Higher education associated with better ageing trajectories

School participation may have long-term effects on health and wellbeing

Question

What is the relationship between education and long-term health trajectories?

What was done?

1,141 community-dwelling older adults completed questionnaires three times across a four year period regarding their physical, psychological, and social health. Groups of participants that had particularly high levels of overall health were compared with those who had poorer long-term health. Levels of education were compared between groups of high and low levels of overall health.

What was found?

Participants in the highest overall health group had higher levels of education when compared to those in lower health groups.

How does this affect me?

Education may have long-term effects on health.

Article Abstract

As the population ages, interest is increasing in studying aging well. However, more refined means of examining predictors of biopsychosocial conceptualizations of successful aging (SA) are required. Existing evidence of the relationship between early-life education and later-life SA is unclear. The Successful Aging Index (SAI) was mapped onto the Cognitive Function and Aging Study (CFAS), a longitudinal population-based cohort ( n = 1,141). SAI scores were examined using growth mixture modelling (GMM) to identify SA trajectories. Unadjusted and adjusted (age, sex, occupational status) ordinal logistic regressions were conducted to examine the association between trajectory membership and education level. GMM identified a three-class model, capturing high, moderate, and low functioning trajectories. Adjusted ordinal logistic regression models indicated that individuals in higher SAI classes were significantly more likely to have higher educational attainment than individuals in the lower SAI classes. These results provide evidence of a life course link between education and SA.

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Greater fruit and vegetable intake associated with reduced risk of frailty

Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of becoming physically frail.

Question

What is the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and frailty?

What was done?

2926 older adults from three studies completed questionnaires on their fruit and vegetable consumption. Participants level of physical frailty was also measured.

What was found?

Consuming more fruits and vegetables was associated with lower rates of of developing symptoms of physical frailty.

How does this affect me?

Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet may have positive effects for physical health.

Article Abstract

Background: Consuming fruit and vegetables (FVs) may protect against frailty, but to our knowledge no study has yet assessed their prospective dose-response relation.

Objective: We sought to examine the dose-response association between FV consumption and the risk of frailty in older adults.

Design: Data were taken from 3 independent cohorts of community-dwelling older adults: the Seniors-ENRICA (Study on Nutrition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Spain) cohort (n = 1872), Three-City (3C) Bordeaux cohort (n = 581), and integrated multidisciplinary approach cohort (n = 473). Baseline food consumption was assessed with a validated computerized diet history (Seniors-ENRICA) or with a food-frequency questionnaire (3C Bordeaux and AMI). In all cohorts, incident frailty was assessed with the use of the Fried criteria. Results across cohorts were pooled with the use of a random-effects model.

Results: During a mean 2.5-y follow-up, 300 incident frailty cases occurred. Fully adjusted models showed that the pooled ORs (95% CIs) of incident frailty comparing participants who consumed 1, 2, or ≥3 portions of fruit/d to those with no consumption were, respectively, 0.59 (0.27, 0.90), 0.58 (0.29, 0.86), and 0.48 (0.20, 0.75), with a P-trend of 0.04. The corresponding values for vegetables were 0.69 (0.42, 0.97), 0.56 (0.35, 0.77), and 0.52 (0.13, 0.92), with a P-trend < 0.01. When FVs were analyzed together, the pooled ORs (95% CIs) of incident frailty were 0.41 (0.21, 0.60), 0.47 (0.25, 0.68), 0.36 (0.18, 0.53), and 0.31 (0.13, 0.48), with a P-trend < 0.01 for participants who consumed 2, 3, 4, or ≥5 portions/d, respectively, compared with those who consumed ≤1 portion/d. An inverse dose-response relation was also found between the baseline consumption of fruit and risk of exhaustion, low physical activity, and slow walking speed, whereas the consumption of vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of exhaustion and unintentional weight loss.

Conclusions: Among community-dwelling older adults, FV consumption was associated with a lower short-term risk of frailty in a dose-response manner, and the strongest association was obtained with 3 portions of fruit/d and 2 portions of vegetables/d.

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Listening to music associated with psychological wellbeing

Turning on your favorite songs may improve your wellbeing .

Question

What is the relationship between listening to music and psychological wellbeing?

What was done?

500 community-dwelling older adults completed questionnaires on their uses of music in everyday life. A number of psychological variables were also measured, e.g. wellbeing, life satisfaction.

What was found?

Listening to music was a common activity that was associated with positive emotions.

How does this affect me?

Putting on your favorite music may increase your wellbeing and improve your mood.

Article Abstract

A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 500 community living older adults in Sweden (aged 65–75 years). The questionnaire assessed uses of music in everyday life: frequency of listening, situations where music is encountered, emotional responses to music, and motives for listening (i.e., listening strategies). Also, different facets of psychological well-being (e.g., affective well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonic well-being) and selected background variables (e.g., education level, health status, activity level, and Big-5 personality characteristics) were assessed. Results showed that listening to music is a common leisure activity encountered in many everyday situations, and that listening to music is a frequent source of positive emotions for older adults. Also, the participants reported using a variety of listening strategies related to emotional functions (e.g., pleasure, mood regulation, and relaxation) and issues of identity, belonging, and agency. The associations between listening strategies and well-being were explored through correlation and multiple regression analyses where the influence of background variables was controlled for. Health status and personality were the most important predictors of well-being, but some listening strategies were also significantly associated with psychological well-being. The results give important insights into older adults’ uses of music in everyday life and give clues regarding possible relationships between musical activities and well-being.

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Seafood consumption associated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology

Incorporating moderate amounts of seafood into your diet may be beneficial to your cognitive health.

Question

What is the relationship between seafood intake, Alzheimer disease neuropathology and levels of mercury in the brain?

What was done?

286 brains were autopsied, examining levels of mercury and neuropathologies in the brain. These data were compared with individuals’ dietary intake before death.

What was found?

Moderate seafood consumption was associated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology, e.g. plaques and tangles. Although seafood consumption was also correlated with higher brain levels of mercury, these levels were not correlated with brain neuropathology.

How does this affect me?

A diet that includes moderate amounts of seafood may stave off neuropathologies.

Article Abstract

Objective To determine whether seafood consumption is correlated with increased brain mercury levels and also whether seafood consumption or brain mercury levels are correlated with brain neuropathologies.

Design, Setting, and Participants Cross-sectional analyses of deceased participants in the Memory and Aging Project clinical neuropathological cohort study, 2004-2013. Participants resided in Chicago retirement communities and subsidized housing. The study included 286 autopsied brains of 554 deceased participants (51.6%). The mean (SD) age at death was 89.9 (6.1) years, 67% (193) were women, and the mean (SD) educational attainment was 14.6 (2.7) years.

Exposures Seafood intake was first measured by a food frequency questionnaire at a mean of 4.5 years before death.

Main Outcomes and Measures Dementia-related pathologies assessed were Alzheimer disease, Lewy bodies, and the number of macroinfarcts and microinfarcts. Dietary consumption of seafood and n-3 fatty acids was annually assessed by a food frequency questionnaire in the years before death. Tissue concentrations of mercury and selenium were measured using instrumental neutron activation analyses.

Results Among the 286 autopsied brains of 544 participants, brain mercury levels were positively correlated with the number of seafood meals consumed per week (ρ = 0.16; P = .02). In models adjusted for age, sex, education, and total energy intake, seafood consumption (≥ 1 meal[s]/week) was significantly correlated with less Alzheimer disease pathology including lower density of neuritic plaques (β = −0.69 score units [95% CI, −1.34 to −0.04]), less severe and widespread neurofibrillary tangles (β = −0.77 score units [95% CI, −1.52 to −0.02]), and lower neuropathologically defined Alzheimer disease (β = −0.53 score units [95% CI, −0.96 to −0.10]) but only among apolipoprotein E (APOE ε4) carriers. Higher intake levels of α-linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) were correlated with lower odds of cerebral macroinfarctions (odds ratio for tertiles 3 vs 1, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.27 to 0.94]). Fish oil supplementation had no statistically significant correlation with any neuropathologic marker. Higher brain concentrations of mercury were not significantly correlated with increased levels of brain neuropathology.

Conclusions and Relevance In cross-sectional analyses, moderate seafood consumption was correlated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology. Although seafood consumption was also correlated with higher brain levels of mercury, these levels were not correlated with brain neuropathology.

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Pedometer use associated with increased daily step count in older adults

Pedometer use may encourage greater activity.

Question

What are the effects of pedometer use on daily step count?

What was done?

988 participants aged 60-75 were randomly assigned to a pedometer using group or a control group for 12 months. The pedometer group received several physical activity consultations incorporating behavior change techniques. Daily step-counts an activity levels were examined after the trial.

What was found?

The intervention group increased both daily step-count and overall physical activity with no effect on adverse events.

How does this affect me?

Engaging in pedometer use and behavior change interventions may assist you in increasing your physical activity levels.

Article Abstract

Background

Brisk walking in older people can increase step-counts and moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) in ≥10-minute bouts, as advised in World Health Organization guidelines. Previous interventions have reported step-count increases, but not change in objectively measured MVPA in older people. We assessed whether a primary care nurse-delivered complex intervention increased objectively measured step-counts and MVPA.
Methods and Findings

A total of 988 60–75 year olds, able to increase walking and randomly selected from three UK family practices, were invited to participate in a parallel two-arm cluster randomised trial; randomisation was by household. Two-hundred-ninety-eight people from 250 households were randomised between 2011 and 2012; 150 individuals to the intervention group, 148 to the usual care control group. Intervention participants received four primary care nurse physical activity (PA) consultations over 3 months, incorporating behaviour change techniques, pedometer step-count and accelerometer PA intensity feedback, and an individual PA diary and plan. Assessors were not blinded to group status, but statistical analyses were conducted blind. The primary outcome was change in accelerometry assessed average daily step-counts between baseline and 3 months, with change at 12 months a secondary outcome. Other secondary outcomes were change from baseline in time in MVPA weekly in ≥10-minute bouts, accelerometer counts, and counts/minute at 3 months and 12 months. Other outcomes were adverse events, anthropometric measures, mood, and pain. Qualitative evaluations of intervention participants and practice nurses assessed the intervention’s acceptability. At 3 months, eight participants had withdrawn or were lost to follow-up, 280 (94%) individuals provided primary outcome data. At 3 months changes in both average daily step-counts and weekly MVPA in ≥10-minute bouts were significantly higher in the intervention than control group: by 1,037 (95% CI 513–1,560) steps/day and 63 (95% CI 40–87) minutes/week, respectively. At 12 months corresponding differences were 609 (95% CI 104–1,115) steps/day and 40 (95% CI 17–63) minutes/week. Counts and counts/minute showed similar effects to steps and MVPA. Adverse events, anthropometry, mood, and pain were similar in the two groups. Participants and practice nurses found the intervention acceptable and enjoyable.
Conclusions

The PACE-Lift trial increased both step-counts and objectively measured MVPA in ≥10-minute bouts in 60–75 year olds at 3 and 12 months, with no effect on adverse events. To our knowledge, this is the first trial in this age group to demonstrate objective MVPA increases and highlights the value of individualised support incorporating objective PA assessment in a primary care setting.

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Nut consumption associated with better ageing outcomes

Including nuts in your diet may improve your health.

Question

How is nut consumption related to age-related disease?

What was done?

A review of the existing literature was conducted.

What was found?

Nut consumption has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and decreased colorectal, endometrial and pancreatic cancer.

How does this affect me?

Adding nuts into your diet may help you avoid age-related diseases.

Article Abstract

Current knowledge on the effects of nut consumption on human health has rapidly increased in recent years and it now appears that nuts may play a role in the prevention of chronic age-related diseases. Frequent nut consumption has been associated with better metabolic status, decreased body weight as well as lower body weight gain over time and thus reduce the risk of obesity. The effect of nuts on glucose metabolism, blood lipids, and blood pressure is still controversial. However, significant decreased cardiovascular risk has been reported in a number of observational and clinical intervention studies. Thus, findings from cohort studies show that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality (especially that due to cardiovascular-related causes). Similarly, nut consumption has been also associated with reduced risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, endometrial, and pancreatic neoplasms. Evidence regarding nut consumption and neurological or psychiatric disorders is scarce, but a number of studies suggest significant protective effects against depression, mild cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. The underlying mechanisms appear to include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, particularly related to their mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA, as well as vitamin and polyphenol content). MUFA have been demonstrated to improve pancreatic beta-cell function and regulation of postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity. PUFA may act on the central nervous system protecting neuronal and cell-signaling function and maintenance. The fiber and mineral content of nuts may also confer health benefits. Nuts therefore show promise as useful adjuvants to prevent, delay or ameliorate a number of chronic conditions in older people. Their association with decreased mortality suggests a potential in reducing disease burden, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive impairments.
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Dancing associated with greater active engagement in older adults

Dancing may improve social and community-based activity participation.

Question

What are the effects of dancing on activity participation and quality of life?

What was done?

62 participants aged 50 and over participated in a 6-week dance programme. Measures of activity participation, quality of life and falls were taken before and after the dance program.

What was found?

Participants in the dance program participated in significantly more activities, including domestic activities after the program.

How does this affect me?

Participating in dance may improve your overall engagement with other activities.

Article Abstract

Aims: The study examined the impact of a 6-week dance programme on frequency of activity participation, falls efficacy, and quality of life for community dwelling adults aged 50 years and over. It also explored participants’ perceptions of the programme impact and delivery. Methods: The programme was delivered by two dance instructors and targeted community dwelling adults aged 50 years and over, who were independently mobile. Sixty-two participants were recruited and provided baseline data. Thirty-five participants provided immediate follow-up data. Outcome measures were conducted at baseline and immediately post-intervention. Measures included frequency of participation in activities (The Frenchay Activities Index); falls efficacy (Falls Efficacy Scale- International); and quality of life (EQ-5D-3L). Focus groups explored participants’ perceptions of the programme. Results: Significant differences were found post-programme in frequency of activity participation (p = 0.036), including domestic activity (p = 0.048). No significant differences were found in falls efficacy or quality of life. Focus group data indicated participants enjoyed the programme and perceived enhanced physical abilities, emotional and psychological well-being and increased activity participation as a result of programme participation. Conclusion: Findings suggest that a dance programme may increase activity participation in social and community-based activities, however given the study limitations, further research is required to corroborate this.

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