Getting Younger Every Day?
Empty Nesters by Greta Jenkins – 60 is the New 40
Now, close to 800 million citizens are 60 and older. The world is aging through shifts in the age structure, leading to more people reaching older ages than in the past, and through continued success in extending life.
Graying Baby Boomers are choosing civic projects, travel, new careers and other activities that defy the rocking-chair image. Andrew Achenbaum, professor in the UH Graduate College of Social Work (and a baby boomer and grandfather), has written about and researched various issues relating to the aging of Baby Boomers and their affect on society.
Another Reason to Exercise
Most commonly affecting people over the age of 50, Parkinson’s disease afflicts nearly 1.5 million Americans at a rate of about 60,000 new cases each year. This neuromuscular disease is associated with the loss of neurons in the brain, reducing the amount of the chemical dopamine critical for motor function in the body. Some studies have indicated that exercise can increase physical rehabilitation and protect neurons at an early stage in patients with Parkinson’s. Vincent Lau, a professor in the College of Pharmacy, is investigating whether exercise alone or a combination of exercise and drug therapy can limit or slow the progress of Parkinson’s or the severity of its symptoms.
,And Party Every Day
Rock concerts used to attract predominately teenage audiences. These days, seniors continue to attend performances by the artists they worshipped decades ago. With senior artists such as The Who, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones still on the road, it’s not surprising to see grandparents attending these shows with their grand-kids, as well as much younger artists of their grandchildren’s choosing such as Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. Joe Kotarba, professor of sociology, can discuss how touring artists cater to aging fans and why popular music continues to resonate in the lives of seniors.
Longevity by a Nose
While reducing calorie intake has been shown to lengthen lifespan, just smelling rich food may actually reverse the benefits of a lifetime of restricting one’s calories. Research suggests that the beneficial effects of caloric cutbacks on lifespan may not only depend on the decreased presence of food, but also on the decreased perception of it. Gregg Roman, assistant professor in the department of biology and biochemistry at UH, is collaborating with doctors at the University of Michigan to explore this phenomenon in fruit flies and can comment on the implications of this research for human aging.
Graying of Cultural Disparities
Older Americans are emerging as a highly visible and growing segment of the U.S. population. A vast proportion of today’s baby boomers are entering retirement far more prepared economically, politically astute and physically active than any previous generation in our nation’s history. Lamentably, within this same population also are ethnic elders whose lifetime achievements and contributions are eclipsed by social, economic and political hardships and injustices. Steven Applewhite, an associate professor in the UH Graduate College of Social Work and an expert in Hispanic gerontology, says people who are entering old age face a myriad of challenges including racial disparities in health care, depletion of resources and changing cultural values and traditions.
source: University of Houston, visit the university’s Newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.
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