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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Larger social networks associated with higher wellbeing

Spending time with more friends and family may improve your wellbeing .

Question

What is the relationship between the size of one’s social network and their psychological wellbeing?

What was done?

314 community-dwelling older adults (aged 61-71) completed questionnaires asking them to list the names of persons they often contact and are important to them. The number of names was regarded as the size of one’s social network. Participants were also asked about their wellbeing and the level social support they felt they received.

What was found?

Larger social networks were assocated with higher levels of wellbeing.

How does this affect me?

Increasing your social network may improve your psychological wellbeing.

Article Abstract

The current study examined the impact of size of social network on subjective well-being of elderly, mainly focused on confirmation of the mediator role of perceived social support. The results revealed that both size of social network and perceived social support were significantly correlated with subjective well-being. Structural equation modeling indicated that perceived social support partially mediated size of social network to subjective well-being. The final model also revealed significant both paths from size of social network to subjective well-being through perceived social support. The findings extended prior researches and provided valuable evidence on how to promote mental health of the elderly.

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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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Wellbeing benefits associated with travel experiences

Taking a vacation may improve your health and wellness .

Question

Are travel experiences associated with better mental and physical health outcomes?

What was done?

A review of the existing literature on travelling and wellbeing was conducted.

What was found?

A positive relationship between travel experience and better perceived health and wellness was identified. These effects were gradually reduced over time.

How does this affect me?

Going on vacation may boost your overall wellbeing.

Article Abstract

Tourism has been widely regarded as a mentally and physically healthy pursuit. Thus, recent studies in tourism have paid more attention to the benefits of travel experiences. However, most studies pertaining to the topic have been conducted in the fields of organizational behavior and health science. Therefore, this research attempts to provide a comprehensive review of the literature on the health and wellness benefits of travel. The results revealed that positive effects of travel experiences on perceived health and wellness have been demonstrated by multiple studies. These benefits have been found to gradually diminish after a vacation. It was also found that there is a lack of research demonstrating the positive effect of travel experiences on physical health. Based on these findings, directions for future research are addressed.

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Pet therapy associated with improved heart health in older adults

Therapy that includes pet visitation may reduce your blood pressure.

Question

What are the effects of pet visitation therapy on cardiovascular health?

What was done?

28 participants with an average age of 83 years were visited twice: once by a volunteer-handler canine team then by a volunteer with no canine. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured before and after the visits.

What was found?

Pet therapy was associated with significant decreases in blood pressure and heart rate.

How does this affect me?

Participating in a pet therapy program may improve your cardiovascular health.

Article Abstract

Pet therapy can be therapeutic for older adults living in the community. A crossover design was used to examine changes in blood pressure and heart rate before and after a pet therapy visit versus a volunteer-only visit in 28 community dwelling older adults. Relationships among stress, pet attitude, social support, and health status were also examined. Study findings supported that pet therapy significantly decreased blood pressure and heart rate. Ultimately, the findings supported the notion that community health nurses should consider developing and implementing pet therapy programs in the communities they serve. Further implications for community health nurses are discussed.

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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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Quality of life improvements associated with seated Tai Chi amongst older adults in wheelchairs

Seated Tai Chi may improve quality of life of older people with mobility limitations.

Question

What are the effects of seated Tai Chi exercise relative to usual activities on quality of life and depression symptoms in older people using wheelchairs?

What was done?

86 wheelchair-bound long-term care residents aged 60 and above were randomly assigned to a seated Tai Chi group or a control group. Participants in the seated Tai Chi group took part in three 40 minute sessions a week for 26 weeks with a certified trainer. Quality of life and depression symptoms were measured after the trial.

What was found?

The seated Tai Chi group demonstrated lower depression and higher quality of life scores than the control group.

How does this affect me?

Participating in Tai Chi may improve your quality of life regardless of your level of mobility.

Article Abstract

Abstract
Objective

Compare the effect of seated Tai Chi exercise (intervention) to usual activities on quality of life and depression symptoms in older people using wheelchairs.
Design

Randomized controlled trial.
Setting

One long-term care facility in Taiwan.
Participants

86 long-term care residents were screened; 60 were eligible and randomized to Tai Chi group (n = 30), or usual activity (n = 30).
Intervention

One certified trainer provided the intervention group with 40 min of seated Tai Chi exercise, three times a week for 26 weeks. Trial registration ACTRN12613000029796.
Main outcome measures

Quality of Life (WHOQOL (BREF)); depression symptoms (GDS-SF)
Results

Participants in the Tai Chi group (M = 3.76, SD = 3.65) recorded significantly lower GDS-SF scores than participants in the control (M = 7.76, SD = 5.15) and the Tai Chi group registered significantly higher scores across overall QOL [p = 0.03], general health [p = 0.04], and the associated domains: physical health [p = 0.00], psychological health [p = 0.02], social relations [p = 0.00], and environment [p = 0.00].
Conclusions

The findings highlight the importance of Tai Chi in improving QOL and depression in this population.

Link to full article.