Author: Sondra Forsyth

Pets

Do Therapy Animals Really Help Patients?

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While many people have an opinion on whether animals can help to improve wellbeing and care for patients in hospitals, does anyone really know whether there are benefits both for the patients and the animals themselves?

Aging Well
Spiritual Health
Well-being

Religion + Spirituality = Healthier Aging

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Religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health as we age, according to research done at Oregon State University and published in March 2014 in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. A release from OSU quotes gerontology professor Carolyn Aldwin, director of OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research, as saying, “Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates your emotions, how you feel.”  

Marriage

Marriage Not as Heart-Healthy at 50+

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People who are married have lower rates of several cardiovascular diseases compared with those who are single, divorced or widowed, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session in March 2014 in Washington D.C. However, Boomers and Beyond take note: The relationship between marriage and lower odds of vascular diseases is especially pronounced before age 50. For people aged 50 and younger, marriage is associated with 12 percent lower odds of any vascular disease.

Caregiving

Adult Day Care A Boon for Caregivers

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Family caregivers show an increase in the beneficial stress hormone DHEA-S on days when they use an adult day care service for their relatives with dementia, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin. A release from Penn explains that DHEA-S controls the harmful effects of cortisol and is associated with better long-term health.

Marriage

For Older Couples, Husband’s Health & Happiness Is Crucial

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A husband’s agreeable personality and good health appear crucial to preventing conflict among older couples who have been together a long time, according to a release written by Jann Ingmire about a study done at the University of Chicago and published in March 2014 in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The researchers found that the health and happiness of wives play less of a role in limiting marital conflict, perhaps because of different expectations among women and men in durable relationships.

Parenting

Helping Grown Kids Can Boost Mental Health

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All the negative press about “boomerang kids” aside, helping your adult children in various ways may actually be an antidote to depression as you age. That’s the finding of a team of researchers at Penn State, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan. The results are published in the February 2014 issue of The Gerontologist.

Widowhood

Bereavement Ups Heart Attack & Stroke Risk

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We really can die of a broken heart – or at least suffer serious adverse health events. The risk of having a heart attack or stroke increases significantly during the 30 days after a partner's death, according to a study done at St. Georges College in London and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 24th 2014.

Aging Well
Senior Health
Stress Management
Stress-Free Living

Stress Hormone Linked to Frailty

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Low levels of cortisol in the morning and high levels in the evening are associated with declining grip strength and walking speed, which are indications of frailty in older adults. That is the finding of research done at Helmholtz Zentrum München in Neuherberg in Germany and published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Marriage

Happy Couples Can Resolve Fights

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Just in time for Valentine’ s Day 2014, Baylor University psychologist Keith Sanford, Ph.D. reports that being critical, angry, and defensive isn't always a bad thing for couples having a big disagreement — provided they are in a satisfying relationship. In that case, they likely will have a "big resolution" regardless of how negative they were during the discussion, according to his study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.  

Marriage

Double Dating Keeps Romance Alive

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit have found that going on a double date may be more effective at reigniting passion in your own relationship than the classic candlelit dinner for two. That result appears to be because striking up a friendship with another couple in which you discuss personal details of your life will bring you closer to your own partner. The study will be presented the week of February 10th 2014 at the annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Austin, Texas.

Aging Well
Well-being

Feeling in Control Can Increase Longevity

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People who feel in control and believe they can achieve goals despite hardships are more likely to live longer and healthier lives, especially among those with less education, according to a study by Brandeis University and the University of Rochester and published online in the Journal of Health Psychology. Previous studies have shown that people with a high school diploma or less education tend to die younger than those with a college degree or graduate training. Yet, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Why? 

Brain Health
Mental & Emotional Health
Stress Management
Stress-Free Living

Nature’s Balm for the Stressed Brain

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New findings on nociception, a system in the brain that naturally moderates the effects of stress, shows promise for the development of therapies for anxiety and addiction. Collaborating scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Camerino in Italy published their results in the January 8th in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Breast Cancer

Stopping Breast Cancer Metastasis

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Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in salt Lake City have discovered a cellular mechanism that drives the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body, as well as a therapy which blocks that metastisis. The research results were published online in the journal Cell Reports on January 2nd 2014.

Pain Management

Chinese Medicine for Chronic Pain

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Corydalis, a plant used for centuries in Chinese medicine, may be just what we in the West need to relieve chronic pain, according toa study done at the University of California-Irvine and published in the journal Current Biology on January 2nd 2014. A key pain-relieving ingredient is a compound known as dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) found in the roots of the flowering plant, which is a member of the poppy family. 

Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias

ThirdAge Health Close-Up: NPH, the Curable Dementia

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By Sondra Forsyth During 2004, when Alicia Harper was 69, her husband began to notice heartbreaking changes in the way his smart, vibrant wife was behaving. "She was becoming disconnected," Nildo, now 83, says. "She was confused and always forgetting things. And when we would visit with any of our four children and eight grandchildren, she didn't seem to feel anything for them. I just assumed she had the beginnings of Alzheimer's disease. I took her to several doctors and they thought so, too."

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