Health Briefs

January 01, 2015

A good many friends results in a long and healthy life

A study from the University of Rochester, United States, published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging, found that reclusive habits and social withdrawal increases the risk of early death, no less than tobacco use, excessive amounts of alcohol, or obesity.

The study followed the daily social interactions of 133 subjects, ranging in age from 20 to 30 years old. The survey was given once again when they reached the age of 50, asking about the quality of their social lives, emotional well-being, and relationships with close friends.

The findings showed that frequent social interactions at the age of 20 and satisfying relationships at the age of 30 are associated with higher levels of well-being at the age of 50, compared to those who are unsociable. The conclusion is that young people who have the opportunity to meet people with diverse backgrounds, and different opinions and values, can learn to manage those differences and help define who they are – which has a positive effect on the quality of life in later years.



Diagnosing dementia in 3 minutes

Determining whether or not someone has dementia, and to what degree, is a complicated task that can take many hours of testing. But a neuroscientist at Florida Atlantic University, United States, recently developed a method in screening for dementia, requiring only three to five minutes. This new test provided results that are comparable to the test that many specialists use currently.

The new Quick Dementia Rating System (QDRS) is a 10-item questionnaire printed on one page. The result determines if the subject has dementia, and at what stage.

Most dementia patients do not get the opportunity for a professional evaluation because of the time and cost required. But this simple and inexpensive test provides early detection to patients, their caretakers, and families, enabling them to seek appropriate treatment at an earlier stage – when it is most effective.


Healthy diet, healthy brain

Healthier food choices not only keep your body healthy, but also reduce the risk of impairment to the brain’s executive functions such as reasoning, memory, target setting, and problem solving by 35 percent.

A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, United States, involved 550 seniors whose average age was 80 years old and showing no signs of dementia. The questions focused on diet and the brain’s executive function.

Results showed that healthy diets not only lower the odds of diabetes and heart disease, but also affect mood and sleep, which are both risk factors for brain deterioration. Those who eat well also tend to exercise regularly and feel satisfied with their lives, which all contribute to brain health as they age.

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