weekly blog--one for the ages
Delaying disease and prolonging health: here's one good reason to do so!
We start at the frontline of research where dozens of studies with mice have shown that many diseases and disabilities of aging can be delayed. Drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration such as Rapamycin and Metformin have shown exceptional promise at delaying disease and prolonging health. Rapamycin is currently given to kidney transplant patients to help prevent rejection of their transplant and is also used in some cancer chemotherapy regimens, while Metformin has been taken by millions of Type 2 diabetics for six decades.
And then there is the politics of aging. The best-known, most talked-about potential presidential candidates are Bernie Sanders, 77; Joe Biden, 75; and Elizabeth Warren, 69. Dianne Feinstein is 85; Nancy Pelosi is 78. Her two deputy leaders are 78 and 79. If the Democrats take control in 2019, the head of the Financial Services Committee would presumably be the current ranking member, Maxine Waters, age 80.
Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. In 1981, the average age of a Representative was 49 and the average of a Senator was 53. Today, the average age of a Representative is 57 and the average of a Senator is 61. 18 of the 33 Senators running for reelection in 2018 will be 65 or older. 21 of the 33 Senators running for reelection in 2020 will be 65 or older.
Pass the Rapamycin and Metformin, please.
As summer fades into fall on Saturday, think of yourself as a pilot and use the two to three seconds falling to the ground to actively plan a soft landing. (HarvardMed)
What You Should Try To Do:
Researchers have identified a small molecule, β-Hydroxybutyrate, which is produced during calorie restriction or fasting that can prevent cells from becoming old. When people overeat or become obese researchers say this molecule is possibly suppressed, which would accelerate aging.
A recent study found that adults who reported frequently participating in tennis or other racket and team sports lived longer than people who were sedentary. The surprise…they also lived longer than people who took part in reliably healthy but often solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling. The results raise interesting questions about the role that social interactions might play in augmenting the benefits of exercise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half of adults and one-third of children and teens in the United States live with at least one chronic illness. In a new paper, a medical professional posits that most chronic illnesses are caused by the biological reaction to an injury. The illness occurs because the body is unable to complete the healing process. Consequently, the researcher suggests science may be on the cusp of treatments directed at the underlying processes that block the healing cycle.
It’s easy to understand the political appeal of “Medicare-for-all, but scratch beyond the slogan and “Medicare-for-all” starts to raise more questions than it answers. If you look at the actual plans forwarded by progressive groups supporting universal coverage, you’ll find a range of ideas—from quickly replacing private health care with a government-run health system to slowly moving toward a hybrid scenario in which universal government insurance coexists with a private market.
The bottom line is that Medicare is nothing like the big single-payer programs typically envisioned by supporters. Rather, it’s a lot like the rest of American health care: bewilderingly complex, stitched together financially with premiums and other out-of-pocket costs, and heavily dependent on the existing landscape of private insurance companies. Extending it to “all” could mean expanding the current patchwork quilt into an even bigger hybrid, or jettisoning it for an entirely government-run system, or something in the middle.
Our Founding Fathers could have hardly envisioned Supreme Court justices staying on well into their 80s, or waiting to retire during a presidential term so a successor could be chosen to carry on their legacy. Back in their day, life tenure simply meant guaranteeing federal judges lifetime appointments to insulate them from politics. How things have changed!
Supreme Court justices by the numbers:
Compared with 47 appointments in the last 100 years, one recent analysis estimated that only 25 justices will be chosen during the next 100 years. The bottom line: age, health and the Supreme Court have become intertwined with each nomination becoming more crucial, and the political battles more heated. Adding to the mix…an incentive for the president to choose younger nominees who can spend decades influencing Court decisions.
Of note…Most US states have term or age limits for its judges--generally between 70 and 75. Vermont’s age limit is 90.