Category Archives: Aging

Excerpts: Chip Walter On The “Search For The Aging Cure” (“Immortality, Inc.”)

From a LitHub online article by Chip Walter, 69:

Immortality Inc Chip Walter bookAnd what if older neurons were replaced wholesale with new stem cells? They might scramble different sectors of the brain by destroying the new connections between the originals. Fiddle with those, and who knew what mayhem might follow? Memories, learning, and other cerebral functions that the brain had grown accustomed to might simply vanish. On the other hand, in the case of a disease like Alzheimer’s, maybe new memories would be better than no memories at all.

Robert Hariri’s views on human health began to take an unusual turn a little more than 25 years ago, when he was working as a neurosurgeon and trauma doctor at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Day after day, he watched patients come into the emergency room with severe brain injuries, and it was a painful thing to witness.

He never forgot the case of a woman who had arrived after a senseless automobile accident. She was young, and the injury was bad. Every time he spoke with the family, the big questions they asked were: “How will she be? Will she come back? Could she be a mother to her children again?” It broke his heart.

Read more

William J. (Chip) Walter Jr. (born May 23, 1951) is an author, journalist, National Geographic Fellow, educator, filmmaker and former CNN bureau chief. He has written five mainstream science books between 1991 and 2019. Walter was one of the original employees at Cable News Network when it went on the air June 1, 1980 and later became its youngest bureau chief when he created CNN’s first Southeast Bureau in 1981 before heading up the network’s San Francisco Bureau in 1982. He has written and produced several PBS science documentaries, served as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University in three different departments, worked with UNICEF on the issue of childhood trauma, spoken at Harvard, Xerox PARC, Carnegie Mellon University and the Chautauqua Institution. One of his three original screenplays was produced and released under the title Sunset Grill in 1993 starring Peter Weller, Lori Singer and Stacy Keach. In 2015 his feature story for National Geographic Magazine explored the origins of human art and symbolic thinking.

From Wikipedia

Video Profiles: 69-Year Old Singer Huey Lewis Talks About Hearing Loss (CBS)

Huey Lewis and the News are in the mood to celebrate, joking about their age as they prepare for the release of what is almost certainly their last album, titled “Weather.” At 69, Lewis, who has performed in bands for most of his life, had no intention of slowing down, but his diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease – a hearing disorder which has affected his voice – has made the decision for him. John Blackstone reports.

Boomers & Technology: “2020 Tech And The 50+ Survey” (AARP – Dec 2019)

Tech ownership among older adults is growing with no signs of slowing down.

2020 Tech and The 50+ Survey AARP Wearable• For many devices, adoption among adults ages 50 and older is comparable to younger generations. Adults ages 50
and older are adopting smartphones, wearables, home assistants/smart speakers, and smart home technology at
nearly the same rate as adults ages 18–49.
• Younger adults have abandoned tablets, but older adults are adopting tablets at an increasing rate: More than half
(52%) of adults ages 50 and older own a tablet.
• Once adopted, usage of smartphones, wearables, tablets, home assistants/smart speakers, and smart home
technology is high with most owners using their technology daily.
While older adults are highly engaged with their devices, many are not using the technology to its full potential.
• Adults ages 50 and older are using smartphones and tablets to maintain social connections, find information, and for
entertainment, but only a few are using their device to automate their home or conduct transactions.
• Engaging in social media is one of the most common uses of a tech device (e.g., computer, tablet, or smartphone).
• Though 49% claim to own a smart TV, only 42% are using streaming or online options to watch shows.
• Nearly half (46%) of all smart home assistant/smart speaker owners do not use their device daily.

Read Report

Medical Care: “Restoring Hearing Loss – The Patient Experience” (Penn ENT)

At Penn Medicine ENT, we offer patients the most advanced developments in hearing technology. Our multidisciplinary approach to medicine ensures that each patient path is tailored to the patient’s specific needs.

  • When they come to our center, patients typically begin by having a diagnostic assessment.
  • Often, those patients are also seeing an ear, nose and throat physician after they have their hearing evaluation.
  • Together, the team can then make the appropriate recommendation of what should come next.

In terms of hearing devices, we offer access to almost every hearing aid manufacturer available, as well as advanced implantable technology. This includes the auditory brain stem implant, which Penn Medicine is the first in the region to offer.

Hearing is currently the only sense that we can completely restore. We’re proud to be able to offer our patients everything available to help restore their communication with family and friends.

Studies: Depression Diagnosis Increases Risk Of Dementia For Decades

From a PLOS Medicine online study:

Depression is associated with increased odds of dementia, even more than 20 years after diagnosis of depression, and the association remains after adjustment for familial factors. Further research is needed to investigate whether successful prevention and treatment of depression decrease the risk of dementia.

The risk of dementia is increased for decades after a diagnosis of depression, where those diagnosed with especially severe depressions are at increased risk.

Risk of Dementia increased after diagnosis of Depression chart 2020

Dementia is common among the elderly, causing severe individual suffering as well as societal strain. As the proportion of people aged 65 years and above is rapidly increasing in the world population, the number of individuals with dementia is expected to double within 20 years, and this condition was estimated to have a worldwide cost of US$604 billion in 2010. Effective treatments for dementia remain scarce; however, a preventive approach may be possible through the identification of high-risk individuals and potentially modifiable risk factors.

Read full study

Heathcare Podcasts: An Inside Look At Benefits & Costs Of Hospice (NPR)

NPR logoAccording to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, seven in 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home. And that’s the direction the health care system is moving, too, hoping to avoid unnecessary and expensive treatment at the end of life.

Hospice allows a patient deemed to have fewer than six months to live to change the focus of their medical care — from the goal of curing disease to a new goal of using treatments and medicines to maintain comfort and quality of life. It is a form of palliative care, which also focuses on pain management, but can be provided while a patient continues to seek a cure or receive treatments to prolong life.

Website