agebuzz weekly

January 11th, 2018

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

Face It: Facial Exercises That Can Improve Your Appearance: For many of us, looking in the mirror is the surest sign we are getting older. Some of us accept facial changes, and even embrace them as badges of honor. On the other extreme, some of us hightail it to the closest plastic surgeon to try to inject and interrupt wherever possible on our faces. But now there may be a step in between, one that strengthens facial muscles, creates a more youthful appearance and only requires some facial exercises every day or two. In a new study out of Northwestern University and published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers studied women ages 40-65 who underwent a period of regular facial exercises designed to build up muscle growth in the face. The exercises improved facial volume and seemed to counteract the effects of thinning fat and loosening skin that often makes faces look older. Read more about this study Here. And take a look at some of these exercises, humorously entitled Happy Face Yoga, by Clicking Here

Gesundheit: How To Respond To A Harsh Flu Season: The data are in and are not encouraging: this is a harsh season for the flu virus and anyone who comes down with it. This year's H3N2 virus causes many deaths, rapidly mutates, and the vaccine in place to prevent it is less effective than past years. Read more about this year's strain Here. Seniors are especially vulnerable, and are at much higher risk of pneumonia and serious illness if they contract the flu. If you think you're safe because you typically have a healthy immune system, that may help, though seniors are at more risk, as your immune system declines with age. And even if you've already gotten the flu,you could still come down with it again this season. So what can you do?Consumer Reports has a major article detailing steps to take to fight off cold and flu season this year. Check out the report Here. And The MedShadow Foundation has a comprehensive piece on ways to protect yourself and remedies available should you come down with a major cold or flu. Read the advice Here. And take care out there.

Gadgets Galore: The Latest Tech Items For Seniors From The Consumer Electronics Show: Any of you who are tech nerds will know that this week is the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the latest and greatest tech inventions often make their public debut. As in the past, this year's show has an abundance of products that assist and support seniors as they negotiate day-to-day life. Sneakers that can sense you are falling? Wearable airbags that can cushion a fall? These are just a few of the items on display, and you can read more about them Here. One of the most noteworthy products at the show is something called an "active aging companion," (i.e., a robot) that uses artificial intelligence to learn the habits and preferences of the owner, and then makes suggestions accordingly. Read more about this real-life R2D2 Here. Finally, for those of you looking for a new gadget that has immediate, practical implications for everyday life, check out the new nightlight from the French startup company Domalys that has sensors that can detect a middle-of-the-night fall. Read more about this new product Here. No matter what your fancy, these products all underscore that our aging population is a strong driver for new innovative design.

Fight On: The Challenge To Develop Effective Alzheimer's Treatments: Receiving an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be devastating. Realizing that there are few, if any, effective treatments on the market only adds to the distress. And while research continues, it's clear the pharmaceutical industry is struggling to come up with options. Just this week Pfizer announced it's giving up its Alzheimer's research. Other drug companies continue their work, attempting to focus on more preventive efforts rather than drugs to respond once the diagnosis is made. But the reality is we are likely many years away from developing effective weapons in the fight against Alzheimer's. Recently, Terry Gross, on her Fresh Air radio show, interviewed Dr. Joseph Jebelli, author of the new book, In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's. Jebelli, a British researcher focusing on the cell biology of Alzheimer's, was driven to study the disease after he lived through his grandfather's struggle with it. In his book, Jebelli covers the history of the disease, current research and recommendations, and what's coming down the pike, including his pronouncement that he anticipates in ten years we will have much better treatment options available. With hope and candor, Jebelli discusses the state of the art of current Alzheimer's research efforts with Terry. Listen to their conversation Here.

Fall Into Place: Protecting Yourself From The Risk Of Winter Falls: It's been a difficult winter so far. The very cold and inclement weather not only puts you at risk for hypothermia, but also means you need to be extra careful while walking outside. If you're bundled up or wearing clumsy boots, you're more at risk for falling, which can be a catastrophic event for seniors. Of course, your basic and best defense is to exercise and build muscle strength to avoid a fall or at least minimize its damage. The Harvard Health Letter has some good basic tips for maintaining and boosting your balance to avoid a fall in the first place. But there are additional, precautionary steps you can take during the winter for extra protection. For example, how about carrying a baggy of kitty litter when you're outside, in case you spy an icy patch. Take a look at more practical ideas from The National Council on Aging Here. You may also have seen the recent article in the New York Times about Dutch efforts to teach seniors how not to fall, or protect themselves if they do. But you might also want to look at a new Consumer Reports story on protecting yourself from winter falls, including the suggestion to take short, flat "penguin-like" steps as a way to tread carefully. Bottom line: no matter how you do it, the goal is to stay upright and vertical.

Table Talk: New Places To Talk About The End Of Life: There's nothing like talking about death to give you a renewed sense of life...or so the hope goes. Thrive Global, the wellness publishing project of Arianna Huffington, has teamed up with Tonic, the website and digital channel addressing health and wellness from Vice Media, along with the provocatively titled Death Over Dinner website, to encourage and support people worldwide in discussing their end-of-life wishes in good conversation over food and wine. Read about this joint effort Here. In fact, on the Death Over Dinner website, you'll find all the info and ideas you need to create your own "let's talk death" dinner party. Michael Hebb, one of its founders, describes the circumstances that led to this idea in a TEDMED talk you can watch Here. But if breaking bread and talking death is not your thing, you may find that the better place to consider end-of-life wishes can be found in your spiritual home. A recent piece in Kaiser Health News featured the work of the Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, a minister, pediatrician and lecturer at Harvard's Divinity School, who has made it her mission to ensure that each of her 600 congregants fills out an advance directive and discusses his or her end-of-life choices with physicians and family members. You may find her efforts inspiring enough to bring to your own house of worship. Read more about Reverend White-Hammond's advance planning efforts Here.

THE LAST WORD: “Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important." Sara Gruen