Anti-aging - some new directions.

Today's newsletter has 4 items. 1. The role of meaningful engagement 2. Your prescription meds could be the reason your memory is getting worse. 3. Anti-aging medicine; laughter. 4. Ball room dancing study

1. Performing meaningful work in old age marks the lives of those who live the longest. Research shows that those living the longest nearly all have a social roles they consider important. They have strong 'civic engagement'.

Some work - often in areas of farming or a small sized businesses. Others visit the home bound, preparer special Saturday or Sunday celebrations or they performs daily rituals or prayers for the good of their community. Others continue to teach or tutor or the edit newsletters or maintain web sites or consult for government or non-profits.

Some cultures do not offer meaningful civic engagement for elders. One simply becomes 'old'. Family and community simply regard the old as those who NEED services. In such communities few people live to be centenarians and even fewer adults want to live long lives after retirement.

Practical application: If you are a head of household or a manager of a business or non-profit organization, one of the most effective things you could do for elders in your family or community is to allow them engage in tasks THEY would find meaningful.

2. Losing your memory? Your medication could be the cause. A whole host of pharmaceutical drugs list cognitive 'side effects'. If you are experiencing memory problems it could be an over the counter medication or your prescription drug that is the cause. Speak with your health care provider. Ask if the drug you are taking has any cognitive side effects - or get a copy of Physicians Desk Reference and look up the drug and its potential side effects yourself.

BUT do not just stop taking your medication. If memory or cognitive impairment is listed as possible side effects, talk with your health care provider. Explain any difficulties you are having...and the fact that you know this drug can have cognitive effects. Ask if there is an alternative medication...or any thing you can do to lessen this side effect. Speak up. It your brain! But again, do not just stop taking a medication Talk with your health care provider first.

3. Laughing is good for you. There are over 1,000 scientific papers documenting the positive effects of laughter in the National Library of Medicine database.

Research shows that aughter is good for your heart; it can improve blood pressure, immune system AND your brain. It can improve glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, reduce pain levels and speed healing.

New studies from Japan show that the laughter does not have to be 'genuine or sincere' for it to be beneficial. Just doing a few minutes of some hearty ho, ho, ho...or ha, ha, ha will get you smiling and the health benefits cascading - even if your laughing is not sincere.

One of the new social activities in Japan is 'group laughing circles'. People come together and laugh for 15 or 20 minutes. Try it. Take a laughing break right now.

Add laughter to your every day activities. Laugh next time you are put on hold or stuck in traffic. Take five minutes of laughter before dinner - five minutes before bed. A couple minutes in the morning as you put on your shoes and socks.

Try it for a week. And if you want, let me know the result. You can just hit 'reply' to this email and I will get your message.

I am really interested. All this research - but what is it like for you, the readers of Ageless Aging news.

4. New studies show that Ballroom dancing can cut the risk of dementia by 76%. I will be adding details of that study to the web site this month. Meantime, let's dance.

Thanks for reading this far.


Note: If there are topics you would like me to cover in future newsletters or on the site, feel free to hit reply and let me know. I want to talk about the things that concern you. I love to do research. I now have the time to do it and with my new association as Senior Scholar at the Center of Aging and Public Policy at Mount Saint Mary College, I have even more resources at my disposal. Let's use them for your benefit.