Health and Aging

Healthy Aging and Longevity

NIH initiative tests in-home technology to help older adults age in place

Can seniors remain independent longer? A new initiative is advancing technologies that track health status and activities to help seniors age in place.

Calorie restriction improves health, survival in rhesus monkeys

Studies show that most short-lived species, such as yeast cells, benefit from calorie-restricted diets. Could the same be true for species that live longer? Researchers in two parallel studies—one conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the other by the University of Wisconsin—explored the life-prolonging and health effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rhesus monkeys but arrived at differing results.

NIH-commissioned report highlights disability among older population

Almost 16 million Americans aged 65 and older report having at least one disability, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF, 1.5M), commissioned and funded by the NIA. This is the first Census report on disabilities among older people and looks at disability status by age, sex, marital status, education, and poverty status.

Loss of the sense of smell may predict mortality risk among older people

Frailty and dementia often signal increased risk for mortality among older people. But can the loss of olfaction—the sense of smell—also be a significant indicator of mortality risk? An NIH-supported study involving thousands of older people showed those who could no longer detect or distinguish odors were four times more likely to die within five years than those with normal olfaction. The findings are the first to indicate the importance of olfaction in mortality risk for older adults.

NIHSeniorHealth.gov offers info on quitting smoking for older adults

The National Institutes of Health has released a new Web resource to help older adults stop smoking. Quitting Smoking for Older Adults, a new topic from NIHSeniorHealth, offers videos, worksheets, interactive features, strategies, quizzes, and more for older smokers who want to or are thinking of quitting.

Structured physical activity program can help maintain mobility in vulnerable older people

A carefully structured, moderate physical activity program can reduce risk of losing the ability to walk without assistance, perhaps the single most important factor in whether vulnerable older people can maintain their independence, a study has found.

Older people who lose their mobility have higher rates of disease, disability, and death. A substantial body of research has shown the benefits of regular physical activity for a variety of populations and health conditions. But none has identified a specific intervention to prevent mobility disability.

Resveratrol does not affect health, longevity in population study

Resveratrol, a compound in red wine, grapes, and nuts, has been the focus of many studies for its effects on aging and disease. Researchers have found it to improve the health (and in some cases, longevity) of animals, including mice and nonhuman primates. However, in a study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine on May 12, 2014, researchers report that dietary resveratrol did not provide such effects in a group of community-dwelling, older people in Italy.

Geroscience recommendations, summaries available

Scientists suggest more research into link between aging, chronic disease

Longevity gene may boost brain power

Scientists showed that people who have a variant of a longevity gene, called KLOTHO, have improved brain skills such as thinking, learning and memory regardless of their age, sex, or whether they have a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Increasing KLOTHO gene levels in mice made them smarter, possibly by increasing the strength of connections between nerve cells in the brain. The study was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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