Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by increased blood glucose levels. They affect almost half a billion people around the globe, and this number is projected to rise as we reach the middle of the century. In most individuals, blood glucose levels are kept within a healthy range by a hormone called insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas, but this fine-tuned regulation can go wrong in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In this animation, we lay out our current understanding of these diseases and explore active areas of research that aim to restore the body’s blood glucose control.
Although growing older comes with a number of major life changes, science can help inform the things we do in the here in and now to forestall the most serious features of the aging self, promoting healthspan and not just lifespan.
Build Muscle – Muscle mass is one the best predictors of health and longevity. Muscle tissue is known to release its own chemicals called myokines, which can have benefits that span cognition, immunity and anti-cancer activity. By performing regular, resistance-based exercise that prioritizes strength, we can delay the loss of bone density and risk of physical injuries.
Vitamin D – Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is in fact a critical hormone that helps maintain healthy bones, boost our immune system and improve our cardiovascular function. With age, the production of vitamin D in the skin can become less efficient, so if we don’t spend enough time outdoors, our risk of vitamin D deficiency may increase.
Neurodegenerative Diseases – One of the most unsettling aspects of aging is the potential for neurodegenerative disease. These conditions are increasingly prevalent in those with diabetes, suggesting that the brain’s blood flow and energy supply may be compromised. Research indicates that regular physical exercise, a healthy whole foods diet and staying intellectually active could at least slow the rate of decline.
Mindfulness – As we get older, major arteries can become thicker and less flexible, leading to increased blood pressure and undue strain on the heart. A regular mindfulness practice such as yoga or meditation has been shown to stem the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. By freeing us from this “fight-or-flight” state, this habit can improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Stay Social – As social animals, maintaining a strong sense of community and close personal relationships into old age are underestimated contributors to longevity. While social isolation in seniors can result in significant physical and mental decline, research suggests that close loved ones offer important emotional support and behavioral modifications that can overcome periods of high stress.
Metabolism – “My metabolism is slowing down!” That’s what we often hear, as the aging body becomes less effective at using energy, placing us at risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. By maintaining our muscle mass and reducing sugar consumption, we can support hormonal health, preserve our metabolism and keep our vitality into those advanced years. As scientists continue to find ways to extend our lives, paying attention to these keys to healthy aging can help increase the quality of those extra years.
Human physical activities differ significantly from other species. How, when and why did these capabilities evolve? What adaptations underlie them? And how did the evolution of human physical activity affect other key human characteristics that have advanced our species?
Herman Pontzer explores the evolution of human metabolism and its role in our evolution and health. From an evolutionary perspective, life is a game of turning energy into offspring. The strategies that species use to acquire energy, in the form of food, and allocate energy to the essential tasks of growth, maintenance, movement, and reproduction, are incredibly diverse and reflect the ecological pressures and opportunities encountered. There is a deep evolutionary history of the human metabolic strategy and our divergence from other apes.
Timeline: 00:00 – Start 01:38 – The Evolution of Human Metabolism
Almost 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide to date. But is it enough to wipe out Sars-CoV-2? Of course, those shots are not evenly spread across all continents. In terms of sheer numbers,
North America and Europe managed about 370 million shots each. South America with Covid-stricken countries like Brazil has a lot of catching up to do. Africa and its more than 1.3 billion people only received 34 million doses so far while Asia is storming ahead with more than 1 billion shots. But that doesn’t mean Asia is fully vaccinated. Far from it.
There are huge gaps, like in Vietnam, a country that has long been praised for its response to the pandemic. Now it is faced with new outbreaks and a new variant.
Microbiomes are complex microbial ecosystems, and amongst those found in and on human body, gut microbiome is the most complex. It performs important functions, and is increasingly recognized as a key element influencing long-life health. Specific nutritional components, such as prebiotics and probiotics, can be used to shape healthy gut microbiome. Nestlé Research has made significant contributions in this field for over 30 years.
Mayo Clinic Division of Preventive Cardiology will be preparing a series of recordings focusing on Cardiovascular Disease states. This is the Sleep Series and this particular one focuses on what is adequate sleep and does it benefit Cardiovascular Health.
A year into the coronavirus pandemic, many schools are only partially open for fear they could fuel the spread of the virus. Experts explain what the actual risks are for spreading Covid-19 in schools and how proper controls can change that equation. Illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal
Face masks have been part of our lives for a year now and a leading epidemiologist has predicted that we may need to wear face coverings for several years until we return to normality. Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England, said basic measures could be in place until other countries successfully roll out vaccines. So after a year of coronavirus, which ones are the best to wear? We took a look at each type of face mask available to find out.
The microbiota is a dynamic community that evolves through the lifetime of an individual, being influenced by multiple factors. Nutrition is essential in the process of establishing a healthy gut microbiome, with a key role of breastfeeding in early months, and important role of diverse diet to stimulate maturation of diverse gut microbiome.
Prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics are key tools to boost the development of an age-appropriate microbiota and its related benefits, like healthy immune development and a basis for a resilient microbiota throughout life.
Since the COVID pandemic began, one in three Americans has had reduced quality sleep. Correspondent Susan Spencer pulls back the covers on how pandemic stress is among the factors affecting people’s already-tortured relationship with shuteye. Spencer talks with Drew Ackerman, a lifelong chronic insomniac whose storytelling podcast, “Sleep With Me,” lulls listeners to slumberland; and with professors Sharon Bowman, Jennifer Martin and Tiffany Yip about the importance of sleep hygiene, and the effects of reduced sleep on chronic health impacts and productivity.