Aging Gracefully

The theme for this week will be in honor of my family and in particular my grandma. My family has a history of Alzheimer’s and so I was excited to read researchers may have found a blood test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in living patients.

The scientists injected an antibody into the bloodstreams of mice, causing a sudden increase in the protein amyloid-beta, which is believed to form the neuron-destroying plaques in the brains of AD patients. The level of amyloid-beta in the bloodstream after the injection was an indication of the amount of plaque in the brain. Though the study shows promise, the scientists stressed that human studies would take about five years.

At the same time, progress has been made on this front, too, even if we don’t all exercise more:

Cholesterol Drugs Linked to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

People who use anti-cholesterol drugs called statins could have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a study conducted by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine. The study involved 2,581 people, 912 of whom had AD. After accounting for other factors, researchers discovered that the patients who used statin drugs were 79% less likely to have AD than those who did not use them were.

The study does not prove that the drugs actually reduced the risk of AD. It is also possible that people who are more likely to develop AD are less likely to need to use anti-cholesterol drugs. Only clinical trials following patients over time will be able to prove why the relationship exists between statin drugs and lower AD risk.

Following up on my theme of owning it back to the elderly and making sure everyone has the dignity to age gracefully here we go with a few more bits to act as food for thought. Share with anyone you know who may be interested!

aging gracefully

Testosterone Linked to Mental Ability in Older Men

Older men with higher levels of natural testosterone tend to perform better on tests of mental ability, according to a recent study by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

The study involved 310 men with an average age of 73. Researchers measured the levels of “bioavailable” testosterone—a type that is not bound to protein—in the men’s bloodstreams. The men then took three cognition tests, and researchers found that those with higher levels of bioavailable testosterone performed “significantly better” on the tests.

However, the study found no link between total testosterone and mental ability. The researchers stressed that the results do not prove that supplements or drugs that increase overall testosterone levels in the blood can improve the mental ability of older men.

Mild Depression in Elderly Women May Not Be So Bad

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, made an unusual discovery that appears to contradict the findings of numerous past studies of depression: mild depression may actually protect elderly women from dying prematurely.

The study involved more that 4,000 men and women over the age of 65. The subjects participated in interviews every three years from 1986 to 1997. The researchers screened them for symptoms of depression while also following their mortality rates.

According to the data, the female subjects who met the criteria for mild depression (with symptoms such as occasional sleeplessness or just feeling sad) died at a rate only 60% that of women who had either no signs of depression or signs of severe depression.

Mortality rates among the male subjects seemed to be unaffected by depression.

First post ever!

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