Living 2.0

Insights for a Better Life

Month: October 2019 (page 1 of 3)

Number of Americans living with dementias will double over the next 20 years

Science Daily »

Milken Institute research estimates that by 2020, roughly 4.7 million women in the US will have dementia, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all people living with the condition.

The number of both women and men living with dementia is projected to nearly double by 2040, with the number of women projected to rise to 8.5 million, and the number of men expected to reach 4.5 million (up from 2.6 million in 2020), according to the report, which was released at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit in Washington, D.C.

Over the next 20 years, the economic burden of dementia will exceed $2 trillion, with women shouldering more than 80 percent of the cumulative costs.

Read more »

More » The Hill, AARP, WebMD

Too many bad nights of sleep could play a role in developing dementia

Katherine Ellen Foley, writing in Quartz »

“Sleep disorders and insufficient sleep contribute to Alzheimer’s decades before people develop the disorder,” Ruth Benca, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Irvine, said during a panel on brain health at the summit in Washington, DC.

Benca’s work has tracked the relationship between sleep—particularly the deep sleep known as rapid-eye movement (REM)—and its relationship to developing dementia later in life. In 2017, she and her team published work following healthy individuals with a variant of a gene called APOE that puts them at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They found that individuals who reported lower-quality sleep tended to have larger buildups of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, called amyloid and tau, in the fluid surrounding their brains than those who reported sleeping well. It seemed, they thought, that the process of sleep might be clearing some of these buildups.

Subsequent work has backed up that theory. The same year, another study found that among a cohort of adults over 60, those who took longer to enter REM sleep and dreamt less were at an elevated risk of developing dementia. Last year, researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland published the results of a study that found healthy participants who agreed to be woken up hourly for a night (yeesh) had higher levels of amyloid the following day. And earlier this year, a separate group from Washington University School of Medicine found that older adults who got less REM sleep were likely to have higher amounts of tau, too.

Read more »

Canadian adults receive failing grade on overall physical activity report card

ParticipACTION, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living, released the first-ever Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults yesterday, giving adults living in Canada a “D” for overall physical activity.

The report stated that even though 83 percent of adults think physical inactivity is a serious health issue, only 16 percent meet the national guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week.

The research shows that 29 percent of adults in Canada fall within the low active lifestyle category and adults 18 to 79 years old are sedentary for almost 10 hours per day.

The research also shows that sedentary time increases with age and adults 65 and older are spending the most time inactive. This is extra concerning as for the first time in Canadian history, adults over the age of 65 make up a larger percentage of our population than those aged 15 and under.

Physical inactivity can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, cognitive decline, slips and falls, and social isolation. We can’t stop aging, but we can age better with physical activity.

Fortunately, the Report Card is not all negative. 74 percent of adults in Canada say they have strong intentions to be physically active within the next six months. Perhaps they just require a little extra motivation.

As we age, natural changes such as slowed reaction times and decreased muscle and bone strength contribute to an increase in slips and falls. Engaging in activities like strength training or tai chi can help participants meet their weekly activity goals while improving balance, core strength, and stability.

Research shows that being physically active can also help protect against the onset of dementia and slow its progression. Regular brain stimulation along with physical activity can extend our years of strong brain health.

About 20 percent of adults in Canada experience some level of loneliness or isolation. Older adults are at higher risk due to a lack of mobility and shrinking social networks. Staying active, and making time to get active with others helps to build social connections and enhances community engagement.

Source: ParticipACTION

More » CBC

Trans fat found in some processed food is linked to dementia

Brittany A. Roston, writing in SlashGear »

Eating trans fats has been linked to a startling high increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, underscoring the importance of eliminating this ingredient from food products. The study comes from Kyushu University Hospital Fukuoka, where researchers tracked more than 1,600 older adults for a decade, finding that trans fats consumption was ‘significantly associated’ with developing dementia.

Trans fats is the term used to refer to artificial trans-unsaturated fatty acids (aka, partially hydrogenated oils), an ingredient that used to be considered generally safe for use in food. As a result of that designation, many food products — particularly fast food, junk food, and prepackaged foods — sold in the US contained trans fats as an ingredient.

Read more »

Side note » Canada’s ban on artificial trans fats came into effect in 2018.

High blood pressure meds work better taken at bedtime

Linda Carroll, writing for Reuters »

Spanish researchers who followed nearly 20,000 patients for a median of six years found that patients who took their medications at bedtime cut their overall risk of dying from cardiovascular causes during the study nearly in half compared with those taking the drugs in the morning, according to a report in European Heart Journal.

Read more »

Canadian election results open a window for a universal drug plan

Allison Martell, writing for Reuters »

The Liberals won the most seats in the election but fell short of a majority, which means Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will need the support of rivals like the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) to govern. Both the Liberals and NDP have promised a new national drug plan.

Canada is the only developed country with a universal health care system that does not cover prescription drugs for all, though a patchwork of provincial programs support the elderly and people with low income or very high drug costs. Most Canadians rely on employer-funded drug plans.

Steve Morgan, a University of British Columbia health economist and leading advocate for a universal drug plan, or pharmacare, said the election results created a “window of opportunity” to change the system.

Read more »

Are pets really good for us?

Jules Howard, writing in The Guardian »

The good news, at face value, is this: if you are looking for proof that having a pet improves your general health, the evidence abounds. For instance, there is plenty about how a bout of pet-stroking can lower your heart rate (and the pet’s), easing your body into a less stressed condition. This seems to apply across the spectrum, from dogs and cats to snakes and goats. And there’s more. There’s evidence from Germany and Australia (sample size: 10,000) that pet-owners make fewer visits to the doctor and, from China, that pet-owners sleep more soundly than those who aren’t. Just last week, the American Heart Association reported that the survival prospects for people who have had heart attacks and strokes are better in dog-owners than in those who are not.

and

If we were able to put all these pros and cons into a melting pot and come up with a definitive answer to the question of whether or not pets are good for us, what would the answer be? The answer would be … complicated. Because humans and our circumstances are so universally mixed up and complex. The simple truth is that having a pet has good and bad sides, and it may not be for everyone. Which means we have a duty to think carefully before acquiring one. We need to imagine the good times we might have with a pet and to consider the bad times, too: the insecurity, the grumpiness in old age, the infirmity.

Read the whole article at The Guardian »

Exercise and increased physical activity can prevent and treat depression

Exercise training and increased physical activity are effective for both prevention and treatment of depression, concludes research published in the Current Sports Medicine Reports, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The evidence of the use of physical activity and exercise for the management of depression is substantial and growing fast,”comment Felipe Barretto Schuch, PhD, of Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil, and Brendon Stubbs, PhD, of King’s College London, lead authors of the special ‘Exercise Is Medicine’ article. “Despite this substantial evidence, the incorporation of exercise as a key component in treatment is often inconstant and often given a low priority.” Continue reading

Providing essential medicines free to those how can least afford it, significantly improves their health

Kas Roussy and Marcy Cuttler, writing for CBC »

In Monday’s issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Persaud and his team reported giving medications free resulted in 11.6 per cent better adherence to treatment.

The researchers monitored patients taking medications for high blood pressure and blood glucose in diabetes, as well as antiretrovirals for HIV, antipsychotics, antibiotics and analgesics.

More people who received drugs free took the essential medications as prescribed (151 of 395 or 38.2 per cent) compared with those in the group with usual access to medicine (104 of 391 or 26.6 per cent).

Read more at CBC »

Strategies to deal with constantly feeling overwhelmed

Today is World Mental Health Day, an event run by the World Health Organization with the aim of breaking down the stigma of mental health and draw attention to resources and organizations available to help people cope.

Today, the Harvard Business Review published an article outlining five practical strategies to help combat the constant feeling of being overwhelmed.

Rebecca Zucker, writing for HBR (paywall) »

 In their book, Immunity to Change, Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey discuss how the increase in complexity associated with modern life has left many of us feeling “in over our heads.” When this is the case, the complexity of our world has surpassed our “complexity of mind” or our ability to handle that level of complexity and be effective. This has nothing to do with how smart we are, but with how we make sense of the world and how we operate in it.

Our typical response to ever-growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine what makes us do this and find a new way of operating.

The author proposes some strategies that help »

  • Pinpoint the primary source of overwhelm.
  • Set boundaries on your time and workload.
  • Challenge your perfectionism.
  • Outsource or delegate
  • Challenge your assumptions.

For a more detailed look at these, read the article at HBR »

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