An inexpensive drug used to prevent asthma attacks in children and adults may help to rejuvenate ageing brains, according to a study in rats.
Researchers found that a six week course of the drug, montelukast, improved memory and learning in older rodents, with their performance in cognitive tests nearly matching that of much younger animals.
The drug seems to work through a combination of effects that reduce inflammation in the brain and encourage the growth of fresh neurons in a key region called the hippocampus. The drug did not improve the performance of young animals in the study.
Scientists now hope to start a clinical trial in patients with dementia to see if the drug has similar beneficial effects on people’s brains. But researchers may struggle to take the drug into large human trials because it is off-patent and so difficult for a funder to recoup costs from.
As people age, their brains start to function less well. The gradual loss of memory and cognitive skills goes hand in hand with a slowdown in the growth of new brain cells and an increase in inflammation in the brain.
Ludwig Aigner at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria, decided to look at the effects of montelukast on the ageing brain after another group of scientists found that eotaxin, an inflammatory molecule involved in asthma, built up in the blood of older people and seemed to contribute to cognitive decline.
Aigner and his colleagues wondered if other biological pathways linked to asthma, or a number of different inflammatory conditions in the body, might also have an impact on brain function by driving up inflammation and hampering the growth of fresh brain cells. They chose montelukast because it blocks inflammation in asthma, and might possibly do the same in the brain too.
They gave daily doses of montelukast to four-month-old rats and 20-month-old rats, the latter equivalent in age to 65 to 70-year-old humans. The older rats did not have a rodent form of dementia, but showed the same decline in brain agility that humans experience with age.
To start, groups of rats were trained to find a submerged platform in a water pool. After five days, older rodents were still hazy about the location of the platform, but those given the drug could find it almost as well as younger animals.
After a two day break from training, the rats were again lowered into the water pool and went looking for the platform. Again, older rodents were bad at remembering where the platform was, but those on the drug seemed to have better memories, and found the platform nearly as quickly as younger animals.
Further tests looked at how animals behaved when familiar objects in their cages were moved around. Young animals spend more time checking out moved objects, which researchers link to them having a better memory of their original position. When older rodents had the drug, they behaved in a similar way.
The scientists went on to look at sections of the rats’ brains and found that older animals given the drugs had more freshly-grown neurons than their counterparts that only received the placebo. They also had less obvious inflammation in their brains.
“The important thing is that while we saw effects on neurogenesis, we also saw effects on other systems in the brain. The drug reduces neural inflammation in the brain. But we also looked at that blood-brain barrier and that is partially restored. We know in aged brains that the blood-brain barrier is leaky and that contributes to neural inflammation,” said Aigner.
“Neurodegenerative diseases are very complex, but what many people have done in last decade is focus on one particular mechanism to cure a disease. I don’t think that will ever work. If we have a drug that affects various different mechanisms then we might have a better chance,” he added.
Doug Brown, director of research and development for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know that inflammation in the brain may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and so finding ways to treat this is a potential avenue for researchers. It is encouraging that an existing treatment for asthma has been found to improve memory in older rats by reducing inflammation in the brain, yet it is much too early to say what other benefits this drug may have in people.
“The approach of repurposing existing drugs is a promising one as it could mean new treatments for dementia become available in half of the time of a standard drug – bringing hope to hundreds of thousands. Through our drug discovery programme, Alzheimer’s Society is currently co-funding a clinical trial into the arthritis drug Etanercept, which could work in a similar way by reducing inflammation in the brain.”
Asthma Drug Cures Ageing? October 29, 2015
An inexpensive drug used to prevent asthma attacks in children and adults may help to rejuvenate ageing brains, according to a study in rats.
Top Tips For Ageing Well April 29, 2015
An Australian article – a good read…
News we’re living longer is heartening to many of us. But the idea our extra years might not all be healthy is a sobering reality.
The great news is there’s much you can do to enhance your complete physical, mental and social wellbeing in later life, says the University of Melbourne’s Associate Professor Briony Dow, who is also director of health promotion for the National Ageing Research Institute.
“You’re ageing from the moment you’re born really,” Dow says. “Ageing healthily is not different from healthy living I guess. It’s just we’ve looked at it from the perspective of older people.”
Making certain lifestyle choices can reduce your chance of needing residential care or going to hospital. It can also help you feel safe and secure and ensure you are an active participant in life, rather than an observer on the side lines. To the extent you can control your destiny, “you’re wise if you do,” she says.
Here are Professor Dow’s top tips to maximise your chances of ageing well.
1. Keep physically active
This means aiming for at least a good half hour to an hour of moderate intensity physical activity every day, where you’re working hard enough to get a bit puffed but you can still talk. (Australian exercise guidelines also state you can settle for clocking up roughly half that amount of activity if you exercise more vigorously, where you are so puffed you can barely talk.)
This reduces your risk of a wide range of diseases but especially heart disease, our biggest killer. It can also help mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
It doesn’t have to be formal exercise: gardening, housework or walking to the shops all count. Some stretching exercises or yoga are also important for flexibility “so you can keep doing what you want to do,” Dow says. And it’s good to include some strength training, such as exercising with weights to help control weight and keep your bones strong.
“Physical activity is the most important thing, although it’s a toss up between that and giving up smoking if you’re a smoker.”
2. Don’t smoke
“If you’re a smoker, you need to stop smoking and the message is it’s never too late to do it,” Dow says.
“If you give up smoking in middle age, you’ll improve your life expectancy by 10 years. Or another way to put that is your life expectancy is reduced by 10 years if you keep smoking. But it’s not just about life expectancy. Smoking is a risk factor for all the chronic diseases, including the ones that affect your brain [Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia].”
3. Be socially active
“This is really important for both your physical health and mental health,” says Dow. “If you’re socially isolated, it’s equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
Some evidence suggests loneliness can increase your risk of premature death by as much as 30 per cent.
It may be that increased stress hormones increase the risk of heart disease, but social activity is also likely to be a form of mental stimulation that’s good for ageing brains.
Says Maree Farrow, a neuroscientist and research fellow with Alzheimer’s Australia, being socially active means “you have to think about what you’re saying and understand what [someone else] is saying. You have to understand facial expressions and body language. Lots of different parts of your brain are working.”
Social isolation can happen even when other people around, Dow points out. It’s having a real sense of connect to others that’s thought to be important.
4. Eat well and limit the booze
Eating well has a significant role to play in warding off chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.
There’s no magic food that’s going to keep your brain healthy, says Farrow but eating a varied and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables seem to be particularly important.
5. Keep your brain active
“We know from lots of research that people who do more stimulating activities throughout their life have better brain function and a lower chance of developing dementia,” says Farrow.
While there has been much emphasis on crosswords and sudoku puzzles to boost your brain, other activities you could do include taking up a second language, pursuing a course of study, reading widely or learning a musical instrument.
The research suggests it’s challenging the brain so it’s learning something new or different is what matters most.
But Dow says the publicity over the role of mental stimulation has suggested there is stronger evidence for a protective effect than there really is.
“We don’t have nearly as strong evidence as you would think from all that you read,” she says, adding that there’s more evidence exercise is important. Nonetheless, it seems to be helpful and certainly won’t hurt.
6. Have an optimistic outlook
Are you a glass half empty or glass half full person? The evidence the latter might help you fare better as you age comes from talking to older people who feel they’re doing well and asking them what they think has helped, Dow says.
As well, research has found optimists are more willing to adapt and actively participate in seeking solutions to problems and because they feel less hopelessness, they have less stress and depression. Positive people are also more likely to engage in behaviours that keep them physically healthy like eating well and exercising.
While personality type and life experiences can influence your tendency to be optimistic, you can also take matters into your own hands. “I think you can control it to some extent,” Dow says. “I think you can manage your life so you’ve always got something that is exciting for you and can keep you upbeat.”
Ageing? No Way! February 5, 2015
Ageing? No Way!
Whats the #1 cause of weight gain, joint pain and osteoporosis in men and women over the age of 50!
And It’s totally preventable 🙂
I’m dedicating to helping you improve not only your body, but your health and quality of life, the first thing I want address is something called sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia, is a greek word that means “poverty of the flesh” and can otherwise be known as “Muscle Wasting!”
Nearly everyone over the age of 30, who doesn’t know how to fight it is currently undergoing stages of sarcopenia.
In fact, did you know that between the ages of 30 and 60 the average man or woman loses 15lbs of muscle? And…
Did you also know that 1lb of muscle can burn 30-50 calories per day?
That means by your 40’s your metabolism will drop by burning 150-250 less calories per day…
By your 50’s your metabolism will drop by 300-500 calories per day…
And… by your 60’s if you don’t do anything about this, your metabolism will have reduced by 450-750 calories per day!
Looking at this information, it’s no wonder that people gain weight year after year all while feeling hopeless!
After all, by the time you’re 60, you would have to eat 450-750 less calories then you did at 30 just to maintain your.
However, sarcopenia, muscle wasting and the sever drop in your metabolism between the ages of 30 and 60 can easily be prevented and reversed if you know the right steps to take.
So, don’t blame the passage of time for your weight gain and middle age spread!
Stay active, Eat Clean and Feel Great
Stay Active – Age Well October 9, 2014
Stay Active – Age Well
Older people are challenging the stereotypical image of pensioners, says Dr Cassandra Phoenix.
1 in 6 Over 60
We live in a society that is undergoing a dramatic demographic change. As 11 million post-war baby boomers march towards retirement, more than one in six people in the UK are aged over 65. In less than 30 years it will be one in four.
Combined with changes in social convention, such as smaller families and couples having children later in life, we’re experiencing a significant shift in the makeup of our communities.
Inactive Lifestyles Detrimental
Like much of the population, older adults often live inactive lifestyles and this can have a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. Add to this a swathe of negative stereotypes about what can and can’t be done in older age – and the use of words like ‘burden’ and ‘care crisis’ – and older people could be forgiven for thinking they’ve already been condemned to the scrap heap.
As we increasingly see growing older as something to fear rather than embrace, we’re confronted with a period in our lives that’s stigmatised as a time to shut down. Commonly perceived as relics of a bygone age, older people are often viewed as being immobilised by frailty – out of touch and all too often, out of sight.
Yet the stories and experiences of many older people do not conform to these antiquated and outmoded stereotypes. They view retirement as an opportunity to explore new hobbies, activities and relationships, and could offer the key to helping us all age in a positive and active way.
Over the last two years our research team, based at the University of Exeter Medical School, has followed a group of active older adults as part of the Moving Stories project. We’ve talked to them about their pastimes, sports and hobbies, taken photos of them in action, and asked others what they think about their lifestyles and stories.
We’re hoping that by listening to their accounts of ‘moving’, we can understand how and why they’ve been able to deal with the challenges of growing older and being active that everyone faces. We also want to know what role all types of physical activity, rather than just exercise, can play in ageing well.
An incredibly broad range of people from across Cornwall signed up to take part and share their stories with us – from sea swimmers, dancers and golfers, to cyclists, walkers, bowls and badminton players. Our participants ranged in age from a positively youthful 60 to a spritely 92 and continuously conveyed their enthusiasm and desire to remain fit and active.
We’re still analysing the huge amounts of data we’ve captured, but one theme has already emerged across the majority of people we spoke to and that’s the experience of pleasure.
The importance of pleasure is under-researched in health-related areas, particularly in relation to physical activity in older age. Pleasure can take many forms but in this context we’re talking about feelings that make a person feel good, including happiness, joy, fun, and tranquillity.
Many of our participants described so-called ‘sensual’ pleasures – such as the feeling of the wind in their hair when walking outdoors, and the gliding and floating sensations of swimming through the ocean or a pool. These types of experiences show signs of the human senses connecting people with their environment and providing feelings that help contribute to happiness and wellbeing.
We found that people also drew pleasure from documenting their experiences. Whether it was through keeping a diary or writing articles for community magazines, our participants felt a sense of pleasure long after the activity had taken place. So it looks as though it’s not just the activity that can give pleasure, but what happens before and after. We think this might be an important mechanism for expanding the appeal of taking part in some form of activity.
Get Into An Active Routine
Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, the active older people in our study also described the pleasure they derived from simply having a routine.
The habitual nature of some of their activities gave them a structure that, in the absence of work, was very welcome.
The experience of pleasure seems like an important factor in how and why people stay active. It’s gives us an important insight into how we measure the impact of physical activity, showing being active is about much more than meeting recommended guidelines and preventing illness.
Through the help of our participants, we’re starting to uncover the other ways in which physical activity might enable us to ‘move’ through life ( later life in particular) in a positive, pleasurable way. We’re hoping our findings will influence the way that people are empowered to stay active. We’re working with AgeUK and Cornwall Sports Partnership to help this happen.
We’ve teamed up with TheatreScience to bring this project to life on stage. The play Moving Stories – Moving On has been inspired by interviews with our participants.
The opening performance is free and takes place in Truro on October 2. More information visit http://www.ecehh.org/events/moving-stories-theatre.
Dr Cassandra Phoenix is a researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School.
Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Stay-active-grow-older-s-recipe-ageing/story-23025927-detail/story.html#ixzz3Fd7VVVBo
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Read more at http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Stay-active-grow-older-s-recipe-ageing/story-23025927-detail/story.html#F9di2dvIcWrpL7Xs.99
Daily Walk Like Magic Pill September 17, 2014
By Telegraph Reporter
12:18AM BST 11 Sep 2014
Walking half an hour a day can prevent obesity and diabetes, lower the risk of some cancers, and relieve depression and anxiety, scientist says
Walking for half an hour a day is equivalent to taking a “magic pill” that combats ageing and prevents early death, a doctor has claimed.
Dr James Brown, from the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University, told the British Science Festival in Birmingham it could help prevent obesity and diabetes, lower the risk of some cancers, relieve depression and anxiety, increase mobility and reduce the chance of hip fractures by 40 per cent among older adults.
It also improved the ability to think and reason, slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, cut arthritic pain by half, raised energy levels, reduced fatigue and led to a 23 per cent lower risk of dying.
Dr Brown said: “All of these changes are not seen in people who run marathons; they are not seen in people who lift weights in the gym, or spend four hours running on the treadmill. These are seen in people who walk and who walk for half an hour a day.
“You can get all of these health benefits, you can get a reduction in all of these diseases that are associated with ageing, by just keeping active, by walking for half an hour a day.”
Dr Carol Holland, from Aston University’s Centre for Healthy Ageing, backed his statement, saying: “Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day can reduce your risk of age-related diseases. It can also reduce your risk of cognitive decline.”
7 Anti Ageing Foods February 8, 2014
7 Anti-Aging Foods (everyone over 40 should eat)
By Certified Nutritionist Joel Marion
If you’re over 40 and want to defy each passing year while promoting more youthful hair, nails and skin, the below 7 foods will help you stock up on some of the most powerful anti-aging nutrients around.
1. Olive Oil – Not only do the monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil support healthy arteries and a healthy heart, but olive oil also contains polyphenols, a potent anti-oxidant that may help prevent a number of age-related diseases.
Choose organic extra virgin olive oil for the most anti-aging bang for your buck.
2. Red Wine – That’s right, a glass of wine daily may indeed have a positive effect on your health due to its resveratrol content, a unique anti-oxidant that can help fight against diabetes, heart disease, and age-related memory loss.
3. Beans – The unique proteins in beans thicken and strengthen your hair cells, so you can enjoy a full head of hair as you lengthen your years. 🙂
4. Brazil Nuts – Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral which aids in the production of the anti-oxidant glutathione to help slow down the skin aging process. Just 2 nuts a day will provide you with enough selenium to reap its anti-aging benefits.
5. Tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to support heart health and healthy cholesterol levels as you age. Lycopene also acts as a natural sun block to keep skin youthful and protected from harmful UV rays.
6. Raspberries & Blueberries – These two berries contain important anti-oxidants to help offset inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to skin aging and wrinkles. Just one serving of either or these berries contains more anti-oxidants than 10 servings of most other fruits and vegetables!
7. Organic Eggs – Despite the bad rap eggs get because of their cholesterol content, which is based on completely erroneous science, eggs are rich in biotin and iron which help to promote healthy, youthful skin and hair.
Now, apart from stocking up on anti-oxidants and other anti-aging vitamins and minerals via the above foods, there is one other extremely important nutrient that you won’t find in the above foods that very well may hold the key to ULTIMATE health and longevity…
Eat Clean Train Hard Feel Great