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Study: Chinese Seniors Living Longer, But Are Not Faring Better Physically or Mentally

All across the world, most people want to live until a ripe old age. But even though the number of seniors living beyond age 80 is increasing throughout China, a recent study shows that living longer may not be an indication of overall good health. In fact, the study found that these seniors have reduced physical and cognitive function as compared to data from same-aged seniors from a decade ago.

Recently published in The Lancet the study compared data from 19,528 Chinese seniors aged 80 to 105. Using Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Studies from 1998 and 2008, with seniors separated by their age groups, researchers analyzed the data and estimated mortality rates.

To do this, they looked at the seniors’ cognitive function, self-reported activity challenges, and physical abilities. Three tests were given to determine physical ability, which included whether subjects could stand up from a chair, pick up a book on the ground, and turn around 360 degrees. Since nearly 10% of seniors rely on more than one mobility device, and many use aids like three-position lift chairs — which can help users sit, recline, and stand — these tests are important for determining levels of function.

The data showed that mortality rates lower for the seniors in the 2008 survey, which included seniors born a decade after those in the 1998 survey, were lower. This means that a greater portion of seniors in this survey group were living longer than those who came before them. In those aged 80 to 89, mortality rates decreased from 10.3% to 9.6%; among individuals aged 90 to 99, mortality went down from 24.1% to 23.4%; and in the over-100 group, rates of mortality reduced from 40.7% to 38%.

But even though technological and medical advancements are allowing seniors to live longer lives, it may not be all good news.

That’s because the seniors included in the 2008 survey, though more likely to live longer lives, actually had poorer cognitive and physical function than seniors in the 1998 group of the same age. These findings were found to be consistent among all age groups included in the study.

Curiously, those seniors in the 2008 group actually reported fewer daily activity problems than those in the 1998 group — but this doesn’t mean that they actually experienced fewer problems.

This illustrates the two main theories of aging, according to the study’s researchers. The “benefits of success” theory stresses that better medications, healthier lifestyles, and improved standards of living have allowed people to live longer lives with reduced risk of disability. But the “costs of success” theory says our advancements may help frailer people live longer, despite life-threatening conditions, but will leave them with long-lasting health problems in the end. So while seniors are technically living longer lives, their overall level of function is impeded.

Study lead author Professor Yi Zeng noted:

“The findings of our study provide a clear warning message to societies with aging populations — although lifespans are increasing, other elements of health are both improving and deteriorating leading to a variety of health and social needs in the oldest-old population. This combination poses an enormous challenge for health systems, social care and families around the world. In order to live well for longer, it is important to develop more services to meet the various needs of growing elderly populations. For those with disabilities, this may include long-term and acute daily care as well as mobility aids. While for those living well, working opportunities, social and leisure activities, continued learning and psychological counseling could support them to continue living well for longer.”

Sleep Apnea in Children Causes Severe Brain Developmental Delays

Female Anatomy Brain Full The birth- to- three period is the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human lifespan. However, a recent study has shown that a child’s brain development can be severely crippled if they suffer from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is when a person’s throat muscles are relaxed, their airways are constricted, and they stop breathing during the night. When the brain recognizes that the body isn’t breathing, it wakes the body up with a start and the blockage is temporarily fixed. Depending on the severity of the condition, this can happen anywhere between five and 60 times each hour when sleeping. Continue reading

Facebook, Snapchat Set to Dominate Mobile Ad Market

There’s no doubt that we live in a digital world. We love our technology, as is evidenced by the 85% of Americans ages 18 to 29 who own smartphones. Smart marketers have learned to capitalized on this sea change, shifting their focus to digital ads — specifically, those viewed on mobile devices. And while many companies strive to compete in the mobile ad arena, there’s one that continues to overshadow the rest: Facebook.

According to Business Insider, ads that originated from mobile app installations represented 17% of Facebook’s overall ad revenue in 2015. That’s an impressive increase from the company’s stats from 2012, when ad revenue from mobile devices accounted for 11% of its entire ad yields.

In fact, Facebook gets the majority of its revenue from mobile use. Consumers are steadily opting for tablet and phone use over personal computers and laptops, so it’s no surprise that mobile data consumption is at an all-time high.

But now, Snapchat is trying to hit Facebook where it hurts.

Business Insider reports that Snap, the parent company behind popular social sharing platform Snapchat, is allowing its advertisers to target Snapchat users that are likely to download apps put forth by these other companies.

The new tool is said to be a direct attack on Facebook, which has recently come under fire from advertisers who don’t want their ads placed near questionable content. Twitter, Youtube, and Google have recently received backlash over the same concerns.

Snap will use goal-based bidding in its new advertising tool, which allows marketers to target users who have interacted with ads in the past or who are more likely to install certain apps.

And while 70-80% of digital users ignore paid ads in web searches, Snap is confident that these kinds of targeted ads will pay off without alienating current Snap-lovers.

Peter Sellis, director of monetization at Snap Inc., said in a statement to Business Insider:

“We’ve been listening closely to direct-response advertisers and are excited to announce the ability to ‘bid for installs’ in our auction. This is a new, cost-efficient way to drive app installs right from Snapchat.”

Study: Millennials Are Buying Homes, Heading To The Suburbs

Branded as the always-on-the-move generation, Millennials may be breaking their own stereotypes and settling down in the burbs. According to a survey released last month by Zillow, this young generation made up 42% of homebuyers in 2016, more than Generation X and Baby Boomers. Most of these 18- to 34-year-olds were buying for the first time.

Zillow reported in a press release that the median age for becoming a homeowner is now 33, while it was 29 in the previous generation. As Millennials are buying homes slightly later in life, they are also breaking the mold in other areas. Of these home seekers, 50% are choosing to settle in the suburbs, 33% in cities, and 20% in rural areas. When Millienials choose to move out of their current home, 64% stay in the same city, while just 7% leave their current state.

Contrary to their Generation X predecessors, however, Millennials seem to be starting smaller. According to Zillow, they are purchasing homes that are 1,800 square feet on average, similar to their grandparents. They are also choosing townhouses and homes with “shared community amenities” more often than other generations.

“We’re constantly learning about this young group of home buyers — we’re finding that they are more similar to older generations than many thought,” Jeremy Wachsman, Zillow Group chief marketing officer said in the press release. “Their views on community and homeownership are pretty traditional, and they don’t all fit the urban stereotype you might have in your head.”

Millennials seem to be prioritizing future planning. In a recent study, 40% of Millennials showed interest in long term care and life insurance policies, while just 25% of all consumers expressed interest. This attitude is also playing into their homebuying strategy. According to a recent Harvard University study on homeowner age demographics and remodeling, Milliennials are purchasing homes with improvement in mind.

“Although slower to move into homeownership than previous generations, millennials are poised to enter the remodeling market in greater force, buying up older, more affordable homes in need of renovations,” the researchers wrote in a press release.

The housing market will likely respond significantly to the influx of this young generation, Wacksman said.

“Millennials have delayed home buying more than earlier generations, but don’t underestimate their impact on the housing market now that they’re buying,” he said. “As members of this huge generation start moving into the next stage of life, expect the homeownership rate to tick up and suburbs to change to suit their urban tastes.”

Why One Author Is Calling The Baby Boomers ‘Sociopaths’

One author is pointing his finger at one of history’s largest generations. In his new book, “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America,” Bruce Cannon Gibney argues that “America was hijacked by the Boomers, a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity.”

Cover Photo via Goodreads
Cover Photo via Goodreads

The Huffington Post reports that the central theme of the book is the boomers’ lack of consideration for future generations, crafting a future in favor of their own interests. In an interview with WBUR, Gibney points at their handling of social services.

“One of the key indicators for sociopathy is a lack of empathy,” he said. “So you just don’t care for people other than yourselves. So in the case of Social Security, the Social Security Administration projects the trust fund will be depleted in 2034, but by 2034 the median boomer will be dead.”

It is also predicted that by 2030, six out of 10 members of this aging generation will have a chronic condition, further complicating this issue. Broadening this generational blame, Gibney also targets baby boomer politicians and their constituents for deepening national debt.

“It is the boomers as political actors who presided over the policies that allowed the national debt to become so large,” he said. “So in the 1970s, there was actually a great deal of hand-wringing over this sort of catastrophic level of debt, 35 percent of GDP. And 40 years on, the problem is substantially worse and there’s no discussion of the debt whatsoever.”

Despite placing this responsibility on the older generation, Gibney is looking at younger generations with hope as society continues to point out their differences. For example, younger members of the population seem to be more money-conscious. More than half of Millennials and Gen Xers saying that finances are preventing them from taking leisure time, while only 45% of Boomers agree. Noticing these differing ideologies, Gibney thinks that Millennials have the potential to repair that damage that has been done.

“Young people do seem to embrace an empathetic agenda, up to and including supporting senior entitlements, I think in part because they’ve been misled about it,” he said in the interview with WBUR. “They’re certainly much more progressive about climate change and civil rights than the boomers are. So I am hopeful, but it will be some time before they’re in control.”

OSHA Warns That Live Music Really Does Cause Hearing Loss

people at a concertThe U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has of strict rules to regulate work in the United States. For example, OSHA states that cranes must be assembled on firm, drained, and properly graded ground. They also regulate the use of hardhats around construction sites, and even workplace noise.

And that means international superstars like Beyonc? have to follow OSHA’s rules just like everyone else. Continue reading

Portland, Oregon’s Rose City Yarn Crawl is Every Knitting Lover’s Dream

knitting-1430153_960_720The record for the most people knitting simultaneously happened in September 2012 in Royal Albert Hall, London, when 3,083 people knitted together for 15 minutes. However, that record may soon be beat by the Rose City Yarn Crawl knitters, who congregate in the greater Portland area every year to celebrate the four-day knitting extravaganza.

The Rose City Yarn Crawl involves thousands upon thousands of knitters, crocheters, and spinners getting their ‘passports’ stamped as they try to visit every one of the 13 participating fabric and knitting shops. If they manage to hit every one, they’ll be entered to win a grand prize. Each store involved has sales and incentives for buyers to attend, purchase some materials, and get their passports stamped.

The tradition was born in 2009 and has developed into a citywide celebration. The last event, which ran from March 2 to March 5, was expected to be the biggest one yet. Last year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl had 4,500 attendees, and over the four days, participating stores documented more than 17,100 customers. Continue reading

Study Finds Lack of Exercise Increases Risk of Dementia

Dementia is a serious mental disorder that affects more than 5.4 million Americans. Sadly, in addition to aging, physical conditions like hair loss and obesity could also be related to this debilitating disease.

According to a new study, lack of exercise could also have a direct relation to dementia.

“Being inactive may completely negate the protective effects of a healthy set of genes,” said Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University and a lead researcher on a new Canadian study.

The five-year study looked at more than 1,600 adults aged 65 and older and found that individuals who spend too much time on the couch have the same risk of developing dementia as those genetically predisposed to the condition. The predisposed people carry the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene mutation, which significantly increases the chance of developing dementia later in life. In fact, it’s the strongest genetic risk factor for dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The type of exercise needed to fight off dementia isn’t known; however, the study suggests that even rudimentary physical activity could help, as the physically active study participants reported walking at least three times a week.

“Which means you don’t have to train like an Olympian to get the brain health benefits of being physically active,” Heisz added.

Problems with hair loss are often related to dementia as well, but it’s important to keep in mind that hair loss doesn’t always lead to mental health issues. Hair loss is becoming more and more common in younger people, who are far from showing any signs of dementia and other mental health-related problems. Roughly 40% of men experience noticeable hair loss before they turn 35 years old.

Unfortunately for the prematurely hairless, eHealthMe does report that hair loss is commonly found among people with dementia. The most common factors of dementia patients who also experience hair loss are being female, being over the age of 60, and having high cholesterol levels.

The increasing number of Americans with dementia has also taken a toll on the nation’s health care system. Pharmacy Times reports people with dementia — along with younger men, people with lower income, and people of color — are more likely to seek emergency care for non-emergency conditions like common eye problems.

A University of Michigan study looked at roughly 377,000 eye-related emergency room visits over a 14-year period and found that nearly 86,500 of those visits were for issues that did not require emergency treatment.

Of course, people who are experiencing serious dementia symptoms should consult a medical professional. In addition to primary care physicians, patients can get medical attention at urgent care clinics. About 60% of urgent care centers have wait times less than 15 minutes and 65% have an on-site physician at all times. Instead, many older Americans with dementia end up in emergency rooms.

To limit the risks of dementia, there are steps young people can take. Monitoring physical activity, keeping track of potential symptoms, and seeking professional medical attention are all important aspects of fighting off dementia.

“I tell all my patients that if they leave with one, and only one, piece of advice,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health ant Mount Sinai Hospital, “one thing that they can do to reduce their risk of dementia or slow the progression of dementia is to exercise.”