Reuters (4/20, Crist) reported that research suggests “older adults who lose a spouse may be more vulnerable to cognitive decline in subsequent years and require extra support and monitoring.” Researchers found, “in the study of nearly 7,000 middle aged and older men and women, cognitive functioning declined over time for everyone, but it degraded slightly more and slightly faster for those who had been widowed, regardless of whether they remarried.” Meanwhile, “having a high level of education or at least one living sibling appeared to protect against the decline associated with widowhood.” The findings were published online March 26 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Five habits may decrease risk of heart disease and cancer, increasing life expectancy by more than 10 years, study suggests
USA Today (4/30, Molina) reports researchers found that “following five healthy habits could drastically cut your risk for heart disease or cancer and potentially add more than 10 years to your life.” The five habits are: “eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption.” The findings were published in the journal Circulation.
In “Science Now,” the Los Angeles Times (4/30, Kaplan) reports the researchers found that women with the five healthy habits “lived about 14 years longer than women who followed none of them,” while “the difference was about 12 years” for men.
Healthier diet associated with lower risk of liver disease, research indicates
Reuters (4/27, Rapaport) reported that research suggests individuals “who make an effort to improve their diet may be more likely to have less fat in their livers and a lower risk of liver disease than individuals who stick to unhealthy eating habits.” Researchers found that individuals “with above-average increases in adherence to a healthy Mediterranean diet rich in whole grains, fish, lean protein, veggies and olive oil were at least 26 percent less likely to develop fatty liver than individuals with average increases in adherence.” Meanwhile, “above-average increases in sticking to another liver-friendly diet, the so-called Alternative Healthy Eating Index, were associated with at least 21 percent lower odds of developing fatty liver.” The findings were published in Gastroenterology.
Heavy alcohol use may be the biggest modifiable risk factor for dementia, researchers say
TIME (2/22, MacMillan) reports that “an analysis of more than one million people” reveals that “heavy alcohol use is the biggest modifiable risk factor for dementia, especially early-onset forms of the disease.” The study revealed that “of the 57,000 people diagnosed with dementia before age 65, nearly 60% had been diagnosed with alcohol-related brain damage or with other alcohol use disorders.” The findings were published online Feb. 20 in The Lancet Public Health.
Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy associated with increased risk of ADHD among children, review finds
Reuters (12/29) reported that women who smoke during pregnancy may increase their children’s risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a review of medical studies published in Pediatrics. The review found that mothers who did smoke while pregnant “had an overall 60 percent higher risk of having a child with ADHD compared to women who didn’t smoke,” with even higher rates for heavy smokers.