Quality of Aging

April 22, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Throughout history there have been many wise and witty sayings about growing older. Here are a few of my favorites: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain; “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Benjamin Franklin; “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.” William James. Some of the changes that occur with advancing age cannot be avoided entirely. But I believe there’s such a thing as “quality of aging” as well as “quality of life”. What’s more, we can all affect the manner and pace by which our bodies reflect our biological years.

Aging is not organ specific. If your brain is showing signs of slowing down, you can bet that other aspects of your body are also dysfunctional. I don’t say this while waving the white flag of surrender. Symptoms that occur later in life should not be view as signs of the inevitable. A more positive perspective is to welcome them as messages your body is trying to communicate to you.

A decline in cognitive functioning is perhaps the most widely identifiable consequence of aging. A new, randomized, controlled trial reveals that the practice of Tai Chi can help reverse this predictable trend. The research, presented in an upcoming edition of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, reports that Tai Chi is more effective in improving mental capacity and slowing the progression to dementia as compared to conventional stretching and toning exercises. A total of 389 older adults with preliminary signs of dementia took part in the experiment. They were all asked to practice their respective forms of exercise at least three times weekly. Both groups exhibited improvements in “global cognitive function, delayed recall and subjective cognitive complaints”. However, after 5 months of training, only 2.2% of the Tai Chi practitioners had progressed to dementia. The stretching and toning group demonstrated a 10.8% progression rate. The authors of the study concluded that, “Tai Chi exercise may offer specific benefits to cognition, potential clinical interests should be further explored with longer observation period”. (1)

Chronic low-grade inflammation seems to correlate to an increased risk of age-related memory decline, cancer, heart disease and beyond. Prior investigations offer proof that Tai Chi can lower C-reactive protein levels (CRP), an inflammatory marker, in senior citizens. Part of the reason likely has to do with the physical and psychological benefits imparted by this gentle form of exercise which is commonly referred to as “moving meditation”. Another emerging theory is that Tai Chi and other types of group exercise promote a decline in CRP because they discourage social isolation. A recent evaluation performed at the University of Rochester, New York determined that older adults who had the least active social lives were two-and-a-half times more likely to have elevated CRP levels. In addition, CRP concentrations and social isolation were independently linked to coronary heart disease mortality in the study participants. (2,3,4)

Aspirin-Therapy Isn’t Appropriate for Everyone

Source: Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2010; 6: 943–956. (link)

When it comes to common aches and pains, many people gravitate towards over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin. Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) typically improves painful symptoms, but at a cost. One noted side effect of aspirin is that it causes damage to the mucosal lining of the stomach. A new study out of Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan offers a possible solution to this adverse reaction. Sixty-six patients were enrolled in a trial that required taking either low-dose or high-dose aspirin and a probiotic known as LG21 or Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716. The findings reveal that “the number of positive occult blood tests decreased during LG21 treatment” and, therefore, “the regular consumption of LG21 may protect the integrity of the gastric mucosal permeability against aspirin”. (5,6,7)

It is unreasonable to expect patients to live with chronic discomfort or pain simply because conventional treatments leave much to be desired. In order for natural alternatives to become fully integrated into the modern medical system, they must accomplish similar symptomatic improvement with a superior safety profile. This is often the case. In the past few months, publications in respected medical journals report that the practice of “gentle yoga” can safely improve functionality and reduce disease markers in those living with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Even so-called passive therapies, such as massage, may be enough to improve long-held sleep problems in postmenopausal women. Poor sleep quality and many age-related diseases and symptoms are inextricably linked. Better physical functioning, healthier sleep patterns and a reduction in chronic pain will likely equate to significant health gains in people of all ages, without the risks commonly associated with synthetic medications. (8,9,10,11,12)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Memory

21 Comments & Updates to “Quality of Aging”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Taking Vitamin C in close proximity to aspirin may be harmful …


    Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2015 Feb 1.

    Ascorbic Acid may Exacerbate Aspirin-Induced Increase in Intestinal Permeability.

    Ascorbic acid in combination with aspirin has been used in order to prevent aspirin-induced oxidative GI damage. We aimed to determine whether ascorbic acid reduces or prevents aspirin-induced changes in intestinal permeability over a 6-hr period using saccharidic probes mannitol and lactulose. The effects of administration of 600 mg aspirin alone, 500 mg ascorbic acid alone and simultaneous dosage of both agents were compared in a cross-over study in twenty-eight healthy female volunteers. These effects were also compared with that of a placebo. The ability of ascorbic acid to mitigate the effects of aspirin when administered either half an hour before or after dosage with aspirin was also assessed in nineteen healthy female volunteers. The excretion of lactulose over the 6-hr period after dosage was augmented, after consumption of either aspirin or ascorbic acid compared with that after consumption of placebo. Dosage with ascorbic acid alone augmented the excretion of lactulose more than did aspirin alone. Simultaneous dosage with both agents augmented the excretion of lactulose in an additive manner. The timing of dosage with ascorbic acid in relation to that with aspirin had no significant effect on the excretion of the two sugars. These findings indicate that ascorbic acid does not prevent aspirin-induced increase in gut permeability rather that both agents augment it to a similar extent. The additive effect on simultaneous dosage with both agents in augmenting the absorption of lactulose suggests that each influences paracellular permeability by different pathways. This article is protected by copyright.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update 04/20/15:


    Am J Clin Nutr April 2015

    Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial

    Background: Increased brain atrophy rates are common in older people with cognitive impairment, particularly in those who eventually convert to Alzheimer disease. Plasma concentrations of omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids and homocysteine are associated with the development of brain atrophy and dementia.

    Objective: We investigated whether plasma ω-3 fatty acid concentrations (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) modify the treatment effect of homocysteine-lowering B vitamins on brain atrophy rates in a placebo-controlled trial (VITACOG).

    Design: This retrospective analysis included 168 elderly people (≥70 y) with mild cognitive impairment, randomly assigned either to placebo (n = 83) or to daily high-dose B vitamin supplementation (folic acid, 0.8 mg; vitamin B-6, 20 mg; vitamin B-12, 0.5 mg) (n = 85). The subjects underwent cranial magnetic resonance imaging scans at baseline and 2 y later. The effect of the intervention was analyzed according to tertiles of baseline ω-3 fatty acid concentrations.

    Results: There was a significant interaction (P = 0.024) between B vitamin treatment and plasma combined ω-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) on brain atrophy rates. In subjects with high baseline ω-3 fatty acids (>590 μmol/L), B vitamin treatment slowed the mean atrophy rate by 40.0% compared with placebo (P = 0.023). B vitamin treatment had no significant effect on the rate of atrophy among subjects with low baseline ω-3 fatty acids (<390 μmol/L). High baseline ω-3 fatty acids were associated with a slower rate of brain atrophy in the B vitamin group but not in the placebo group.

    Conclusions: The beneficial effect of B vitamin treatment on brain atrophy was observed only in subjects with high plasma ω-3 fatty acids. It is also suggested that the beneficial effect of ω-3 fatty acids on brain atrophy may be confined to subjects with good B vitamin status. The results highlight the importance of identifying subgroups likely to benefit in clinical trials.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 06/02/15:


    Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 May 12;9:281.

    Neuroprotective effects of yoga practice: age-, experience-, and frequency-dependent plasticity.

    Yoga combines postures, breathing, and meditation. Despite reported health benefits, yoga’s effects on the brain have received little study. We used magnetic resonance imaging to compare age-related gray matter (GM) decline in yogis and controls. We also examined the effect of increasing yoga experience and weekly practice on GM volume and assessed which aspects of weekly practice contributed most to brain size. Controls displayed the well documented age-related global brain GM decline while yogis did not, suggesting that yoga contributes to protect the brain against age-related decline. Years of yoga experience correlated mostly with GM volume differences in the left hemisphere (insula, frontal operculum, and orbitofrontal cortex) suggesting that yoga tunes the brain toward a parasympatically driven mode and positive states. The number of hours of weekly practice correlated with GM volume in the primary somatosensory cortex/superior parietal lobule (S1/SPL), precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), hippocampus, and primary visual cortex (V1). Commonality analyses indicated that the combination of postures and meditation contributed the most to the size of the hippocampus, precuneus/PCC, and S1/SPL while the combination of meditation and breathing exercises contributed the most to V1 volume. Yoga’s potential neuroprotective effects may provide a neural basis for some of its beneficial effects.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:


    Psychosom Med. 2015 Jul 16.

    Yoga and Cognition: A Meta-Analysis of Chronic and Acute Effects.

    OBJECTIVES: To review and synthesize the existing literature on the effects of yoga on cognitive function by determining effect sizes that could serve as a platform to design, calculate statistical power, and implement future studies.

    METHODS: Through electronic databases, we identified acute studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of yoga that reported cognitive outcomes. Inclusion criteria included the following: use of an objective measure of cognition and sufficient data reported to estimate an effect size. The meta-analysis was conducted using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software. A random-effects model was used to calculate the overall weighted effect sizes, expressed as Hedge g.

    RESULTS: Fifteen RCTs and 7 acute exposure studies examined the effects of yoga on cognition. A moderate effect (g = 0.33, standard error = 0.08, 95% confidence interval = 0.18-0.48, p < .001) of yoga on cognition was observed for RCTs, with the strongest effect for attention and processing speed (g = 0.29, p < .001), followed by executive function (g = 0.27, p = .001) and memory (g = 0.18, p = .051). Acute studies showed a stronger overall effect of yoga on cognition (g = 0.56, standard error = 0.11, 95% confidence interval = 0.33-0.78, p < .001). The effect was strongest for memory (g = 0.78, p < .001), followed by attention and processing speed measures (g = 0.49, p < .001) and executive functions (g = 0.39, p < .003). CONCLUSIONS: Yoga practice seems to be associated with moderate improvements in cognitive function. Although the studies are limited by sample size, heterogeneous population characteristics, varied doses of yoga interventions, and a myriad of cognitive tests, these findings warrant rigorous systematic RCTs and well-designed counterbalanced acute studies to comprehensively explore yoga as a means to improve or sustain cognitive abilities across the life span. Be well! JP

  5. JP Says:

    Updated 1/7/16:


    Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):897-904.

    Dietary inflammatory index and telomere length in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk from the PREDIMED-NAVARRA study: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses over 5 y.

    BACKGROUND: Dietary factors can affect telomere length (TL), a biomarker of aging, through oxidation and inflammation-related mechanisms. A Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) could help to understand the effect of the inflammatory potential of the diet on telomere shortening.

    OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the association of the DII with TL and to examine whether diet-associated inflammation could modify the telomere attrition rate after a 5-y follow-up of a Mediterranean dietary intervention.

    DESIGN: This was a prospective study of 520 participants at high cardiovascular disease risk (mean ± SD age: 67.0 ± 6.0 y, 45% males) from the PREDIMED-NAVARRA (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea-NAVARRA) trial. Leukocyte TL was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction at baseline and after 5 y of follow-up. The DII was calculated from self-reported data by using a validated 137-item food-frequency questionnaire.

    RESULTS: Longer telomeres at baseline were found in participants who had a more anti-inflammatory diet (lowest DII score) (P-trend = 0.012). Longitudinal analyses further showed that a greater anti-inflammatory potential of the diet (i.e., a decrease in the DII) could significantly slow down the rate of telomere shortening. Moreover, the multivariable-adjusted OR for short telomeres (z score ≤20th percentile) was 1.80 (95% CI: 1.03, 3.17) in a comparison between the highest (proinflammatory) and the lowest (anti-inflammatory) DII tertiles. Similarly, a greater DII (greatest proinflammatory values) after a 5-y follow-up was associated with almost a 2-fold higher risk of accelerated telomere attrition compared with the highest decrease in DII (greatest anti-inflammatory values) during this period (P-trend = 0.025).

    CONCLUSIONS: This study showed both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the inflammatory potential of the diet and telomere shortening in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk. Our findings are consistent with, but do not show, a beneficial effect of adherence to an anti-inflammatory diet on aging and health by slowing down telomere shortening. These results suggest that diet might play a key role as a determinant of TL through proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 1/26/16:


    Qual Life Res. 2016 Jan 21.

    Relationship of moderate alcohol intake and type of beverage with health behaviors and quality of life in elderly subjects.

    PURPOSE: This work was aimed to study the relationships of moderate alcohol intake and the type of beverages consumed with health behaviors and quality of life in elderly people.

    METHODS: In this observational study, 231 subjects (55-85 years) voluntarily answering to advertisements were enrolled and divided in three study groups: abstainers and occasional consumers (ABS; n = 98), moderate drinkers of beer (BEER; n = 63) and moderate drinkers of all sorts of alcoholic beverages (MIXED; n = 70). Variables assessed included physical activity, activities of daily living, Mediterranean diet-adherence score, tobacco consumption, quality of sleep, body composition, medication and perception of health through the SF-36 questionnaire. Their relationship with alcohol consumption was assessed through general linear models including confounding variables (age, sex, chronic disease prevalence and socioeconomic status). ABS were also compared to moderate drinkers (MOD = BEER + MIXED).

    RESULTS: The mean daily alcohol consumption in each group was (mean ± SD): ABS: 0.7 ± 1.1; BEER: 12.7 ± 8.1; MIXED: 13.9 ± 10.2 g/day. MOD and MIXED showed significantly higher physical activity (metabolic standard units; METs) than ABS (p = 0.023 and p = 0.004, respectively). MOD spent significantly less time doing housework activities than ABS (p = 0.032). Daily grams of alcohol consumption were significantly associated with METs (B = 21.727, p = 0.023). Specifically, wine consumption (g/day) was associated with METs (B = 46.196, p = <0.001) and showed borderline significant relationships with mental health (B = 0.245, p = 0.062) and vitality perception (B = 0.266, p = 0.054).

    CONCLUSION: Moderate alcohol consumption, and in particular wine consumption, is associated with a more active lifestyle and better perception of own health in the Spanish elderly subjects studied.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 2/6/16:


    Front Aging Neurosci. 2016 Jan 14;7:254.

    Effects of Long-Term Mindfulness Meditation on Brain’s White Matter Microstructure and its Aging.

    Although research on the effects of mindfulness meditation (MM) is increasing, still very little has been done to address its influence on the white matter (WM) of the brain. We hypothesized that the practice of MM might affect the WM microstructure adjacent to five brain regions of interest associated with mindfulness. Diffusion tensor imaging was employed on samples of meditators and non-meditators (n = 64) in order to investigate the effects of MM on group difference and aging. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics was used to estimate the fractional anisotrophy of the WM connected to the thalamus, insula, amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex. The subsequent generalized linear model analysis revealed group differences and a group-by-age interaction in all five selected regions. These data provide preliminary indications that the practice of MM might result in WM connectivity change and might provide evidence on its ability to help diminish age-related WM degeneration in key regions which participate in processes of mindfulness.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 06/02/16:


    Res Sports Med. 2016 Jun 1:1-14.

    Effects of wheelchair Tai Chi on physical and mental health among elderly with disability.

    A 12-week Wheelchair Tai Chi 10 Form (WTC10) intervention was conducted among elderly with disability to examine the effect of this WTC10 intervention on selected physical and mental health variables. Thirteen (age 87.23 ± 6.71) in the WTC10 intervention group and 15 (age 89.73 ± 6.31) in the control group completed the study. Independent t-tests and paired t-tests were employed to examine the differences between groups and within groups, respectively, at pretest and post-test. The WTC10 intervention group showed significant improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, shoulder external rotation, left trunk rotation and total trunk rotation after the intervention. A 12-week WTC10 intervention had positive effects on blood pressure, range of motion at the shoulder and trunk, physical activity, and mental health among the elderly with disability. WTC10 is a feasible and safe exercise for the elderly with disability.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 06/06/16:


    Complement Ther Med. 2016 Jun;26:128-35.

    Hatha Yoga practice decreases menopause symptoms and improves quality of life: A randomized controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVES: Yoga practice includes a group of specific psychophysical techniques. Although previous studies showed beneficial effects of yoga for health and rehabilitation, improving quality of life, there are few studies on the possible therapeutic application of yoga during the climacteric period. The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychophysiological effects of Hatha Yoga regular practice in post-menopausal women.

    METHODS: Eighty-eight post-menopausal women volunteered for this 12-week trial. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: control (no intervention), exercise, and yoga. Questionnaires were applied in order to evaluate climacteric syndrome (Menopause Rating Scale), stress (Lipp Stress Symptom Inventory), quality of life (Brief World Health Organization Quality of Life), depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and anxiety (State/Trait Anxiety Inventories). Physiological changes were evaluated through hormone levels (cortisol, FSH, LH, progesterone and estradiol).

    RESULTS: At 12 weeks, yoga practitioners showed statistically lower scores for menopausal symptoms, stress levels and depression symptoms, as well as significantly higher scores in quality of life when compared to control and exercise groups. Only control group presented a significant increase in cortisol levels. The yoga and exercise groups showed decreased levels of FSH and LH when compared to control group.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that yoga promotes positive psychophysiological changes in post-menopausal women and may be applied as a complementary therapy towards this population.

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:


    J Nutr. 2016 Jun 8.

    Coffee Consumption Is Positively Associated with Longer Leukocyte Telomere Length in the Nurses’ Health Study

    Background: Coffee is an important source of antioxidants, and consumption of this beverage is associated with many health conditions and a lower mortality risk. However, no study, to our knowledge, has examined whether varying coffee or caffeine consumption levels are associated with telomere length, a biomarker of aging whose shortening can be accelerated by oxidative stress.

    Objective: We performed a large comprehensive study on how coffee consumption is associated with telomere length.

    Methods: We used data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), a prospective cohort study of female nurses that began in 1976. We examined the cross-sectional association between coffee consumption and telomere length in 4780 women from the NHS. Coffee consumption information was obtained from validated food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs), and relative telomere length was measured in peripheral blood leukocytes by the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Unconditional logistic regression was used to obtain ORs when the telomere length outcome was dichotomized at the median. Linear regression was used for tests of trend with coffee consumption and telomere length as continuous variables.

    Results: Higher total coffee consumption was significantly associated with longer telomeres after potential confounding adjustment. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, multivariable ORs for those drinking 2 to <3 and ≥3 cups of coffee/d were, respectively, 1.29 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.68) and 1.36 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.78) (P-trend = 0.02). We found a significant linear association between caffeine consumption from all dietary sources and telomere length (P-trend = 0.02) after adjusting for potential confounders, but not after additionally adjusting for total coffee consumption (P-trend = 0.37).

    Conclusions: We found that higher coffee consumption is associated with longer telomeres among female nurses. Future studies are needed to better understand the influence of coffee consumption on telomeres, which may uncover new knowledge of how coffee consumption affects health and longevity.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 07/28/16:


    J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Apr;9(4):25-32.

    A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial Evaluating an Oral Anti-aging Skin Care Supplement for Treating Photodamaged Skin.

    OBJECTIVE: Evaluate an anti-aging skin care supplement on the appearance of photodamaged skin.

    DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Following a one-month washout period, subjects received two anti-aging skin care formula tablets (total daily dose: marine complex 210mg, vitamin C 54mg, zinc 4mg) or placebo daily for 16 weeks. Subjects were restricted from products/procedures that may affect the condition/appearance of skin, including direct facial sun or tanning bed exposure. PARTICIPANTS utilized a standardized facial cleanser and SPF15 moisturizer.

    SETTING: Single study center (Texas, United States; June-November 2007).

    PARTICIPANTS: Healthy women aged 35 to 60 years (mean, 50 years), Fitzpatrick skin type I-IV, modified Glogau type II-III.

    Subjects were assessed at Weeks 6, 12, and 16 on clinical grading (0-10 VAS), bioinstrumentation, digital photography, and self-assessments. Analysis of variance with treatment in the model was used for between-group comparisons (alpha P≤0.05).

    RESULTS: Eighty-two anti-aging skin care formula subjects and 70 placebo subjects completed the study. Significant differences in change from baseline to Week 16 scores were observed for clinical grading of overall facial appearance (0.26; P<0.0001), radiant complexion (0.59; P<0.0001), periocular wrinkles (0.08; P<0.05), visual (0.56; P<0.0001) and tactile (0.48; P<0.0001) roughness, and mottled hyperpigmentation (0.15; P<0.001) favoring the subjects in the anti-aging skin care supplement group. Ultrasound skin density (Week 16) was significantly reduced for placebo versus anti-aging skin care supplement group (-1.4% vs. 0%; P<0.01). Other outcomes were not significant. Mild gastrointestinal symptoms possibly related to the anti-aging skin care supplement (n=1) and placebo (n=2) were observed.

    CONCLUSION: Women with photodamaged skin receiving anti-aging skin care supplement showed significant improvements in the appearance of facial photodamage.

    Be well!


  12. JP Says:

    Updated 07/29/16:


    Biol Pharm Bull. 2016;39(7):1107-11.

    Ginger Orally Disintegrating Tablets to Improve Swallowing in Older People.

    We previously prepared and pharmaceutically evaluated ginger orally disintegrating (OD) tablets, optimized the base formulation, and carried out a clinical trial in healthy adults in their 20 s and 50s to measure their effect on salivary substance P (SP) level and improved swallowing function. In this study, we conducted clinical trials using the ginger OD tablets in older people to clinically evaluate the improvements in swallowing function resulting from the functional components of the tablet. The ginger OD tablets were prepared by mixing the excipients with the same amount of mannitol and sucrose to a concentration of 1% ginger. Eighteen healthy older adult volunteers aged 63 to 90 were included in the swallowing function test. Saliva was collected before and 15 min after administration of the placebo and ginger OD tablets. Swallowing endoscopy was performed by an otolaryngologist before administration and 15 min after administration of the ginger OD tablets. A scoring method was used to evaluate the endoscopic swallowing. Fifteen minutes after taking the ginger OD tablets, the salivary SP amount was significantly higher than prior to ingestion or after taking the placebo (p<0.05). Among 10 subjects, one scored 1-3 using the four evaluation criteria. Overall, no aspiration occurred and a significant improvement in the swallowing function score was observed (p<0.05) after taking the ginger OD tablets. Our findings showed that the ginger OD tablets increased the salivary SP amount and improved swallowing function in older people with appreciably reduced swallowing function.

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Updated 10/05/16:


    Clin Interv Aging. 2016 Sep 16;11:1277-1286.

    Tai chi qigong as a means to improve night-time sleep quality among older adults with cognitive impairment: a pilot randomized controlled trial.

    PURPOSE: Age-related cognitivee decline is a growing public health concern worldwide. More than a quarter of adults with cognitive impairment experience sleep disturbance. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the preliminary effects of tai chi qigong (TCQ) on improving the night-time sleep quality of older adults with cognitive impairment.

    PARTICIPANTS: Older adults with cognitive impairment who complain of sleep disturbance.

    METHODS: A randomized controlled trial with two groups. Fifty-two subjects were recruited from two district elderly community centers and randomly assigned to either the TCQ group (n=27) or the control group (n=25). The intervention group received TCQ training consisting of two 60-minute sessions each week for 2 months. The control group was advised to maintain their usual activities. Sleep quality was measured by the Chinese Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Quality of life was measured by Short-form 12, cognitive functions measured by mini-mental state examination, and subjective memory deficits measured by the memory inventory for Chinese.

    RESULTS: Data were collected at baseline, 2 months, and 6 months. Significant results were noted at 6 months in the Chinese Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index global score (P=0.004), sleep duration (P=0.003), habitual sleep efficiency (P=0.002), and the Short-form 12 mental health component (P<0.001). The TCQ participants reported better sleep quality and a better (quality of life) mental health component than the control group.

    CONCLUSION: TCQ can be considered a useful nonpharmacological approach for improving sleep quality in older adults with cognitive impairment.

    Be well!


  14. JP Says:

    Updated 11/22/16:


    J Sci Med Sport. 2016 Oct 27.

    Thai Yoga improves physical function and well-being in older adults: A randomised controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVES: Compare two 12-week low-intensity exercise regimens on components of physical function and quality of life in community-dwelling healthy yet sedentary adults aged over 60.

    DESIGN: This study used a randomised, multi-arm, controlled trial design.

    METHODS: Thirty-nine sedentary participants (29 women), aged 67.7±6.7 years were randomly allocated to either a 12-week Thai Yoga (TY) or Tai Chi (TC) for 90min twice per week, or telephone counselling Control (C). A Senior Fitness Test (chair-stand, arm-curl, sit-&-reach, back-scratch, 8-foot up-&-go and 6-min walk) and Short-Form 36 Health Survey, Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Depression, Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly and the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale were assessed at baseline, six, 12 weeks, and three months after the completion of the regimen.

    RESULTS: After 12 weeks, chair-stand (mean difference, 2.69; 95% CI, 0.97-4.41; P<0.001), arm-curl (2.23; 95% CI, 0.06-4.52; P=0.009), sit-&-reach (1.25; 95% CI, 0.03-2.53; P=0.013), back-scratch (2.00; 95% CI, 0.44-3.56; P=0.005), 8-foot up-&-go (-0.43; 95% CI, -0.85 to 0.01; P=0.013), 6-min walk (57.5; 95% CI, 20.93-94.07; P<0.001), vitality (13.27; 95% CI, 2.88-23.66; P=0.050) and enjoyment (7.96; 95% CI, 3.70-12.23; P=0.001) significantly improved in TY compared to C, however no change was observed in TC compared to C. TY improved in chair-stand (2.31; 95% CI, 0.59-4.03; P=0.007), sit-&-reach (1.38; 95% CI, 0.10-2.66; P=0.007), 6-min walk (32.31; 95% CI, -4.26-68.88; P=0.015), vitality (12.88; 95% CI, 2.50-23.27; P=0.040) and enjoyment (5.65; 95% CI, 1.39-9.92; P=0.010) compared to TC after 12 weeks.

    CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that older adults can make significant improvements in their health and well-being by engaging in low intensity Thai Yoga exercise.

    Be well!


  15. JP Says:

    Updated 01/15/17:


    Aging (Albany NY). 2017 Jan 3.

    Curcumin supplementation improves vascular endothelial function in healthy middle-aged and older adults by increasing nitric oxide bioavailability and reducing oxidative stress.

    We hypothesized that curcumin would improve resistance and conduit artery endothelial function and large elastic artery stiffness in healthy middle-aged and older adults. Thirty-nine healthy men and postmenopausal women (45-74 yrs) were randomized to 12 weeks of curcumin (2000 mg/day Longvida®; n=20) or placebo (n=19) supplementation. Forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine infusions (FBFACh; resistance artery endothelial function) increased 37% following curcumin supplementation (107±13 vs. 84±11 AUC at baseline, P=0.03), but not placebo (P=0.2). Curcumin treatment augmented the acute reduction in FBFACh induced by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NG monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA; P=0.03), and reduced the acute increase in FBFACh to the antioxidant vitamin C (P=0.02), whereas placebo had no effect (both P>0.6). Similarly, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (conduit artery endothelial function) increased 36% in the curcumin group (5.7±0.4 vs. 4.4±0.4% at baseline, P=0.001), with no change in placebo (P=0.1). Neither curcumin nor placebo influenced large elastic artery stiffness (aortic pulse wave velocity or carotid artery compliance) or circulating biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation (all P>0.1). In healthy middle-aged and older adults, 12 weeks of curcumin supplementation improves resistance artery endothelial function by increasing vascular nitric oxide bioavailability and reducing oxidative stress, while also improving conduit artery endothelial function.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Updated 02/09/17:


    Digestion. 2017;95(1):49-54.

    Yogurt Containing Lactobacillus gasseri Mitigates Aspirin-Induced Small Bowel Injuries: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Although there is evidence about the beneficial effects of probiotics, their effects on aspirin-induced small bowel injuries have not been well examined. We evaluated the effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716 (LG) on aspirin-induced small intestinal lesions, such as ulcers, erosions, reddened lesions, and bleeding.

    SUMMARY: This study enrolled 64 patients who received aspirin for more than 1 month and provided written informed consent to be part of the study. The patients received 112 ml of yogurt containing LG or placebo twice daily for 6 weeks. Small bowel injuries were evaluated by capsule endoscopy before and after consuming the yogurt. The effect of LG on patient symptoms was also assessed using the Frequency Scale for the Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (FSSG) and Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) questionnaires before and after 6 weeks of treatment. There was no significant difference in any baseline characteristics and the number of small bowel mucosal breaks between the 2 groups. In contrast with the placebo group, the LG group had significantly fewer small bowel mucosal breaks and reddened lesions after 6 weeks (p < 0.01). The FSSG and GSRS scores were also significantly improved in the LG group but not in the placebo group. Key Messages: This double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that LG may be useful in reducing aspirin-induced small bowel injuries and in mitigating gastrointestinal symptoms. Be well! JP

  17. JP Says:

    Updated 04/07/17:


    Sleep. 2017 Mar 1;40(3).

    Mediterranean Diet and Changes in Sleep Duration and Indicators of Sleep Quality in Older Adults.

    Study Objective: To examine the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MD) and changes in sleep duration and sleep quality in older adults.

    Methods: We used data from 1596 participants in the Seniors-ENRICA cohort aged ≥ 60 years. MD was evaluated in 2012 with the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) score. Sleep duration (h) and indicators of poor sleep quality were assessed both in 2012 and 2015. Analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle and morbidity variables, and for sleep duration and the number of poor sleep indicators at baseline.

    Results: Over a median follow-up of 2.8 years, 12.2% of individuals increased and 8.8% decreased their sleep duration by ≥2 h/night. Compared with those in the lowest tertile of adherence to the MD in 2012, those in the highest tertile showed both a lower risk of a ≥2 h/night increase in sleep duration (odds ratio [OR]: 0.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34-0.85, p-trend = .01) and of a ≥2 h/night decrease (OR: 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.95, p-trend = 0.02) from 2012 to 2015. Being in the highest tertile of MD in 2012 was also associated with lower risk of poor sleep quality at follow-up, the OR (95% CI) for having 2-3 indicators of poor sleep was 0.70 (0.51-0.97) and for ≥4 indicators was 0.68 (0.47-0.99, p-trend = .04). High adherence to the MD was also associated with 56% lower odds of having large changes in sleep duration and ≥2 indicators of poor sleep quality simultaneously (OR: 0.44, 95% CI 0.29-0.68, p trend < .001). Conclusions: Adherence to a MD pattern was associated with lower risk of changes in sleep duration and with better sleep quality in older adults. Be well! JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 06/22/17:


    Clin Nutr. 2017 May 31.

    High adherence to a Mediterranean diet and lower risk of frailty among French older adults community-dwellers: Results from the Three-City-Bordeaux Study.

    BACKGROUND & AIMS: Mediterranean diet (MeDi) is considered as a key component for healthy aging, including prevention of age-related disability, while its association with frailty, independent of disability has never been assessed. Our objective was to investigate the relation between MeDi adherence and frailty incidence among persons aged ≥75 years participating at the prospective population-based French Three-City Study.

    METHODS: The study sample consisted of 560 initially non-frail participants of the Three-City-Bordeaux center, seen at the 2009-2010 follow-up, and re-examined two years later. Adherence to MeDi was computed from a food frequency questionnaire (scored as 0-9). Frailty was defined as having at least three out of the following five slightly modified Fried frailty criteria: involuntary weight loss, exhaustion, slowness, weakness and low physical activity. Logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical covariates, including cognitive performance and depressive symptomatology, were used to assess the association between MeDi score and subsequent frailty risk.

    RESULTS: Over the 2-year follow-up, 79 participants (14%) became frail. Older adults with the highest MeDi adherence (score 6-9) had a significantly 68% frailty risk reduction (95% CI: 28-86%, p = 0.006) compared to those in the lowest MeDi category (score 0-3). Regarding the frailty criterion separately, the highest MeDi adherence was associated with a significantly reduced risk of incident slowness (OR = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.20-0.99, p = 0.04), poor muscle strength (OR = 0.44; 95% CI: 0.20-0.98, p = 0.04) and low physical activity (OR = 0.39; 95% CI: 0.18-0.82, p = 0.01), compared to the lowest MeDi adherence.

    CONCLUSION: In addition to its well-documented beneficial effects on health, adherence to MeDi might contribute to prevent the onset of frailty, even at late stages of life.

    Be well!


  19. JP Says:

    Updated 12/26/17:


    Exp Gerontol. 2017 Dec 20.

    Adherence to Mediterranean diet and nutritional status in a sample of nonagenarians.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim is to describe the adherence to Mediterranean diet in a sample of nonagenarians and to analyse its cross-sectional association with anthropometric and bioelectrical parameters.

    DESIGN: A cross-sectional design was employed in this study. The adherence to the Mediterranean diet was measured through the Mediterranean Diet Score (MedDietScore).

    SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A representative sample of nonagenarian residents in the eight municipalities belonging to Mugello (Florence, Italy).

    MEASUREMENTS: The tools used to investigate the nutritional status and the body composition were: weight; ulna length to estimate the height; body mass index (BMI); mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC); calf circumference (CC); waist circumference (WC); hip circumference (HC); and specific bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVAsp).

    RESULTS: All the measurements were carried out for 298 nonagenarians (70.8% of whom were females). The mean value of MedDietScore was 34.3±3.6. The MedDietScore was significantly correlated with CC (r=0.127), specific resistance (Rsp, r=0.152), and specific impedance (Zsp, r=0.153) in the whole sample, as well as with height (r=-0.222), Rsp (r=0.282), and Zsp (r=0.282) in males. In the whole sample, Rsp and Zsp mean values significantly increased by quartiles of MedDietScore; these results were confirmed by vector analysis.

    CONCLUSIONS: The high level of adherence to Mediterranean diet could contribute to explaining the longevity of our sample. Studying the influence of dietary lifestyle in nonagenarians in depth could help to promote healthy ageing.

    Be well!


  20. JP Says:

    Updated 03/06/18:


    Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. 2018;55(1):74-80.

    [The effective of facial exercises on the mental health in elderly adults].

    AIM: Although it is well documented that exercising is good for the mental health and cognitive function as well as the physical condition in elderly people, exercising is difficult in elderly individuals with a low motor function. To develop an exercise program targeting elderly individuals unsuited for whole-body exercises, we assessed the effects of facial exercises on the mental health in healthy elderly people.

    METHODS: Community-dwelling older adults (N = 75, age range = 65-87 years) were randomly divided into a facial exercises group and a wait-listed control group. A facial exercises program of 30 min was given twice a week for 12 weeks. This program consisted of rhythmic facial movement, muscle stretching, facial yoga, and Tanden breathing. The GHQ-12 for mental health were administered to both groups before and after the 12-week study period. In addition, the facial expression and tongue muscle power were measured.

    RESULTS: Fifty-three participants completed the protocol. In the intervention group, the GHQ-12, facial expression, and tongue muscle power improved post-intervention.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that facial exercises are effective in improving the mental health, facial expression, tongue muscle power of elderly people, and that exercises may be useful as a therapeutic modality in this population.

    Be well!


  21. JP Says:

    Updated 03/29/19:


    Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2019 Mar 17;83:7-12.

    Effects of whey protein nutritional supplement on muscle function among community-dwelling frail older people: A multicenter study in China.

    BACKGROUND: Frailty, featured by the presence of fatigue, weight loss, decrease in grip strength, decline gait speed and reduced activities substantially increase the risk of falls, disability, hospitalizations, and mortality of older people. Nutritional supplementation and resistance exercise may improve muscle function and reverse frailty status.

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether whey protein supplements can improve muscle function of frail older people in addition to resistance exercise.

    METHODS: 115 community-dwelling older adults who met the Fried’s criteria for frailty from four hospitals’ out-patients clinic in Beijing, China completed the study. It’s a case-control study which whey protein was used as daily supplementation for 12 weeks for active group and regular resistance exercise for active group and control group. Handgrip strength, gait speed, chair-stand test, balance score, and SPPB score were compared in both groups during the 12-week follow-up.

    RESULTS: Overall, 115 subjects were enrolled for study with 66 in active group and 49 in control group. Handgrip strength, gait speed, and chair-stand time were all significantly improved in both groups with significant between-group differences. The active group improved significantly in handgrip strength compared with the control group, which between-group effect (95% confidence interval) for female was 0.107 kg (0.066-0.149), p = 0.008 and for male was 0.89 kg (0.579-1.201), p = 0.007. For chair-stand time, between-group effect (95% confidence interval) was -2.875 s (-3.62 to -2.124), p = 0.004 and for gait speed, between-group effect (95% confidence interval) was 0.109 m/s (0.090 to 0.130), p = 0.003.

    CONCLUSIONS: The 12-week intervention of whey protein oral nutritional supplement revealed significant improvements in muscle function among the frailty elderly besides aiding with resistance exercise. These results warrant further investigations into the role of a multi-modal supplementation approach which could prevent adverse outcomes among frailty elderly at risk for various disabilities.

    Be well!


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