from a commercial company could bind to the norovirus capsid protein…
These new results may explain why citrate reduces the infectivity of noroviruses. "Maybe a few drops of lemon juice on contaminated food or surfaces may prevent the transmission of these viruses," speculates Hansman. With his staff, he now plans to investigate if citric acid could reduce symptoms in those already infected with noroviruses.
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Probiotics Show No Impact Preventing Gastrointestinal Colonization With Drug-Resistant Bugs in ICU

(Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America) Probiotics show no benefit for preventing or eliminating gastrointestinal colonization with drug-resistant organisms in patients in the intensive care unit compared to standard care, according to new research…
"Our research suggests that probiotics do not help prevent gastrointestinal colonization with multidrug-resistant organisms in critically ill patients," said Jennie H. Kwon, DO, lead author of the study.
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Flu Remedies Help Combat E. Coli Bacteria

(University of Zurich) If the intestinal bacteria level becomes unbalanced, it can cause diseases. Physiologists now reveal how a specific carbohydrate in the intestinal mucosa heavily multiplies certain E. coli bacteria and thus causes inflammations. These could be treated with flu remedies, which opens up new therapeutic possibilities…
Thierry Hennet, a professor from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Zurich … and his colleagues succeeded in demonstrating the complex chain of events involved in a severe inflammation triggered by E. coli: An injury to the intestinal mucosa initially causes the increased multiplication of a non-pathogenic bacteria, which emits sialidase. This increased enzyme production releases sialic acid, which facilitates an overproduction of E. coli and can thus cause intestinal inflammation.
Sialidase inhibitors combat intestinal inflammations
The researchers also discovered that the intake of a sialidase inhibitor prevents the excessive formation of E. coli and was thus able to alleviate the disease symptoms. Interestingly, such sialidase inhibitors were already developed against the influenza virus. "Derivatives of known flu agents such as Tamiflu and Relenza could therefore also be used for inflammatory intestinal diseases, which opens up new therapeutic possibilities," says Hennet.
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No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

(Aaron E. Carroll, The Upshot, New York Times) If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day.
It’s just not true. There is no science behind it.
And yet every summer we are inundated with news media reports warning that dehydration is dangerous and also ubiquitous…
Many people believe that the source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters of water a day. But they ignored the sentence that followed closely behind. It read, “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”…
Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits.
Community: However, see below.
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Glass of Water Before Each Meal Could Help in Weight Reduction

(University of Birmingham) Researchers from the University of Birmingham have shown that drinking 500ml of water at half an hour before eating main meals may help obese adults to lose weight. They believe that the simple intervention could be hugely beneficial, and be easily promoted by healthcare professionals and through public health campaigns.
Obese adult participants were recruited from general practices and monitored over a 12 week period.
Each of the participants, all adults with obesity, were given a weight management consultation, where they were advised on how to adapt their lifestyle and improve their diet and levels of physical activity. 41 of those recruited were asked to preload with water, and 43 were advised to imagine that they had a full stomach before eating.
Those in the group who were instructed to 'preload' with water lost, on average, 1.3kg (2.87lbs) more than those in the control group.
Community: Still, that’s a lot of water. 500 ml is almost 17 ounces. That’s two big glasses of water before each meal.
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Some Really Good Ideas That May Improve Safety and Health

(Scientific American) DJI, a company based in Shenzhen, China, makes the world's most popular small drones, with its Phantom models costing about $1,000 apiece. Since 2014, DJI has pushed out drone firmware updates to clearly show operators the restricted airspaces around airports, Washington, D.C., or national borders. Operators who ignore the software warnings about restricted airspace and try flying forward will find their drones simply refusing to move. “It's like flying into an invisible wall,” DJI's Michael Perry says.
Community: Here’s why this firmware is important - U.S. Pilots Have Had Nearly 700 Close Calls With Drones.
(Scientific American) Adding aerosols to the atmosphere to reflect more sunlight might slow the loss of glaciers but not stop it.
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Cancer sniffing dogs to aid British doctors

(Reuters) They're known as man's best friend; but dogs could soon also be their greatest ally in the fight against prostate cancer. Britain's National Health Service recently approved a trial for dogs capable of sniffing out prostate cancer in the hope that it could show up inaccuracies in the current PSA (prostate specific antigen) test.
It's long been known that a dog's remarkable sense of smell can detect minute odors known to be associated with many cancers which are understood to be linked to volatile organic compounds produced by malignant cells.
"Dogs have got this fantastic sense of smell; three-hundred million sensory receptors, us humans have five million. So they're very, very good at finding minute odors. What we now know is that cancer cells that are dividing differently have different volatile organic compounds -- smelly compounds -- that are associated with the cells. And dogs with their incredible sense of small can find these in things like breath and urine," said Dr. Claire Guest who co-founded charity Medical Detection Dogs in 2008 to train specialist dogs to detect human diseases.
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Growth Hormone Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis Fractures in Older Women

(The Endocrine Society) For years after it was administered, growth hormone continued to reduce the risk of fractures and helped maintain bone density in postmenopausal women who had osteoporosis, according to a new study…
A decade after the study began, the women who received the larger growth hormone dose still had higher bone mineral density levels than the participants who received the lower dose or the placebo. The rate of fractures in the treated women who had osteoporosis declined by 50 percent during the 10-year-long study. More than half of the participants had fractured bones prior to the start of the study. In contrast, the rate of fractures rose four-fold in the control group as some of those women were diagnosed with osteoporosis.
"The findings indicate the beneficial effects of growth hormone remained long after the treatment ceased," [said one of the study's authors, Emily Krantz, MD, of Södra Älvsborgs Hospital in Borås, Sweden].
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Dental device promises pain-free tooth repair

(Reuters) [A] new technology developed by British scientists could dramatically reduce the need for unpleasant dental drilling.
Based in the Scottish city of Perth, Reminova say their patented technology can painlessly repair teeth by 'supercharging' the remineralization of tooth enamel…
Remineralization is a natural process where minerals present in saliva and some foods enter the tooth enamel to make it stronger and more dense. But Reminova's prototype device can speed up this process to the same amount of time it would take to have a filling -- but painlessly, without injections and drilling…
A patient's tooth is first conditioned and cleansed to separate any decayed tissue or organic material that has built up in the lesion. Once clean, the tooth enamel is ready for the treatment. They've called this process Electrically Assisted Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER). It uses a tiny electrical current of a few micro Amps, that don't cause any physical sensation in the patient, to introduce natural minerals back into the clean lesion. The electrical field pushes the mineral ions into the cavity, triggering remineralization from the deepest part of the lesion.
Community: We’ve been told that teeth can’t be remineralized. But this process shows that they can. We have to wonder if this invention might reduce tooth loss considerably.
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Medicare ACOs Continue to Improve Quality of Care, Generate Shared Savings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [on Tuesday] issued 2014 quality and financial performance results showing that Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) continue to improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries, while generating financial savings.  As the number of Medicare beneficiaries served by ACOs continues to grow, these results suggest that ACOs are delivering higher quality care to more and more Medicare beneficiaries each year. 
“These results show that accountable care organizations as a group are on the path towards transforming how care is provided," said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “Many of these ACOs are demonstrating that they can deliver a higher level of coordinated care that leads to healthier people and smarter spending.”
ACOs are one way that the administration is working to provide Medicare beneficiaries with high-quality, person-centered care. Medicare ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who voluntarily come together to provide coordinated care, with the goal of giving Medicare beneficiaries – especially the chronically ill – the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. 
The results shared [on Tuesday] demonstrate significant improvements in the quality of care ACOs are offering to Medicare beneficiaries.
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Hot Peppers May Unlock a New Treatment for Obesity

(University of Adelaide) University of Adelaide researchers have discovered a high-fat diet may impair important receptors located in the stomach that signal fullness…
"The stomach stretches when it is full, which activates nerves in the stomach to tell the body that it has had enough food. We found that this activation is regulated through hot chilli pepper or TRPV1 receptors," says Associate Professor Amanda Page, … lead author on the paper…
Dr Stephen Kentish says these findings will inform further studies and the development of new therapies.
"It's exciting that we now know more about the TRPV1 receptor pathway and that the consumption of capsaicin may be able to prevent overeating through an action on nerves in the stomach."
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Eating 'on the Go' Could Lead to Weight Gain, New Research Finds

(University of Surrey) In a new study…, researchers from the University of Surrey have found dieters who eat 'on the go' may increase their food intake later in the day which could lead to weight gain and obesity. The findings from the study also showed that eating while walking around triggered more overeating compared to eating during other forms of distraction such as watching TV or having a conversation with a friend…
[Said lead author Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey:] " When we don't fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don't track or recognise the food that has just been consumed."
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Obesity Breakthrough: Metabolic Master Switch Prompts Fat Cells to Store or Burn Fat

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
But there may now be a new approach to prevent and even cure obesity, thanks to a study led by researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School… By analyzing the cellular circuitry underlying the strongest genetic association with obesity, the researchers have unveiled a new pathway that controls human metabolism by prompting our adipocytes, or fat cells, to store fat or burn it away…
"By manipulating this new pathway, we could switch between energy storage and energy dissipation programs at both the cellular and the organismal level, providing new hope for a cure against obesity," [said senior author Manolis Kellis].
The researchers are currently establishing collaborations in academia and industry to translate their findings into obesity therapeutics. They are also using their approach as a model to understand the circuitry of other disease-associated regions in the human genome.
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