To Your Health
May, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 05)
At the conclusion of the study period, all three groups lost weight, but only the dietplus- exercise group improved their fitness levels, boosted their fat-burning capacity and minimized loss of muscle mass.
According to the researchers, " Exercise seems to be key for maintaining muscle mass when older adults lose weight through dieting."
Go With the Flow
Studies have shown that people with relaxed personalities have a more stable mood and are better able to handle stressful situations without anxiety. They also may be better positioned to prevent age-related cognitive decline, suggests recent research. Dementia is the progressive loss and impairment of activities such as memory, behavior, personality, judgment, attention, spatial relations, language, abstract thought and other intellectual capacities. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 26 million people worldwide.
In a study involving 506 older Swedes, Hui-Xin Wang, of the Karolinska Institutet, and colleagues made an interesting discovery: men and women who were socially outgoing, but not easily distressed by circumstances, were 49 percent less likely to develop dementia over time, as compared to those who were extroverted but neurotic. A calm personality also was associated with a 49 percent reduced dementia risk in those who were not socially active compared to those who were stay-athomes, but prone to distress. According to the researchers, whose findings were published in Neurology, these results "provide further evidence that certain personality traits may play a role in dementia development, and that personalitylifestyle interactions may be especially important for determining dementia risk."
Bone Up on Bone Health
Your odds of suffering an osteoporotic fracture during your lifetime is 30-40 percent if you are a woman and 13 percent if you are a man. Katherine Tucker, from Tufts University in Massachusetts, and colleagues studied 213 men and 390 women, each age 75 and older, for four years and found that an increased intake of carotenoids, and particularly lycopene (found in foods such as tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit) was associated with some level of protection against losses in bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine in women, and at the hip in men. In addition, male hip BMD was also associated with intakes of total carotenoids, beta-carotene, and lutein plus zeaxanthin. Study findings appeared in the January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers postulate that the carotenoids may play a protective role in skeletal health via their antioxidant activity. Previous reports suggest oxidative stress may increase bone resorption; other mechanisms may play a contributory role as well.
Exercise Your Brain
A study on mice conducted by researchers at the National Cheng Kung University Medical College (Taiwan) suggests exercise can reverse the age-related decline in the production of neural stem cells in the brain's hippocampus. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in November 2008, suggests exercise promotes the production of neurotrophic factors and receptors, which then promote the production and maturation of new stem cells. While exercise enhanced stem cell production and maturation in middle-age mice, researchers note that the strongest beneficial effect was seen in younger mice.