So argues this important piece in Scientific American (sorry, it’s behind a paywall). So far drugs that target Alzheimer’s have been disappointing. Our best evidence suggests that lifestyle interventions (exercise, improvements in diet, and cognitive engagement) really do help.
This interesting piece in The New York Times argues:
When athletes train consistently, recover smartly and get a little lucky, there’s no physiological reason their bodies should fall off a cliff in their 30s.
From following physiology literature and spending time around late-career elite athletes, I was already well aware that old dogs can both learn new tricks and slow the rate at which they lose old ones.
In yoga, pranayama means breath regulation, and refers to a set of breathing techniques. The always interesting Dr. Greger has posted a video suggesting that the effects of breathing on the vagus nerve may explain the effectiveness of yogic pranayama and other mind body interventions.
Another amazing story from The New York Times about the capacities of an aging athlete:
At the age of 105, the French amateur cyclist and world-record holder Robert Marchand is more aerobically fit than most 50-year-olds — and appears to be getting even fitter as he ages, according to a revelatory new study of his physiology.
You can read the research paper here.
The answer may be walking!
New York is literally designed to force people to walk, to climb stairs—and to do it quickly. Driving in the city is maddening, pushing us onto the sidewalks and up and down the stairs to the subways. What’s more, our social contract dictates that you should move your ass when you’re on the sidewalk, so as not to annoy your fellow walkers. (A recent ranking of cities found that New York has the fastest pedestrians in the country.) As Simonsick sees it, the very structure of the city coerces us to exercise far more than people elsewhere in the U.S., in a way that is strongly correlated with a far-better life expectancy. Every city block doubles as a racewalking track, every subway station, a StairMaster. Seen this way, the whole city looks like a massive exercise machine dedicated to improving our health while we run errands.
Are we fighting thousands of years of evolutionary history and the best interests of our bodies when we sit all day?That question is at the core of a fascinating new study of the daily lives and cardiovascular health of a modern tribe of hunter-gatherers. The findings strongly suggest that we are born to be in motion, with health consequences when we are not
You can read the abstract of the original research here.
I do yoga and the 10,000 steps a day program.
Andrew Sullivan has written a powerful review of David France’s book: How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.
These young men both witnessed their friends and lovers dying excruciating deaths, knew that they were next and yet carried on. Some of this was a gut-level human desire to live; some was a means to compensate for the grief that would otherwise overwhelm them; but a lot was simple, indelible courage. This courage didn’t just end a plague; it revolutionized medicine and, in turn, became the indispensable moral force that led, as the plague abated, to the greatest civil rights revolution of our time. This is the first and best history of this courage, and a reminder that if gay life and culture flourish for a thousand years, people will still say, “This was their finest hour.”