Feel Like The Last Friend Standing? Here’s How To Cultivate New Buds As You Age. Donn Trenner, 91, estimates that two-thirds of his friends are dead. “That’s a hard one for me,” he said. “I’ve lost a lot of people.” As baby boomers age, more and more folks will reach their 80s, 90s — and beyond. They will not only lose friends but face the daunting task of making new friends at an advanced age. Friendship in old age plays a critical role in health and wellbeing, according to recent findings from the Stanford Center on Longevity’s Sightlines Project. Socially isolated individuals face health risks comparable to those of smokers, and their mortality risk
is twice that of obese individuals, the study notes. Baby boomers are more disengaged with their neighbors and even their loved ones than any other generation, said Dr. Laura Carstensen, who is director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and herself a boomer, in her 60s. “If we’re disengaged, it’s going to be harder to make new friends,” she said. Trenner knows how that feels. In 2017, right before New Year’s, he tried to reach his longtime friend Rose Marie, former actress and co-star on the 1960s sitcom “The Dick Van
Dyke Show.” Trenner traveled with Rose Marie as a pianist and arranger doing shows at senior centers along the Florida coast more than four decades ago. “When we were performing, you could hear all the hearing aids screaming in the audience,” he joked. The news that she’d died shook him to the core. Although she was a friend who, he said, cannot be replaced, neither her passing nor the deaths of dozens of his other friends and associates will stop Trenner from making new friends.
That’s one reason he still plays, on Monday nights, with the Hartford Jazz Orchestra at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, Conn. For the past 19 years, he’s been the orchestra’s pianist and musical conductor. Often, at least one or two members of the 17-piece orchestra can’t make it to the gig but must arrange for someone to stand in for them. As a result, Trenner said, he not only has regular contact with longtime friends but keeps meeting and making friends with new musicians — most of whon are under 50….Read More
What Is Lewy Body Dementia? Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. LBD is one of the most common causes of dementia. Diagnosing LBD can be challenging. Early LBD symptoms are often confused with similar symptoms found in other brain diseases like
Alzheimer's or in psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Also, LBD can occur alone or along with other brain disorders. There are two diagnoses of LBD—dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia. The earliest signs differ but reflect the same biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinson's disease dementia may develop similar symptoms.
Who Is Affected by LBD? LBD affects more than 1 million individuals in the United States. LBD typically begins at age 50 or older, although sometimes younger people have it. LBD appears to affect slightly more men than women. LBD is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms start slowly and worsen over time. The disease lasts an average of 5 to 8 years from the time of diagnosis to death, but the time span can range from 2 to 20 years. How
quickly symptoms develop and change varies greatly from person to person, depending on overall health, age, and severity of symptoms. In the early stages of LBD, symptoms can be mild, and people can function fairly normally. As the disease advances, people with LBD require more help due to a decline in thinking and movement abilities. In the later stages of the disease, they often depend entirely on others for assistance and care….Read More
Alzheimer's: Aspirin may reduce toxic plaque A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that regular intake of low-dose aspirin may prevent Alzheimer's pathology from forming in the brain and protect the memory of those living with this form of dementia. Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia that affects 1 in 65 seniors in the United States, is characterized by a toxic buildup of a "sticky" protein fragment called beta-amyloid in the
brain. The protein aggregates in "clumps" that break down the communication between brain cells. This will trigger the brain's immune cells, which cause inflammation, eventually leading to the degeneration and death of neurons. Although the precise cause of Alzheimer's remains unknown, the "amyloid hypothesis" holds that this accumulation of amyloid is the primary cause.
A consequence that would flow naturally from the theory above is that activating or boosting the brain mechanisms for clearing up cellular waste should slow the progression of the disease. In fact, some studies have suggested that malfunctioning lysosomes — the "garbage disposals of the cell" — are the reason why amyloid beta builds up in the first place. Other studies point to an association
between aspirin use and a lower risk of Alzheimer's. New research ties these two pieces of evidence together and reveals that aspirin stimulates the waste-clearing lysosomes and reduces pathological plaque in mice. Dr. Kalipada Pahan, the Endowed Chair of Neurology and a professor of neurological sciences, biochemistry, and pharmacology at the Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL, led this study. Read More
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