The global population is aging, and as the population ages, high-risk alcohol and other drug use, particularly cannabis and prescription medications, is growing among older adults (OA). OA, defined here as 50 years of age and older, have a number of unique vulnerabilities to drug and alcohol use due to both biological as well as psychosocial factors compared to younger adults. Understanding the wide spectrum of these vulnerabilities is important to assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. Specific techniques, assessment tools, and interventions known to be effective in OA are reviewed.
Posted: December 6, 2019, 8:52 am
Posted: December 4, 2019, 8:59 am
Loss of regenerative capacity is a normal part of aging. However, some organisms, such as the Mexican axolotl, retain striking regenerative capacity throughout their lives. Moreover, the development of age-related diseases is rare in this organism. In this review, we will explore how axolotls are used as a model system to study regenerative processes, the exciting new technological advancements now available for this model, and how we can apply the lessons we learn from studying regeneration in the axolotl to understand, and potentially treat, age-related decline in humans.
Posted: November 28, 2019, 8:32 am
As populations age globally, the health of older adults is looming larger on the agendas of public health bodies. In particular, the priority is to ensure that older adults remain healthy, independent, and engaged in their communities. In other words, ensuring that increasing life spans are matched by increasing “health spans,” meaning years spent in good health. Chronic conditions such as cancer or respiratory and cardiovascular diseases account for the bulk of the disease burden in older adults, and the consensus is that these can best be tackled by effective primary prevention. However, given the diverse nature of older populations, whose prior health experiences can be complicated by multi-morbidity and poly-pharmacy, effective primary prevention can be challenging. One approach that is gaining momentum is what is called “precision” or P4 medicine. The acronym stands for “predictive, personalized, preventive, participatory” medicine, and is based on the premise that preventing disease is better than treating it. However, effective prevention requires the ability to predict disease risk for a given patient, the tailoring of treatment to their circumstances, and their consent for or participation in the offered treatment. A P4 approach may seem counter-intuitive, given that vaccination is generally considered a public health intervention. However, in this article, we discuss the application of P4 medicine as a complement to planning the vaccination of older individuals, with a special focus on the important role that vaccine-preventable infections play in the burden of non-communicable disease.
Posted: November 26, 2019, 1:56 pm
Posted: October 30, 2019, 7:26 am
Posted: October 11, 2019, 8:45 am
Background: Studies show that regular moderate to vigorous physical activity is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and premature death, but few studies have examined associations of light-intensity physical activity (LPA) and mortality, especially among older adults. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the association of LPA with the risks of death from all causes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases among older adults in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort (CPS-II NC). Methods: Analyses included 123,232 participants in CPS-II NC, among whom 46,829 died during follow-up (1993–2014). Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for self-reported leisure time LPA associated with mortality. Results: Engaging in little or no LPA (#x3c;3 metabolic equivalent [MET]-h/week) was associated with a 16% higher risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.16, 95% CI 1.12–1.20) compared to engaging in some LPA (3 to #x3c;9 MET-h/week) after adjusting for moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, there was no evidence of a dose-response relationship. A statistically significant interaction with age suggested that more LPA was associated with a lower risk of respiratory disease mortality only among participants aged ≥70 years (21+ vs. 3 to #x3c;9 MET-h/week, HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.66–0.91; pint = 0.003). Conclusions: In this prospective study of older adults, accumulating little/no leisure time LPA was associated with a higher risk of mortality. It is of substantial public health value to demonstrate the potential benefits of engaging in any activity, even if light in intensity, among older adults given the aging US population.
Posted: October 10, 2019, 8:13 am
Aging results for the immune system in a departure from the optimal homeostatic state seen in young organisms. This divergence regrettably contributes to a higher frequency of compromised responses to infections and inefficient classical vaccination in aged populations. In B cells, the cornerstone of humoral immunity, the development and distribution of the various mature B cell subsets are impacted by aging in both humans and mice. In addition, aged mature B cells demonstrate limited capacity to mount efficient antibody responses. An expected culprit for the decline in effective immunity is the rise of the systemic levels of pro-inflammatory molecules during aging, establishing a chronic low-grade inflammation. Indeed, numerous alterations affecting directly or indirectly B cells in old people and mice are reminiscent of various effects of acute inflammation on this cell type in young adults. The present mini-review will highlight the possible adverse contributions of the persistent low-level inflammation observed in susceptible older organisms to the inadequate B-cell physiology.
Posted: September 25, 2019, 7:41 am
Background: Reduced engagement with habitual activity (HA) is associated with greater risk and progression of cognitive decline and falls in older adults and people with dementia. Understanding external and intrinsic factors that affect HA may provide novel targets for non-pharmacologic interventions. Objective: This study primarily aims to identify factors that influence HA in normal ageing and cognitive impairment, such as cognitive and motor problems and disease subtype. Methods: 108 older adults participated in this study; 36 with cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 30 with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), 16 with Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), and 26 controls. A tri-axial accelerometer recorded continuous data of volume, variability, and pattern of HA over 7 days. Participants undertook a battery of cognitive and neuropsychological assessments. Results: One-way analysis of variance controlling for age and gender shows that people with DLB and PDD engage less with HA than controls (p ≤ 0.01), but there were no significant differences between AD and controls (p ≥ 0.01). Multivariate analysis demonstrated motor disease and impairments in activities of daily living (ADLs) independently explained 10–26% of volume, variability, and pattern of HA in people with cognitive impairment. Conclusion: People with cognitive impairment have reduced HA engagement compared to controls. Motor disease and impairments in ADLs most strongly contribute to these findings and may be important to consider for disease management. Wearable technology can provide a personalised picture of an individual’s daily behaviours and may be a useful tool for person-centred care.
Posted: September 18, 2019, 1:37 pm
Background: Social isolation in older adults is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. In today’s digital society, if individuals perceive themselves to be socially isolated, they can take steps to interact with others on social media platforms. Research with younger adults indicates that social media use is positively linked to social isolation. However, less is known about social media use and social isolation in older adults. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the possible association between social isolation and degree of social media use in older adults. Methods: Using Internet sources, we recruited 213 participants (79.8% female; mean age 62.6 years, SD 8.3) who responded to an online survey focusing on living situation, depression, social isolation, and 2 measures of social media use: estimated daily time on social media and problematic social media use. Next, using binary logistic regression, we assessed associations between social isolation and social media use. Results: Our analyses failed to identify a relationship between perceived social isolation and estimated daily time on social media; however, higher problematic social media use was associated with higher perceived social isolation (OR 1.17). Discussion and Conclusion: Although no causal attribution can be made, our findings demonstrate an association between problematic social media use and perceived social isolation in older adults. Researchers conducting social media interventions in older adults should note this potential and monitor maladaptive use of these platforms. Overall, our results provide an important starting point for future studies on social media use and social isolation in older adults.
Posted: September 13, 2019, 9:07 am
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