Here are few current headlines on some of my favorite topics. Enjoy!
Sex tied to better brain power
Men who were more sexually active showed higher scores on tests of memory skills and executive function — the mental processes involved in planning, solving problems and paying attention — whereas women who were more sexually active saw a higher score in their memory skills, according to the findings, published online Jan. 28 in the journal Age and Ageing.
The study shows that there is a significant association between sexual activity and cognitive function in adults over 50, said study author Hayley Wright, a researcher in cognitive aging at the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behavior and Achievement at Coventry University in England.
The researchers looked at data collected from more than 6,800 men and women ages 50 to 89 in England who were participating in a long-term study on aging.
Evidence meditation actually slows the aging process
There is a growing body of evidence that regular meditation really can slow ageing – at least at the cellular level. A commonly used proxy for cellular aging is the length of telomeres, the DNA and protein caps that protect the ends of each chromosome during cell division. These shorten slightly every time the chromosome replicates, until eventually the cell can no longer divide, becoming senescent or undergoing “apoptosis” – the cellular equivalent of suicide.
Having shorter telomeres in your cells is associated with the onset of many age-related diseases, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia. Several lifestyle factors have been found to accelerate telomere shortening, such as poor diet, lack of sleep, smoking, drinking and a sedentary lifestyle.
Fasting diets are gaining acceptance
In a culture in which it’s customary to eat three large meals a day while snacking from morning to midnight, the idea of regularly skipping meals may sound extreme. But in recent years intermittent fasting has been gaining popular attention and scientific endorsement.
Fasting to improve health dates back thousands of years, with Hippocrates and Plato among its earliest proponents. Dr. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, argues that humans are well suited for it: For much of human history, sporadic access to food was likely the norm, especially for hunter-gatherers.
Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, initially studied fasting in mice that showed that two to five days of fasting each month reduced biomarkers for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The research has since been expanded to people, and scientists saw a similar reduction in disease risk factors.
Carbs are the new cigarettes
• Foods with high glycemic index are linked to lung cancer, scientists found
• Such foods include white bread, bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice
• Study found a 49% higher risk of lung cancer in people with high GI diets
• Scientists recommends people cut high GI foods out of their diet
Many studies suggest carbohydrates are bad for your waistline. But a new study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has warned they may also be bad for your lungs. Specifically, foods with a high glycemic index – such as white bread or bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice – may increase the risk of lung cancer, scientists say. And non-smokers, who account for 12 per cent of those killed by the disease, appear to be particularly at risk.
Sugar may be as damaging to the brain as extreme abuse
We all know that cola and lemonade aren’t great for our waistline or our dental health, but our new study on rats has shed light on just how much damage sugary drinks can also do to our brain.
The changes we observed to the region of the brain that controls emotional behaviour and cognitive function were more extensive than those caused by extreme early life stress.
It is known that adverse experiences early in life, such as extreme stress or abuse, increase the risk of poor mental health and psychiatric disorders later in life.