Biomarkers are measurable indicators of what’s happening in your body. They can be found in blood, other body fluids, organs, and tissues, and can be used to track healthy processes, disease progression, or even responses to a medication. Biomarkers are an important part of dementia research.
For many older adults, a good night’s rest is elusive. The implications of chronically poor sleep can be far-reaching and include a decline in cognitive functioning and detrimental effects on health and general well-being. Fortunately, relief may be in sight.
A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that neurons in the lateral hypothalamus, a brain region, play a pivotal role in sleep loss in old mice. More specifically, the arousal-promoting hypocretin neurons become hyperexcitable, driving sleep interruptions.
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Luis de Lecea, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Medicine. He is the study’s senior author and hopes the finding could pave the way to new drug treatments for age-related sleep problems in humans.
Shi-Bin Li, PhD, is an instructor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department at Stanford Medicine. He is also a basic life research scientist in the de Lecea lab, and is the lead author of the study.
The promise of a new diet that can add as much as a decade to your life is certainly tempting – and might well be proven to work – but for now should be swallowed with a pinch of salt
The routine mammograms women receive to check for breast cancer may also offer clues to their risk for heart disease, new research suggests.
White spots or lines visible on mammograms indicate a buildup of calcium in breast arteries. This breast arterial calcification is different from coronary artery calcification, which is known to be a marker for higher cardiovascular risk. For the study, researchers followed 5,059 postmenopausal women (ages 60 to 79) for six and a half years. They found that those with breast arterial calcification were 51% more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those without calcification. The study was published March 15, 2022, in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Fiber is known for keeping your digestive system healthy and lowering cholesterol levels. Now, study findings suggest it also may protect the brain from dementia.
The study involved approximately 3,700 healthy adults, ages 40 to 64, who completed routine dietary surveys for 16 years. Researchers then monitored the participants for two decades to see which ones developed dementia. The study revealed that people who consumed the most daily fiber had the lowest rates of dementia. The reverse also was true — those who ate the least fiber had the highest rates. Specifically, the low-risk group consumed an average of 20 grams daily, while those with the highest risk averaged only 8 grams. (The USDA recommends that men over age 50 eat 30 grams of fiber daily.)
Can the aging process be reversed – or even halted, altogether? If we manage to decode this final mystery of our human biology, we might soon be able to eradicate age-related illnesses like cancer, dementia and heart problems. The race to invent the miracle pill is well underway.
Today, international researchers are getting astonishingly close to realizing humanity’s dream of immortality. The hunt for immortality gained traction with the discovery of Costa Rica’s so-called “Blue Zone,” by Luis Rosero-Bixby. In the “Blue Zone,” on the Nicoya Peninsular, he found a remarkable number of centenarians.
Here, male life expectancy is the highest in the world. Their healthy lifestyle is one factor, but the promise of longevity is probably also because their telomeres – sections of DNA found at the end of chromosomes – are longer than those of the average person. It’s a field of research currently being explored by Maria Blasco in Madrid.
But this is just one of many possible factors influencing the process of aging. Senescent cells may also play a key role. Also known as “zombie cells”, these attack our body in old age and flood it with alarm signals until, at some point, we collapse under their weight. That’s a theory proposed by another researcher in Spain, Manuel Serrano. A billion-dollar industry is already knocking impatiently at the lab doors.
The first to market the miracle pill is guaranteed incredible wealth. That’s why investors are sponsoring young bio-startups in Hong Kong. Keen not be left out, US Big Tech is vying for the world’s best scientists. Alex Zhavoronkov has secured a slice of that pie, with a cash injection of more than 250 million dollars for his company’s work on aging research. Whereas some pioneers’ visions burst like bubbles, others rush to get other, rather more dubious products onto the market. But their efficacy is now measurable.
The epigenetic clock devised by Steve Horvath can measure our biological age, regardless of our actual age in years. With his research on the thymus gland, California’s Greg Fahy managed to not only decelerate the aging process, but reverse it. His initial study on humans showed that a particular drug cocktail took an average two-and-a-half years off their age.
Young biohackers like Nina Khera from Boston want everyone to benefit from this research. Together with friends, she’s working on the “epigenetic clock for all”. But while we’re busy trying to counter the aging process and all the illnesses it entails, fundamental questions arise: Should we be messing with nature like this? Are we about to overwhelm the planet with more and more people? Criminal biologist Mark Benecke in Cologne says that these questions are coming far too late.
Born to Hollywood royalty, the actress and model Candice Bergen found her greatest talent in comedy, as the Oscar-nominated star of “Starting Over” and a five-time Emmy-winner for “Murphy Brown.” Candice Bergen talked with “Sunday Morning” anchor Jane Pauley about finding new wellsprings of confidence at age 75, as well as the privilege of being a doting grandmother.