This is the finding of an analysis of more than a quarter-million medical records of mostly white men in Sweden, research led by investigators at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center. The international team of study authors will present these results on May 9 at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Diego, Calif.
Older adults, who are Facebook’s fastest growing demographic, are joining the social network to stay connected and make new connections, just like college kids who joined the site decades ago, according to Penn State researchers.
“Earlier studies suggest a positive relationship between bonding and bridging social capital and Facebook use among college students,” said Eun Hwa Jung, a doctoral candidate in mass communications. “Our study extends this finding to senior citizens.”
According to the study, which appears in the March issue of Social Psychology Quarterly, individuals in their 60s who report giving advice to a wide variety of people — to family members, friends, neighbors, and strangers — see their lives as highly meaningful, while adults in that age group who dispense advice to fewer types of people are much less likely to report high life meaning.
“This association between advice giving and life meaning is not evident for other age groups,” said Markus H. Schafer, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and the lead author of the study. “Overall, we interpret these findings to suggest that the developmental demands of late midlife — particularly the desire to contribute to others’ welfare and the fear of feeling ‘stagnant’ — fit poorly with the social and demographic realties for this segment of the life course. Just when giving advice seems to be most important, opportunities for doing so seem to wane.”
The effect of aging on cognitive processes such as learning, memory and logical reasoning have so far been studied almost exclusively in people.
Using a series of touchscreen tests, Lisa Wallis and Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now studied these domains in pet dogs of varying ages. The study was conducted with 95 Border Collies ranging in age from five months to 13 years. The dogs regularly came to the Clever Dog Lab on the Vetmeduni Vienna campus accompanied by their owners to conduct the tests on a touch-sensitive monitor.
One of the greatest challenges associated with the growing numbers of aged adults is how to maintain a healthy aging mind. Taking up a new mental challenge such as digital photography or quilting may help maintain cognitive vitality, say researchers reporting in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.
Recent evidence suggests that engaging in enjoyable and enriching lifestyle activities may be associated with maintaining cognitive vitality. However, the underlying mechanism accounting for cognitive enhancement effects have been poorly understood.
While research has already established that B vitamin supplements can help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems, an international team have now found that having higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in your body could boost the B vitamins’ effect.
The team, from the Universities of Cape Town, Oslo, Oxford and the UAE, studied more than 250 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Oxford. MCI is when brain function is below what is normally expected for a person’s age but is not significant enough to interfere with daily life. While it is not as serious as dementia, if untreated it often progresses to become dementia.
A study of a million UK women, published in The Lancet, has shown that happiness itself has no direct effect on mortality, and that the widespread but mistaken belief that unhappiness and stress directly cause ill health came from studies that had simply confused cause and effect.
Life-threatening poor health can cause unhappiness, and for this reason unhappiness is associated with increased mortality. In addition, smokers tend to be unhappier than non-smokers. However, after taking account of previous ill health, smoking, and other lifestyle and socio-economic factors, the investigators found that unhappiness itself was no longer associated with increased mortality.
People who crave more social contact often develop behaviours and thinking styles that only serve to accentuate their isolation, such as turning to drink and becoming more sensitive to perceived slights and rejections. Less studied is the question of whether some people have personality traits that give them a buffer against these loneliness-related risks. A new study published in the Journal of Health Psychology finds a promising candidate that appears to fit this description – authenticity, or being true to yourself.
Researchers have long known the dangers of loneliness, but the cellular mechanisms by which loneliness causes adverse health outcomes have not been well understood. Now a team of researchers, including UChicago psychologist and leading loneliness expert John Cacioppo, has released a study shedding new light on how loneliness triggers physiological responses that can ultimately make us sick.
Health care providers must have detailed discussions with their older adult patients to better determine their true life expectancy, as older adults do not accurately predict their own prognosis, a key factor in making decisions about future health interventions, according to researchers at UC San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Their research letter appears online in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“We thought older people would have a good sense of how long they had to live and have better estimates than a prognostic calculator that is based on things like age, gender and chronic diseases,” said lead author Rafael Romo, PhD, RN, doctoral graduate in the UCSF School of Nursing and VA Quality Scholars Nurse Fellow at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, “but we were wrong.”