Tag Archives: Older Adults

Interview: 71-Year Old Model And Dietitian Maye Musk On Getting “More Fabulous” As She Ages

Excerpts from a WSJ. Magazine interview (Feb 24, 2020):

A Woman Makes A Plan Maye Musk bookWell, when you get older, you are more fabulous, actually. You go through a lot of hard times in your life… and then, at this stage you get out of those bad situations quicker and they are less painful. You figure them out, and you move on. And I’m having the best time ever. I’m 71 now, it’s the best time ever, and I think at 81 it will be great. My mom [had] her best times when she was in her 90s. So I look forward to that.

A model since age 15, Maye Musk was in her 60s when her life took a turn for the fabulous. In her seventh decade, the former dietitian appeared in a Beyoncé music video, signed a contract with top modeling agency IMG and became a CoverGirl spokesperson, setting a record as their oldest yet. At the end of last year, Musk, now 71, added memoirist to her resume. Her book, A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty and Success, chronicles her career and experience raising her children—SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon, restaurateur and philanthropist Kimbal and filmmaker Tosca—as a single mother who fled a turbulent marriage.

Born in Canada, raised in South Africa and now residing in L.A., Musk spoke to WSJ. about what she eats for breakfast, how she stays on top of emails and why she doesn’t miss hustling all the time.

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Study: “Med-Diet” Alters Gut Microbiota, Lowers Frailty & Inflammation, Improves Cognition (BMJ)

From BMJ Journal “Gut” study (February 17, 2020):

BMJ Journal GUT Februrary 2020We observed that increased adherence to the MedDiet modulates specific components of the gut microbiota that were associated with a reduction in risk of frailty, improved cognitive function and reduced inflammatory status.

Objective Ageing is accompanied by deterioration of multiple bodily functions and inflammation, which collectively contribute to frailty. We and others have shown that frailty co-varies with alterations in the gut microbiota in a manner accelerated by consumption of a restricted diversity diet. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is associated with health. In the NU-AGE project, we investigated if a 1-year MedDiet intervention could alter the gut microbiota and reduce frailty.

Design We profiled the gut microbiota in 612 non-frail or pre-frail subjects across five European countries (UK, France, Netherlands, Italy and Poland) before and after the administration of a 12-month long MedDiet intervention tailored to elderly subjects (NU-AGE diet).

Results Adherence to the diet was associated with specific microbiome alterations. Taxa enriched by adherence to the diet were positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function, and negatively associated with inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-17. Analysis of the inferred microbial metabolite profiles indicated that the diet-modulated microbiome change was associated with an increase in short/branch chained fatty acid production and lower production of secondary bile acids, p-cresols, ethanol and carbon dioxide. Microbiome ecosystem network analysis showed that the bacterial taxa that responded positively to the MedDiet intervention occupy keystone interaction positions, whereas frailty-associated taxa are peripheral in the networks.

Conclusion Collectively, our findings support the feasibility of improving the habitual diet to modulate the gut microbiota which in turn has the potential to promote healthier ageing.

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New Books On Ageing: “The Changing Mind” By Daniel Levitin (February 2020)

The Changing Mind A Neuroscientist's Guide To Ageing Well Daniel Levitin Feb 2020Challenging widely held assumptions about the diminishing abilities of an ageing brain, leading neuroscientist Daniel Levitin argues that we should view getting older as a beneficial experience rather than a form of cognitive entropy. Persuasively argued and consistently surprising, The Changing Mind will alter your perception of the relationship between age and intellect.

We have long been encouraged to think of old age as synonymous with deterioration. Yet, recent studies show that our decision-making skills improve as we age and our happiness levels peak in our eighties. What really happens to our brains as we get older?

More of us are living into our eighties than ever before. In The Changing Mind, neuroscientist, psychologist and internationally-bestselling author Daniel Levitin invites us to dramatically shift our understanding of growing older, demonstrating its many cognitive benefits. He draws on cutting-edge research to challenge common and flawed beliefs, including assumptions around memory loss and the focus on lifespan instead of ‘healthspan’.

Levitin reveals the evolving power of the human brain from infancy to late adulthood. Distilling the findings from over 4000 papers, he explains the importance of personality traits, lifestyle, memory and community on ageing, offering actionable tips that we can all start now, at any age.

Featuring compelling insights from individuals who have thrived far beyond the conventional age of retirement, this book offers realistic guidelines and practical cognition-enhancing tricks for everyone to follow during every decade of their life. This is a radical exploration of what we all can learn from those who age joyously.

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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.

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Studies: Alzheimer’s Disease Linked To Poor Sleep In Older Adults

From a MedPageToday online article:

Science Translational Medicine“Amyloid is important in initiating disease, but the actual damage in the brain is probably due to the accumulation of tau,” Holtzman told MedPage Today. “Normally, tau protein is inside cells, but there is more and more evidence suggesting that its spread to different parts of the brain is responsible for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Two studies in January explored how sleep might be associated with Alzheimer’s tau pathology. The first, led by Brendan Lucey, MD, and David Holtzman, MD, both of Washington University in St. Louis, found that older adults who had less slow-wave sleep had higher levels of brain tau.

The findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggested that poor quality sleep in late life may signal deteriorating brain health.

Sleep patterns predicted amyloid and tau burden, reported Matthew Walker, PhD, of the University of California Berkeley, and co-authors, in June.

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Video Interviews: Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin On Aging Well (PBS)

As a neuroscientist, professor emeritus of psychology, musician and best-selling author, Daniel Levitin has extensively studied the brain and its impact on aging. His latest book, “Successful Aging,” explores the questions: what happens in the brain as we age and what are the keys to aging well? NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker recently spoke to Levitin to learn more.

Daniel Levitin website

PBS Newshour episode website