Bees, termites, and ants can teach us a lot about cooperation, communication, and the skills that keep societies together. But these so-called social insects may also hold secrets that could reshape our understanding of human aging. Many social insects exhibit surprising aging characteristics that cause their life spans to shift depending on their roles.
Following the death of a queen Indian jumping ant, for example, workers fight for the right to transform into an egg-laying ant. Much is at stake: the life expectancy of an egg-layer is five times longer than that of a worker’s. Though fruit flies, mice, and nematodes currently dominate aging research, some scientists say social insects’ aging behaviors could help dissect aging mechanisms in humans. This video will take you deep into the catacombs—er, honeycombs—of insect aging.
The first event in our Lab Notes online series features two researchers from our South Coast Network Centre talking about early brain changes in Alzheimer’s. Dr Karen Marshall shares her work studying how waste disposal and recycling systems in nerve cells cause damage in Alzheimer’s disease, and whether there could be ways to rescue cells from this. Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero speaks about her research into brain cell connections and how they are affected in Alzheimer’s. The event is chaired by Dr Katy Stubbs from Alzheimer’s Research UK, and also features a Q&A session.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of visual impairment in people over 65 and can lead to blindness. One in three people will eventually suffer some degree of macular degeneration, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels under the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. We treat both the more common “dry” as well as the more dangerous “wet” forms of macular degeneration. While there is currently no cure for this disease, we offer the latest treatments to reduce the risk of vision loss and blindness. These include anti-VEGF drugs—which attack proteins that create the abnormal blood vessels that cause macular degeneration—and photodynamic therapy, in which patients ingest medication that is then activated with a laser.
Planning to save for retirement might not be a priority. Luckily, you’ll have some help from Social Security. Different salaries can drastically raise or lower your Social Security benefits. Here’s how much you can expect, based on six different salaries. The average Social Security check in 2020 is $1,503. Figuring out how much you can expect every month when you retire depends on a few criteria. The size of your payment will be based on income from your working years, the year you were born and the age when you decide to start receiving benefits. Luckily, CNBC did the math for a wide range of salaries, and we can estimate your future benefits if you make between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. Remember: Social Security was not envisioned as your sole source of money for retirement, and the totals are always changing. Watch this video for a breakdown of how much you will get and how your monthly benefit will be calculated based on multiple different salaries.
Does your grandparent hold the secret to a happier New Year? Because Americans over 80 years old report feeling happier than any other age group, we asked them to share their wisdom as 2021 begins during a time of challenge and uncertainty. These elders include cannabis comedian Tommy Chong, a psychologist, a transgender burlesque performer, and a 90-year-old nudist who lets it all hang out. Self-Evident: A PBS American Portrait Miniseries seeks to answer the question: what does it really mean to be an American today? Join our hosts — Dr. Ali Mattu, a licensed therapist and clinical psychologist and YouTuber behind “The Psych Show,” as well as Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., historian and the writer/creator of PBS’s “The Origin of Everything” — as they explore the lives of real Americans, living during this unprecedented moment in time.
Viggo Mortensen adds to his résumé of actor, poet, painter, and musician, with the release of FALLING, his 2020 directorial debut about the legacy of dementia and family bonds. In this exclusive interview with NOWNESS creative director Bunny Kinney, Mortensen speaks about the personal experiences that inspired his latest film.
FALLING is a powerful drama about a father and son relationship on the brink of collapse. Hollywood giant Lance Henriksen (Alien, The Terminator) plays Willis, a homophobic farmer who is forced to live with his gay son. Willis has early-stage dementia, which makes running the farm on his own increasingly difficult. So John (Viggo Mortensen) brings him to stay at his California home so that he and his sister Sarah (Laura Linney) might help him find a place closer to the family. Unfortunately, their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’ adamant refusal to change his way of life.
Viggo Mortensen is one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. After winning hearts and minds with his valiant portrayal of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he has received numerous Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his performances in Green Book, Captain Fantastic, and Eastern Promises, to name a few. Shot and edited by Antonio Rui Ribeiro Produced by Modern Films
Since 2010, Social Security’s cash flow has been negative, meaning that the agency does not collect enough money through taxes to cover what it is paying out. Even though there was still this vast trust fund behind Social Security, they started tapping that fund’s interest.
Starting in 2021, they will have to dip into the trust fund itself to cover those benefit payments, and even that pool of cash has an expiration date. Trustees of the fund expect that by 2035 it will not be enough to cover full benefit payments. Due to COVID-19, that date may come years sooner than expected, which has some retirees seriously worried about their future.
If you’re enrolled only in original Medicare with a Medigap supplemental plan, and don’t use a drug plan, there’s no need to re-evaluate your coverage, experts say. But Part D drug plans should be reviewed annually. The same applies to Advantage plans, which often wrap in prescription coverage and can make changes to their rosters of in-network health care providers.
“The amount of information that consumers need to grasp is dizzying, and it turns them off from doing a search,” Mr. Riccardi said. “They feel paralyzed about making a choice, and some just don’t think there is a more affordable plan out there for them.”
Is there another way?
When creation of the prescription drug benefit was being debated, progressive Medicare advocates fought to expand the existing program to include drug coverage, funded by a standard premium, similar to the structure of Part B. The standard Part B premium this year is $144.60; the only exceptions to that are high-income enrollees, who pay special income-related surcharges, and very low-income enrollees, who are eligible for special subsidies to help them meet Medicare costs.
“Given the enormous Medicare population that could be negotiated for, I think most drugs could be offered through a standard Medicare plan,” said Judith A. Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
“Instead, we have this very fragmented system that assumes very savvy, active consumers will somehow shop among dozens of plan options to see what drugs are available and at what cost with all the myriad co-pays and cost-sharing options,” she added.
Advocates like Ms. Stein also urged controlling program costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies — something the legislation that created Part D forbids.