Running – Even a Little — Helps You Live Longer

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Even a little running on a regular basis can extend your life, Australian researchers say.

They analyzed 14 studies that included more than 232,000 people whose health was tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During the study periods, nearly 26,000 participants died.

The collective data showed that any amount of running was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.

Even as little as 50 minutes of running once a week at a pace slower than 6 mph appeared to be protective, according to the authors of the study published online Nov. 4 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

They said that makes running a good option for people who say they are too busy to exercise.

The reasons running is associated with a reduced risk of premature death are unclear, and the study doesn’t establish cause and effect, said lead researcher Zeljko Pediscic. He’s an associate professor of public health at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

His team also noted that the number of studies analyzed was small and considerable variation in their methods may have influenced the results.

Even so, any amount of running is better than none, the authors suggested.

“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” they concluded in a journal news release.

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SOURCE:British Journal of Sports Medicine, news release, Nov. 4, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Tying the Knot Is Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data Shows

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

The age-adjusted death rate for the married declined by 7% between 2010 and 2017, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Not only is the rate for married lower, but it’s declining more than any other group,” said lead author Sally Curtin, an NCHS statistician.

Statistically, death rate is the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. It’s adjusted so that a 26-year-old and an 80-year-old married or widowed or divorced are on equal footing.

The new study reported that the death rate for never-marrieds declined only 2%, while that for divorced people hasn’t changed at all.

Worst off were the widowed, for whom the death rate rose 6%. They have the highest death rate of all the categories, researchers said.

Married men in 2017 had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 2,239 for widowers. The death rate was 1,735 per 100,000 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men.

Married women had a death rate of 569 per 100,000, two-and-a-half times lower than the 1,482 rate for widows. The death rate was 1,096 for divorcees and 1,166 for never-married women.

Part of the marriage benefit could be explained by the fact that people in good health are more likely to marry, said Katherine Ornstein, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Once you’re in a marriage, there are a host of tangible and intangible benefits that give you a health advantage, experts said.

Married people are more likely to have health insurance, Ornstein said, and therefore, have better access to health care.

Being married also means you have someone looking out for you and reinforcing healthy behaviors, said Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.


“Having somebody there who’s your spouse will tend to promote positive health behaviors — going to the doctor, eating better, getting screened,” he said.

This is particularly true of men, who previous studies have shown derive more health benefits from marriage than women.

“Men tend to have fewer skills than women in terms of looking after themselves,” Rendall said.

Finally, the companionship of marriage staves off health problems associated with loneliness and isolation, Ornstein said.

“Social support and the social engagement that comes with being married is a huge benefit for mental health and physical health,” she said.

All these benefits also explain why widowed people tend to do so badly after the death of their spouse, Ornstein said.

Widows and widowers have to deal with heartache, loneliness and financial stress, she said. They no longer have a partner looking after them, so they are more likely to neglect their health.

The study found some gender differences in trends.

While the death rate for married men and women declined by the same 7%, women’s overall death rate was much lower.

But the death rates among men in all other marital categories remained essentially the same between 2010 and 2017, researchers found.

On the other hand, the death rate for widowed women rose 5%, while the rate for never-married women declined by 3% and remained stable for divorced women.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Sally Curtin, M.A., statistician, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Hyattsville, Md.; Katherine Ornstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, geriatrics and palliative medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Michael Rendall, Ph.D., director, Maryland Population Research Center, and sociologist, University of Maryland, College Park; NCHS’sHealth E-Stats, Oct. 10, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Longer Rx for Birth Control Pills a Smart Idea for Female Vets: Study

FRIDAY, July 19, 2019 — Giving U.S. female military veterans a year’s supply of birth control pills would reduce their risk of unwanted pregnancies and lower health care costs, a new study finds.

The researchers also found that the health care cost savings would more than outweigh the expense of providing birth control pills in larger quantities.

Specifically, among the approximately 24,000 women receiving birth control pills from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), offering a year’s supply of pills would prevent 583 unintended pregnancies and save the agency about $ 2 million a year in prenatal, birth and newborn care costs.

Currently, the VA doesn’t offer the option of dispensing a 12-month supply, but 17 states and the District of Columbia laws require insurers to cover a year’s supply of contraceptives.

“Medication dispensing limits are thought to be cost-saving because you’re not wasting pills and medicines that people aren’t going to use,” said lead author Dr. Colleen Judge-Golden, from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

“Our analysis shows that concerns about wastage of contraceptive pills are overshadowed by the potential consequences of missed refills, and especially of unintended pregnancies,” Judge-Golden said in a university news release.

VA data shows that 43% of female veterans who receive three-month increments of birth control pills have at least one gap between refills over the course of a year of use.

Women outside the VA who get a year’s worth of birth control pills at a time have fewer gaps and fewer unintended pregnancies, according to the study authors.

“We see extended contraceptive dispensing as a win-win, promoting women’s health and women’s autonomy to use birth control as they decide, while also being economically sustainable for the VA,” Judge-Golden said.

The study was published recently in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about birth control methods.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019 – Daily MedNews

Longer Grass Won’t Attract Ticks, Study Finds

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — You now have an excuse to skip cutting the grass every weekend — it’s beneficial for the bees.

And mowing your lawn less often to provide native bees a better habitat won’t lead to an increase in disease-carrying ticks, experts say.

When research ecologist Susannah Lerman began urging friends and colleagues to leave lawns a bit longer to help the bees, the “first thing people said was that letting the grass get longer would invite ticks,” she recalled.

“It was clear that before we could make the case for promoting lawns as bee habitat, we had to understand the tick risk,” Lerman added.

She and Vince D’Amico, a fellow USDA Forest Service research entomologist, studied whether less frequent mowing of 16 residential lawns in Springfield, Mass., over two summers could benefit native bees without increasing the risk of ticks.

The researchers found 111 bee species on the lawns — about one-quarter of all known bee species in Massachusetts. They also dragged a cloth across the lawns in search of ticks. In 144 tick drags, done with grass at various heights and mowing frequencies, they failed to find a single blacklegged tick. Also called deer ticks, the insects can carry Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can make people seriously ill.

The study was published online April 3 in the journal PLoS One.

The researchers said the study has some “obvious limitations” — they looked for only one species of tick and only studied 16 lawns in a single city.

“Still,” Lerman said, “our study has two significant take-aways: you do not necessarily invite ticks if you mow the lawn every other week instead of every week, and common assumptions about nature are always worth investigating; scientists may be surprised by what we find.”

While there’s no doubt that blacklegged ticks lurk in people’s yards, a lawn is probably too dry for them, according to D’Amico.

“This species needs near 100% humidity for at least part of the day,” he explained in a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service news release. “Where we have leaf litter, the ticks do very well.”

In the United States, about 40 million acres of lawn managed by homeowners, businesses, government agencies and cemeteries have the potential to become habitat for threatened native bee species.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Northern Research Station, news release, April 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Common MS Drug Can Bring Longer, Healthier Life

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An older but still common multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment has an unexpected perk: It not only quells symptoms, but patients may also live longer.

New research revealed that patients taking a beta interferon drug for more than three years were likely to live longer than those who took one for a shorter time or who didn’t take one at all.

“This study was the first and largest of its kind, and we found that a commonly used drug for MS may prolong life,” said the study’s senior author, Helen Tremlett. She’s the Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Beta interferon drugs include Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Plegridy and Rebif. Beta interferons were the first disease-modifying drugs available to treat MS. They were introduced in the 1990s to treat relapsing MS. Newer medications are now available, but beta interferons are still widely used, the study authors noted.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The symptoms include muscle weakness, trouble with coordination and balance, visual disturbances and problems with thinking and memory. MS can shorten life span an average of six years or more, the study authors said.

Dr. Nicholas LaRocca is vice president of Health Care Delivery and Policy Research for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He explained that, in MS, “tissues in the central nervous system are attacked by the immune system. Beta interferon modulates the immune system, trying to bring the immune system back into balance.”

But exactly how it does so still isn’t clear, Tremlett said. It’s also not clear exactly how beta interferons might improve survival, and the study could not prove cause and effect.

The study was challenging because the researchers needed a large group of people and health information over a long period of time. They relied on two databases with information on nearly 6,000 people with MS — one in Canada and one in France. The Canadian information spanned 1980 through 2004, and the French, 1976 through 2013.


The researchers compared 742 people who died during the study period with those who did not.

The study participants hadn’t received drug treatments before the study began. Their average age at the start was 42. Those who died during the study were 61, on average.

Tremlett said the survival benefit of beta interferons was seen in both the Canadian and the French groups. Findings were similar for men and women.

According to LaRocca, “Beta interferon was the very first of the disease-modifying drugs. There are an additional 14 drugs on the market now. These findings indicate that treatment with beta interferon was associated with a lower risk of mortality.”

Newer medications tend to be more expensive, though beta interferons can also be costly, he added.

“The treatment landscape in MS is very complex, and the course of treatment isn’t 100 percent determined by a patient and physician. Sometimes people may have to try older drugs first,” LaRocca said.

Overall, though, he said, “We’ve been very fortunate in MS because we’ve been able to develop so many new treatments, and life expectancy has increased.”

Funding for the study was provided by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Fondation ARSEP, an MS organization in France. The researchers recently received funding from the Canadian Health Institute for a similar study with newer MS medications, Tremlett said.

The study was published March 18 in the journal Brain.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Helen Tremlett, Ph.D., professor and Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Nicholas LaRocca, Ph.D., vice president of health care delivery and policy research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society; March 18, 2019,Brain

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Is 100 the New 80? What’s It Take to Live Longer?

Laura Bridges celebrated her 100th birthday this month. The year she was born in rural Oglethorpe County, GA, the flu killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. As a result, U.S. life expectancy that year was just 36 years for a man and 42 for a woman. The following year, life expectancy rose back up to the more typical 55.

These days, while statistical life expectancy in the U.S. is about 80 years, living well into one’s 80s or 90s is a perfectly realistic expectation for many. Even centenarians — people who are 100 years old or more — are on the rise. In 2015, some 72,000 Americans were centenarians. That’s a whopping 43% increase from just 50,000 in 2000.

As centenarians’ numbers grow, researchers want to know what separates them from those who live the average, expected 80 years. Of course, you can’t underestimate the value of exercise, a good diet, and other healthy choices. But studies show genes are pretty important, too. So do you have to win the genetic lottery to live a whole century? Or can science unlock the secret to spreading the genetic wealth?

The Case for Genes

Asked if she expected to live a hundred years, Bridges says, “Sure! I take after my grandmother.” Bridges has in fact outlived her grandmother, who lived to be 99. Her sister Virginia lived to 99 as well. Another sister, Dot, is 90.

Longevity runs in families, which has led scientists to search for the genes that might give some a chronological edge.

“Several genes have been identified,” says Sofiya Milman, MD, director of human longevity studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. “Most [long-lived people in our research] have a few of these genes, but not all of them. And there are probably many more genes we can discover.”

Longevity researchers like Milman aren’t just studying people who live to a very old age, but people who age very well. After all, if you want to live to an exceptionally old age, you’re probably interested in more than just extra years. You want to enjoy those extra years with a sharp mind and good physical health.

The SuperAging Study, an ongoing clinical trial at Northwestern University, includes people who are older than 80 but still have the memory of someone in their 50s. It’s not such a tall order. Exceptionally old age and exceptionally good health for that age, both in body and brain, seem to go hand in hand. “We think they might be on a different trajectory of aging,” says Emily Rogalski, PhD, who leads the SuperAging Study.

The trial compares super-agers’ brains to the brains of average-agers — people whose overall health and memory align with their age. Super agers’ brains, the study has found, look more like the brains of 50-year-olds than like the brains of 80-year-old average-agers.

Other studies support the idea of a slower biological clock as well. In a study that compared older adults ages 95 to 112 with much-younger older adults, many of the exceptionally long-lived people developed age-related illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke, up to 24 years after the average age for developing these conditions.

“They don’t just live longer, they live healthier, and maybe that’s why they live longer,” Milman says. A follow-up to this study found that children of long-lived people tend to have lower rates of age-related diseases, too.

Bridges has enjoyed a disease-free life herself. She lived independently in the home she purchased with her husband, Joseph “Joe” Bridges, in the Atlanta suburb Doraville in 1962 until she was 98. When she began to show signs of dementia at 98, some 20 years after the average age it develops, her son moved her to an assisted living facility.

Researchers have begun to identify genes that might contribute to the slower aging Bridges and others like her enjoy. In some cases, the gene’s function explains why it might extend life. For example, one gene variant common in exceptionally long-lived people is connected to higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Another, also connected with higher HDL, seems to come with better overall health of the arteries. A couple of other genes associated with longevity appear to regulate inflammation and oxidative stress, a type of cumulative damage to the cells. Both are precursors to many age-related chronic diseases. Researchers have found other genes that seem to be common in centenarians or other long-lived people, though they don’t know what those genes do.

The Case for Lifestyle

Of course, genes don’t explain everything. They don’t tell scientists why life span, and the number of centenarians, has increased so much in the last 100 years.

“We’ve extended life expectancy almost a third of a century [in that time], and that’s mostly from environment,” says Claudia Kawas, MD, who co-leads The 90+ Study at University of California Irvine. The study explores aging well and dementia in people 90 years old and up.

Kawas notes that improvements in public health, such as reduced pollution, discovery of antibiotics, development of vaccines, i

mprovement in education, and lifestyle changes have all added to life expectancy. In the last 20 years, aggressive treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol have helped, too.

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, former director of the CDC, credits public health advancements with 25 of the 30 years that lifespan has increased in the U.S. in the last century. It’s due to ongoing scientific, medical, and public health advancements, and lifespan is expected to increase. Half the children born in the U.S. in 2000 could live to be 103 years old, projections say. Genes may account for only a quarter to a third of human lifespan. When you choose a lifestyle that promotes longevity, you could reap many of the same benefits as those who hit the genetic jackpot at birth.

Keeping up with your friends seems to contribute to aging well, too. Bridges has held on to the same two gal pals since 1962. “I’ve got Eleanor and I’ve got Betty,” she says. The three moved to the same street in Doraville within a month of one another in 1962, saw each other through the deaths of their husbands, all within in the same 6 months, and continued to visit as often as they could until Betty passed away last year.

The super-agers in the Northwestern University study say that they have more satisfying, high-quality relationships than their average-ager peers. They are more likely to say they have friends they can trust and who share their interests.

“When you’re staying in touch with your friends, deciding to go out to lunch rather than stay at home, maybe in addition to making you feel good, that’s doing something good for your brain, too,” Rogalski says.

Maybe all of these things — a healthy lifestyle, rewarding relationships — make a person happy. Or maybe happy people seek out these things. Either way, happiness seems to be a predictor of longevity. In a study that followed more than 31,000 adults for 24 years, those who rated themselves “very happy” were less likely to die during the study than those who called themselves “pretty happy” or “not happy.”

Asked for her secrets to a long, healthy life, Bridges offers with a shrug that maybe it’s the vegetables she’s eaten a lot of. She’s exercised from time to time, she adds, never smoked or drank, and she’s worked hard. “And I’m happy,” she adds. “I’ve always been happy.”

Leveling the Genetic Playing Field

Bridges, like many others her age, may simply have a genetic edge over others in the race to live the longest — and the best. “I don’t know why I’m living so long,” she laughs. “I can’t figure that one out.” Those who aren’t so lucky will have to pick up the slack with plenty of leafy greens and exercise, and a life that’s heavy on friends and free of tobacco.

But one day, what scientists learn now from the genetically lucky could give everyone a boost. If aging at a slower pace protects the exceptionally old from many diseases at once, how can science slow the ticking of average-agers’ clocks, too?

Currently, scientists attack age-related, chronic diseases in the same way they attacked contagious illnesses 100 years ago: one by one. That worked for contagious conditions, but that’s not the right approach for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, says Jay Olshansky, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he studies centenarians. “When you reduced infectious diseases, you got decades of life in return, but we only get marginal improvements in longevity when we make [improvements in] the major diseases that kill us today.”

That’s because when you reduce the risk of death from one age-related disease, something else takes its place. “If you cure cancer or heart disease,” Olshansky says, “you’re going to get more people with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The solution? Slow the aging process to reduce risk of all age-related diseases rather than just one. In much the same way that many new cancer therapies target the gene that causes the cancer, new drugs could one day switch certain genes on or off to help average-agers live longer, disease-free lives.

Current research explores the possibility for targeted therapies, as well as other drugs, to slow the aging process. One good candidate is metformin, a safe, cheap medication for type 2 diabetes that’s been in use for more than 50 years. Studies suggest that it delays aging in animals. The TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) trial, expected to launch late this year or early next year, will be the first clinical trial to test the hypothesis in people.

“A minor intervention that slows aging would be bigger than a cure for cancer,” says Olshansky, “because it would influence more than just cancer. It would influence heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, everything that goes wrong with us. If we could slow aging, our world would change in very positive ways.”


Laura Bridges, centenarian.

Sofiya Milman, MD, director of human longevity studies, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Emily Rogalski, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.

Claudia Kawas, MD, professor of neurology and of neurobiology and behavior, University of California, Irvine.

Jay Olshansky, PhD, professor of public health, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, former director of the CDC.

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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‘Right’ Amount of Carbs May Help You Live Longer

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) — You’ve probably heard about the high-carb diet and the low-carb diet, but a new study suggests a moderate-carb diet could be the key to longevity.

Researchers followed more than 15,000 people in the United States for a median of 25 years and found that low-carb diets (fewer than 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates) and high-carb diets (more than 70 percent of calories) were associated with an increased risk of premature death.

Moderate consumption of carbohydrates (50 to 55 percent of calories) was associated with the lowest risk of early death.

“This work provides the most comprehensive study of carbohydrate intake that has been done to date, and helps us better understand the relationship between the specific components of diet and long-term health,” said senior study author Dr. Scott Solomon, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The researchers estimated that from age 50, people eating a moderate-carb diet would live another 33 years, four years longer than those with very low carb consumption, and one year longer than those with high carb consumption.

The investigators also found that all low-carb diets may not be equal. Eating more animal-based proteins and fats from foods like beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese instead of carbohydrates was associated with a greater risk of early death, while eating more plant-based proteins and fats from foods such as vegetables, legumes, and nuts lowered the risk.

The study authors noted, however, that the participants’ eating habits were self-reported and only assessed at the start of the study and six years later. Their eating habits could have changed over 25 years, which might affect the link between carbohydrate intake and longevity, the scientists explained.

The researchers also analyzed data from more than 432,000 people in more than 20 countries and found that those with high and low carbohydrate intake had shorter life expectancy than those with moderate carbohydrate intake.

The results of the study were published Aug. 16 in The Lancet Public Health journal.


Because this was an observational study, it could not prove cause and effect.

“While a randomized trial has not been performed to compare the longer-term effects of different types of low-carbohydrate diets, these data suggest that shifting towards a more plant-based consumption” is likely to help prevent major deadly diseases, Solomon said in a news release from the journal.

According to study leader Dr. Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy.”

However, she said, “our data suggests that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.”

Seidelmann suggested that, “instead, if one chooses to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy aging in the long term.”

Two experts who wrote an editorial accompanying the study added a note of caution.

“Such differences in risk associated with extreme differences in intake of a nutrient are plausible, but observational studies cannot completely exclude residual confounders when the apparent differences are so modest,” according to Andrew Mente and Salim Yusuf, of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

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SOURCE:The Lancet Public Health, news release, Aug. 16, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Walk Briskly to a Longer Life

FRIDAY, June 1, 2018 — You might want to pick up the pace when you head out for a stroll, suggests a new study that found that doing so may lengthen your life.

In fact, compared with a slow pace, walking at an average pace appeared to reduce the risk of dying early 20 percent, while a faster pace seemed to cut the risk by 24 percent, the researchers said.

“A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres [three to four miles] per hour, but it really depends on a walker’s fitness levels; an alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained,” said researcher Emmanuel Stamatakis. He’s from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center and School of Public Health, in Australia.

The researchers also found that people seemed to cut their risk of dying early from heart disease by 24 percent by walking at an average pace and 21 percent by walking at a fast pace, compared with walking at a slow pace.

Moreover, the benefit of brisk walking was particularly pronounced among older adults.

Those 60 or over who walked at an average pace had a 46 percent reduction in risk of early death from heart disease, and fast-paced walkers had a 53 percent reduction, the report suggested.

But the researchers did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between walking pace and premature death risk, just that there was an association.

For the study, Stamatakis and colleagues analyzed death records and linked them with the results of 11 surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008. In those surveys, people reported their walking pace.

The researchers adjusted these findings for factors such as the amount and intensity of all physical activity, age, sex and body mass index (a measurement based on height and weight).

“While sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. There was no evidence to suggest pace had a significant influence on cancer mortality, however,” Stamatakis said in a university news release.

“These analyses suggest that increasing walking pace may be a straightforward way for people to improve heart health and risk for premature mortality,” he added.

“Especially in situations when walking more isn’t possible due to time pressures or a less walking-friendly environment, walking faster may be a good option to get the heart rate up — one that most people can easily incorporate into their lives,” Stamatakis said.

The report was published June 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

More information

For more on the benefits of walking, visit Harvard Medical School.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2018 – Daily MedNews

Study: Weekend Sleep-Ins May Help You Live Longer

May 29, 2018 — New research is trying to put to bed the idea that too little sleep during weekdays can’t be counteracted by a longer sleep during weekends.

A study of nearly 40,000 people showed that for people younger than 65, getting an average of 5 hours or less of sleep per night over the weekend increased the odds of death by 52%, compared with getting at least 7 hours of sleep.

Having short sleep on both the weekdays and weekend, as well as having long sleep at both times, also raised the risk in this age group.

But the death rate among people who got less sleep during week and more sleep on the weekends did not differ a whole lot from those who averaged 7 hours per night.

“Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep,” write the investigators, led by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience in Stockholm, Sweden. But they say more research is needed.

There were no significant links between sleep and risk of death in people 65 or older.

No U-Shape?

“Previous studies have found a ‘U-shaped relationship’ between mortality and (weekday) sleep duration,” the investigators write. This means “both short and long sleep [was] associated with higher mortality,” they add.

But study results have been inconsistent, they say, especially when it comes to measuring weekday or weekend sleep.

In the current study, the researchers studied 43,880 people in the Swedish National March Cohort, all of whom filled out a 36-page questionnaire on lifestyle and medical history. Of those, 38,015 people were followed for 13 years (October 1997 through December 2010).

They were placed into subgroups based on average sleep at the beginning of the study, from “short” (less than 5 hours per night) to “long” (more than 9 hours per night). A reference group received 7 hours of sleep regularly.

‘Speculative’ Results?

There was a 65% higher death rate for people who regularly slept less than 5 hours on all nights, compared with people who regularly slept 6 to 7 hours per night. There was a 25% higher death rate for people who averaged 8 hours or more of sleep on all nights.

The suggestion that sleeping more hours over the weekend may compensate for staying up late during the week, at least in the younger age group, appears to differ from past research, the investigators say. But they point out that this is probably because “previous work has focused on weekday sleep only.”

The study was funded by AFA Insurance and the Italian Institute of Stockholm, Sweden. The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Medscape Medical News

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Why Americans’ Life Expectancy Is Getting Longer

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Americans appear to be aging slower than they used to, which may help explain recent gains in life expectancy, researchers say.

The researchers compared how biological age changed in the United States compared to age in years (chronological age). For the study, the investigators looked at national health surveys conducted 1988-1994 and 2007-2010.

“This is the first evidence we have of delayed ‘aging’ among a national sample of Americans,” study senior author Eileen Crimmins said in a University of Southern California news release. Crimmins is a professor of gerontology at USC.

The study suggests that the explanation for recent gains in life expectancy goes beyond simply keeping sick people alive.

To calculate biological age, the researchers used several benchmarks for metabolism, inflammation, organ function, blood pressure and breath capacity.

While all age groups had a decrease in biological age, not all people were faring the same.

Older adults had the greatest decreases in biological age, and men had greater declines than women.

These differences were partially explained by changes in smoking, obesity rates and medication use, according to the study, which was published recently in the journal Demography.

Lead author Morgan Levine is an assistant professor at Yale University’s Center for Research on Aging.

“While improvements may take time to manifest, and thus are more apparent at older ages, this could also signal problems for younger cohorts, particularly females, who — if their improvements are more minimal — may not see the same gains in life expectancy as experienced by the generations that came before them,” Levine said.

The findings suggest that improving healthy behaviors and using prescription medications will have significant effects on Americans’ health.

But the researchers noted that the pace of aging and increasing life expectancy could also have big social and economic consequences.

“Life extension without changing the aging rate will have detrimental implications. Medical care costs will rise, as people spend a higher proportion of their lives with disease and disability,” Levine said.

But, she added, extending life span by slowing down the aging process should reduce health care costs and lead to higher productivity and greater well-being.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, March 2018

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Want to Live Longer? Eating Less Might Be the Key

By Dennis Thompson


         HealthDay Reporter        

THURSDAY, March 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Putting just a bit less on your dinner plate each day might be key to a longer life, preliminary research suggests.

People who reduced their caloric intake by just 15 percent over two years experienced a significant decrease in their metabolism, according to a small  clinical trial.

These folks also saw improvements in biomarkers associated with slower aging and longer life span, said lead researcher Leanne Redman. She’s an associate professor of clinical sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research in Baton Rouge, La.

Specifically, they developed a lower core body temperature, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and significant drops in hormones that moderate metabolism, researchers reported.

“We know these things are lower in people who live longer lives,” Redman said.

Aging studies in animals have tied lower calorie intake to longer lives, but this is the first clinical trial to bridge the gap between animals and humans, said Rozalyn Anderson, an expert with the American Federation for Aging Research who reviewed the findings.

“So much of what they’re reporting is entirely consistent with what we’ve seen in our monkey studies,” said Anderson, an associate professor who studies aging and calorie restriction at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“We’ve got a match between the monkeys and the humans, and that’s absolutely brilliant. This is a really neat gap to have closed in terms of aging biology,” she said.

For this trial, Redman’s team recruited 34 healthy people with an average age of 40 to follow a calorie-restricted diet for two years.

Researchers taught the study participants how to cut 25 percent of their daily caloric intake using three different models of a healthy diet, Redman said. The participants then were free to follow their diet by any means they chose.

“On their own, they achieved a 15 percent reduction in calorie intake that was sustained for the two years, which is pretty remarkable,” Redman said.

On average, the group lost about 20 pounds, mostly in the first year, even though half entered the study at normal weight and the rest were only modestly overweight, Redman said.


Tests showed changes in metabolism and body processes mirroring those that have been linked to longer life span in animals and people, Redman said. The participants also had a significant reduction in oxidative stress related to their lowered metabolism.

The researchers said this offers support to controversial theories linking high metabolism and increased oxidative stress to faster aging.

“When we make energy, we have byproducts of metabolism, and these byproducts called oxygen radicals accumulate in the body and cause damage to cells and tissues,” Redman said. Such damage can cause cells to age faster and contribute to diseases like cancer.

Anderson isn’t so sure that’s the best explanation.

She noted that lab studies in mice have shown that damage done by oxidative stress has no effect on overall life span.

Anderson thinks lower calorie intake prompts the body to use energy more efficiently, and that somehow results in benefits for aging.

“We know, for example, there’s a really tight connection that we don’t understand between fasting and resilience — the ability to stand up against distress,” Anderson said.

People who want to try to eat less in an attempt to live longer should focus on portion size while following a healthy and well-balanced diet, Redman said.

They should aim for lowering calorie intake by 25 percent, with the understanding that they will probably fall short of the goal, Redman said. They shouldn’t be discouraged if they don’t keep losing weight long-term.

“The goal is not to lose weight. The goal is to have this sustained lower intake,” Redman said.

Anderson doubts such an eating pattern can be sustained.

“I’d never recommend anyone doing calorie restriction,” Anderson said. “I think it’s too hard. The reason we even look at it at all is to understand aging, not because we’d ever want anyone to do it. People can’t even cut their calories down to normal food intake.”

Calorie restriction offers a window into the aging process, because it works to slow aging in animals, she said. Through this, researchers hope to gain insight into how aging occurs so they can address those processes through better means than a severely restricted diet.


“We want to see what those trigger points are, and can we get at them in a different way,” Anderson said.

The study was published March 22 in the journal Cell Metabolism.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Leanne Redman, Ph.D., associate professor, clinical sciences, Pennington Biomedical Research, Baton Rouge, La.; Rozalyn Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison; March 22, 2018,Cell Metabolism

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Study: Denver No Longer a Weed Capital Once Rest of U.S. Legalizes

Denver’s status as the country’s legal cannabis capital is in jeopardy now that California has started recreational sales, but one study shows that the Mile High City wouldn’t just take a step back if the rest of the world followed suit — it would become irrelevant. There are some questions about how the study’s figures apply to Denver, though.

According to cannabis growing company Seedo, larger American cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix would be poised to see the most tax revenue if the country legalized pot, while Denver would slip down to number twelve on that list. Seedo calculated the order by studying a city’s estimated total consumption of cannabis per year and average price per gram of flower, then applying the average tax rates of legal pot and cigarettes to those figures for comparison.

Study: Denver No Longer a Weed Capital Once Rest of U.S. Legalizes


While much of the list’s order correlates with population — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix are the five biggest cities in the country — the average price per gram was noticeably lower in Denver and Seattle, which have both allowed retail sales since 2014. The study also estimated Denver’s projected revenue, but it didn’t need to, because Denver has collected actual cannabis tax revenue figures since 2014.

Although the study estimates Denver’s annual earnings at a little over $ 9 million, the City of Denver collected nearly $ 4 million from pot revenue in December 2017 alone, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue — and that was a down month compared to March through June.

The study also compared 120 different cities throughout the world to see which would see the most revenue if marijuana were legalized around the globe, and found that while New York would top the chart, Cairo would see the next-biggest boom from a green rush. Considering Egypt’s strict drug laws, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone legally lighting up a spliff next to the Great Pyramid anytime soon. Other surprising entries in the top-ten list were Moscow and Karachi, Pakistan.

Study: Denver No Longer a Weed Capital Once Rest of U.S. Legalizes


Toke of the Town

Arthritis No Longer Just a Disease of the Old

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) — More younger Americans experience the aches and pains of arthritis than once thought.

Roughly 91 million adults had arthritis in 2015. But the most surprising fact was that nearly one-third of sufferers were aged 18 to 64, a new study found.

Those estimates are 68 percent higher than previously reported, said lead researcher Dr. David Felson, a professor of medicine at Boston University.

“Arthritis is incredibly common, and we have underestimated how common it is,” he said.

This off-kilter count most likely occurred because previous research only included a doctor’s diagnosis of arthritis, Felson explained.

“It turns out that especially people under 65 who have arthritis say ‘no’ to that question, so they are never included in the estimates,” Felson said.

Obesity and stress on joints from vigorous exercise and sports are likely causes of arthritis among younger men and women. Doctors often miss arthritis in younger patients because they don’t expect to see it, Felson noted.

Keeping weight down and exercising safely are the best ways to help prevent arthritis, he suggested.

For the study, Felson and his colleague, Dr. S. Reza Jafarzadeh, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University, collected data on more than 33,600 men and women who took part in the 2015 U.S. National Health Interview Survey.

To estimate the true extent of arthritis in the United States, Felson and Jafarzadeh took into account not only people whose arthritis was diagnosed by a doctor, but also those who reported chronic joint symptoms lasting more than three months.

The investigators found that among those under 65 years of age, 19 percent of men and nearly 17 percent of women reported joint pain, although they did not have a doctor’s diagnosis of arthritis.

Among participants 65 and older, nearly 16 percent of men and almost 14 percent of women also reported joint pain without a doctor’s diagnosis.

The prevalence of arthritis was nearly 30 percent among men under 65, and 31 percent in women under 65. Among men aged 65 and older, the prevalence was nearly 56 percent, while it was 69 percent among women in the same age group, the findings showed.

The report was published online Nov. 27 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: David Felson, M.D., M.P.H., professor, medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Nov. 27, 2017,Arthritis & Rheumatology, online

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Girls’ Sports-Related Concussions May Last Longer

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sports concussion symptoms linger twice as long in teen girls as in boys, a new study finds.

“These findings confirm what many in sports medicine have believed for some time,” said lead researcher Dr. John Neidecker, a sports concussion specialist in Raleigh, N.C.

Previous research has suggested that concussions may exacerbate underlying conditions that are more prevalent in girls — migraine headaches, depression, anxiety and stress. This may explain the extended recovery period, Neidecker and his colleagues said.

The study findings were published Oct. 2 in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The results highlight “the need to take a whole person approach to managing concussions, looking beyond the injury to understand the mental and emotional impacts on recovery when symptoms persist,” Neidecker said.

Doctors should get a full patient history to uncover factors that might complicate concussion recovery in teens, he said.

“Often in this age range, issues like migraines, depression and anxiety have not yet been diagnosed,” Neidecker explained. “So, if I ask a patient whether they have one of these conditions, they’re likely to say ‘No’. But when I ask about their experiences, I get a much clearer picture.”

The research team focused on 102 girls and 110 boys, ages 11 to 18, with first-time sports concussions. Symptoms lasted a median of 28 days in girls (half more, half less) and 11 days in boys. Symptoms cleared up within three weeks in 42 percent of girls and 75 percent of boys.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE:Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, news release, Oct. 2, 2017

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Statins May Help People With COPD Live Longer


By Serena Gordon


         HealthDay Reporter        


FRIDAY, Sept. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Drugs known as statins may have benefits beyond lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. A new study suggests people with chronic lung disease who take these drugs may extend their survival.

The study from Canada included nearly 40,000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One in five patients was taking a statin, and those individuals had a 21 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, and a 45 percent reduced risk of dying from lung-related issues, the researchers found.

This study comes on the heels of a separate large-scale investigation that found no link between statin use and the number of COPD exacerbations people experienced.

“While evidence from a recently completed [randomized controlled trial] suggested that statin use is of little benefit to COPD patients, this population-based analysis showed that statin use reduced all-cause mortality among COPD patients,” wrote the study authors led by Adam Raymakers, from the University of British Columbia.

Although statins appeared to give people with COPD a survival benefit, the new study wasn’t designed to prove a definitive cause-and-effect relationship.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes progressive lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, according to the COPD Foundation. Symptoms include increasing breathlessness, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

The most common causes for these conditions include smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Workplace exposure to chemicals and fumes and genetics may also contribute to COPD.

It’s the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Approximately 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition, but many people may have it without knowing it.

Raymakers and his team noted that it’s long been known that people with COPD have inflammation in their lungs. However, it’s also possible that people with COPD — or at least some of them — may have inflammation throughout their body. Inflammation is thought to play a role in many illnesses, including heart disease.

The participants were age 50 and older from British Columbia. The researchers identified people as having COPD if they had received at least three prescriptions for COPD medications in a 12-month period.


The study team then looked to see who was also taking a statin within a year of being labeled as having COPD. Almost 20 percent had received at least one statin prescription.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for a number of factors including age, sex, income and place of residence.

There were almost 1,450 deaths during the one-year study period.

The findings were published Sept. 7 in the journal Chest.

Dr. Robert Reed, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, co-authored an accompanying editorial. “Although this is not a perfect paper, it’s really well done, and it showed this benefit to mortality,” he said.

Reed noted that some in the study may not have had COPD.

“They took people who hadn’t been on an inhaler the year before who now had a cough or shortness of breath. That could be a lot of things. They almost certainly had some late-onset asthmatics. People may have even been short of breath for cardiac reasons,” he explained.

“People with COPD have more cardiovascular disease, and treating comorbid [coexisting] conditions can really help out. The survival benefit may not be unique to COPD, but it was a pretty significant survival benefit for people with COPD,” Reed said.

Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that although study participants got a prescription for statins, it doesn’t necessarily mean they took the drugs.

“There might be a subset of COPD patients who might benefit from statin use who don’t need a statin for cardiovascular reasons, but the heart and lungs are intertwined, and it’s hard to tease out someone with COPD who doesn’t have risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” Horovitz said.

Because most people with COPD are smokers or former smokers, he said, most also have cardiovascular disease. “And that cardiovascular disease is usually reason enough to prescribe the statin,” he added.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Robert Reed, M.D., associate professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Sept. 7, 2017, Chest

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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