weekly blog--one for the ages
Life expectancy in the U.S. has risen for the first time since 2014, according to new 2018 mortality data from the CDC. In 2018, the average age at death was 78.7, up slightly from 2017, and which scientists attribute to decreases in cancer mortality. U.S. life expectancy had been on a downward trend since 2014, when it was an average of 78.9 years. Heart disease was the top cause of death, followed by cancer. There was a small increase in the number of deaths by suicide and from flu and pneumonia compared to 2017.
Tips from a super saver. Use tea bags multiple times, dilute dish soap with half water so it lasts longer, wear dark clothes as light colors stain too easily, buy a very affordable home, and drive an old car. Indeed, research from TD Ameritrade, which looks at people who save 20% or more of their incomes, called “super savers”, shows that the single biggest difference between what super savers spent less on, as compared with the rest of us, was housing. Super savers spent just 14% of their incomes on housing, while regular folks dropped 23%.
One of the keys to living longer is having supportive relationships, according to the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. She says that we tend to prune our relationships as our time horizons shrink, choosing quality over quantity. This process of winnowing down social interaction with only those people who matter most, which she called the socioemotional selectivity theory, may be echoed in two 50+ consumer trends: spending on our pets and our home.
A pet can fill the gap for daily companionship for the one in three adults over age 45 who report they are chronically lonely, according to an AARP Foundation report. Several studies are showing that boomers are not relocating, but are making home modifications to facilitate aging in order to stay at home over the next 30-50 years. Some of the updates: smart thermostats, keyless entries and no step shower entries.
The secret to being happier, more productive and avoiding things that don’t matter.
A recent study found that people tend to fall into one of four biological aging pathways, or ageotypes: immune, kidney, liver or metabolic. Metabolic agers, for example, may be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes as they grow older. Immune agers may generate more inflammation, and therefore be at higher risk for immune-related disease.
It could be that liver and kidney ageotypes may be more prone to liver or kidney diseases, respectively. There are likely other pathways, such as cardio agers who may be more prone to heart attacks, for example, but this study was limited to four main aging pathways. The next step is personalized medicine for aging.
Another study concluded that drinking low-fat milk (both nonfat and 1% milk) instead of whole milk accounted for 4.5 years of less aging in adults.
This week the temperature on planet Earth was probably raised several degrees from the heat generated by people worried that the latest US-Iranian confrontation would lead to an all-out war. But did you know that since the early 19th century, the average human body temperature in the United States has dropped to 97.9 from 98.6 F.
Researchers at Stanford University observed that the body temperature of men born in the 2000s is on average 1.06 F lower than that of men born in the early 1800s. Similarly, they observed that the body temperature of women born in the 2000s is on average 0.58 F lower than that of women born in the 1890s. These calculations correspond to a decrease in body temperature of 0.05 F every decade. The 98.6 standard was established by a German physician in 1851.
According to the researchers, the decrease in average body temperature could be explained by a reduction in metabolic rate, or the amount of energy being used. They hypothesize that advances in medical treatments, better hygiene, improved standards of living, and greater availability of food reduce inflammation. Inflammation produces proteins and cytokines that increase your metabolism and raise your temperature.
The researchers also hypothesize that comfortable lives at constant ambient temperature contribute to a lower metabolic rate. Homes in the 19th century had irregular heating and no cooling; today, central heating and air conditioning are commonplace. A more constant environment removes a need to expend energy to maintain a constant body temperature.
Some of the most memorable stories from the year 2019...
Potential Dementia Vaccine, SciBlog, 12.31.19
Could Decreasing Inflammation Be the Cure for Everything, AARP, 11.8.19
A Cure For Cancer?, JeruPost, 2.1.19
More Benefits Await for Medicare Advantage Plans, Kaiser, 9.26.19
Bargain Dentistry and a Vacation Too, Kaiser, 9.3.19
Will You Be Able to Afford Long-Term Care When You Need It, NYTimes, 5.13.19
Age-Proofing A Home Won't Come Cheap, Kaiser, 10.24.19
You Are In Your 60s and Haven't Saved Enough, WSJ, 10.4.19
The Fear of Spending During Your Retirement Years, Kiplinger, 2.9.1
Having That Family Talk About Aging, Stria, 11.26.19
Caring for Mom or Building a Future, WashPost, 11.3.19
Rational Suicide, Kaiser, 6.25.19
Company Assumptions About Older Adults Are Wrong, MIT, 10.7.19
The Benefits of Working Past Age 70, LondTimes, 8.21.19
Six New Technologies for Older Adults, Aging in Place, 7.11.19