The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) recently conducted an email survey in an effort to discover the factors that protect against loneliness with age. Not surprisingly, the results showed that those who are married are much less likely to feel lonely. However, there is another equally effective way to avoid loneliness: frequently spending time in parks. Living near a library follows closely behind; these factors both outweigh the benefits of having children or grandchildren.
A new study out of California suggests that there may be a link between chronic pain and dementia. Researchers followed 10 000 seniors for 12 years and found that those who reported moderate to severe chronic pain at the start of the study as well as two years in showed a faster cognitive decline over the course of the next 10 years than participants who reported no pain. Lead researcher Elizabeth Whitlock stated that “elderly people need to maintain their cognition to stay independent.
A recent study from the American Geriatrics Society set out to answer a number of questions about caregiving: who tends to take on the role of care partner, which groups are most often cared for, what does caregiving consist of, and what impact does caregiving have on the care partner? Making use of information gathered in the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving, researchers determined the major characteristics that care partners share. Most care partners take care of older adults that do not have dementia or another disability.
Previously, positron emission tomography (PET) scans and analyzing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by indicating the presence of amyloid plaques, which were thought to start building up long before any cognitive symptoms were evident; however, these technologies are expensive, invasive, and/or difficult to access. A neuropsychologist at the University of Southern California, Duke Han, wanted to determine whether he could use cognitive tests in correlation with the disease biomarkers to create a more practical test for screening and diagnosis.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a “national research platform that focuses on health and aging” launched in 2010 and led by McMaster University’s Parminder Raina. Data is being collected from over 50 thousand participants over a 20-year period, with the goal of understanding healthy aging. On May 29th, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that the Canadian government will be allocating 1.7 million dollars to fund 25 projects from research institutions around the country using the CLSA’s recently released baseline data.