We spend more time sick now than a decade ago

Increased life expectancy in the United States has not been accompanied by more years of perfect health, reveals new research published in the December issue of the Journal of Gerontology.
Indeed, a 20-year-old today can expect to live one less he…

Seniors’ Memories Might Not Be So Bad, After All

Forget everything you’ve heard about forgetfulness. Researchers at North Carolina State University believe that age-related declines in memory and cognitive functioning may not be as pronounced as once believed. Dr. Thomas Hess, professor of psychology at NC State, says pessimistic notions of changes in mental abilities associated with growing older may in part be attributed to how early studies into cognition and aging were conducted. His findings were outlined in a recent edition of the Journal of Gerontology and chronicled in Science magazine. Hess’ research is part of a three-year study into stereotype threat, aging and memory as part of a $403,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging.

Study is first to confirm link between exercise and changes in brain

Three key areas of the brain adversely affected by aging show the greatest benefit when a person stays physically fit. The proof, scientists say, is visible in the brain scans of 55 volunteers over age 55. The idea that fitness improves cognition in the aging is not new. Animal studies have found that aerobic exercise boosts cellular and molecular components of the brain, and exercise has improved problem-solving and other cognitive abilities in older people. A new study in the February issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, however, is the first to show — using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging — anatomical differences in gray and white matter between physically fit and less fit aging humans.

Study: Aging boomers won’t boost health-care costs as much as predicted

Baby boomers will increase Medicare and other medical expenditures as they age but not nearly as much as some analysts have feared, according to a new study. The study, which appears in the January issue of the Journal of Gerontology, suggests that by living longer, many baby boomers will pass the ages at which the most “heroic,” and hence expensive, efforts are made to prolong their lives. Once members of that generation survive into their mid-80s or so and beyond, many medical procedures will become too risky for their older bodies and will be avoided in many cases.

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