Age Wise

But it’s never too late (nor too soon) to take these preventive steps

Image courtesy of the American Heart Association

Long before you routinely forget where you left the keys or why you walked into a room, the wheels of cognitive decline could be turning in your brain, setting you on a course to eventual dementia.

Age Wise

Some old brains look and work like those of twenty-somethings

Image: Fakurian Design/Unsplash

Among the frustrations of growing older, at least for many of us, is the increasing struggle to remember people we’ve met, or what was for lunch yesterday. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why: Our brains shrink, and communication between different parts gets fuzzy.

Age Wise

Either we have a natural shelf life, or mortality plateaus and the sky’s the limit

Image: Pixabay/analogicus

If you can just make it to 105, your odds of surviving each subsequent year of life seem to level off at about 50/50. That much scientists largely agree on. Yet one of the oldest arguments in longevity research is whether this statistical curiosity represents an actual “mortality plateau,” which would mean there’s virtually no limit to how long any one of us might be able to hang around, biology be damned.

Image: Pixabay/Sasin Tipchai

Most romantic partners start out as just friends, new research suggests

When I first saw her walk in late to the conference’s opening-night mixer, my brain went all fuzzy, I struggled to breathe properly, and I couldn’t concentrate on conversations with the dozens of other people I was being introduced to in the hotel lobby. A few minutes later, perchance, we stood back-to-back, inches apart. The rush of electricity was deafening. The hair on my arms rose. I later learned the current ran in both directions. Now, 24 years later, my wife and I have no doubt that love at first sight is a real thing.

Age Wise

A little physical activity can trigger a mental makeover

Photo: Jacqueline Munguía/Unsplash

Among the most underrated revelations of modern scientific research is the healing ability and protective power of physical activity. And I’m not talking about fixing your body.

Once you spot the fowl mood depicted in this image from a new study, your brain just can’t unsee it. Image: University of Sydney

Find out what this Angry Bird, the Face on Mars, and emojis have in common

There’s the Face on Mars, the Man in the Moon, Jesus on Toast, and now the Angry Bird*. People around the world see these all-too-real figments. Meanwhile, I’m mesmerized by the endless stream of smiling, sad and scary people in my bathroom floor tile. Now science has revealed how and why our brains instantly perceive all these emotive faces where none really exist, and what all this has to do with the feel-good emoji at the end of this story.

Age Wise

Most Americans don’t get enough rest — but our needs differ by age and other factors

Photo: Kinga Cichewicz/Unsplash

Gone are the glorious days of youth when a good, long sleep was the norm. For many of us, some serious self-care is now needed to ensure a sufficient snooze. Scientists have several sleep tricks up their sleeves, and I’ll get to those.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. Each person’s sleep needs vary significantly based on a few…

Age Wise

More than a quarter of America suffers, but millions don’t (or can’t) get help

Photo: Ranadeep Bania/Unsplash

This is the last in a four-part series on preventing depression, a serious and growing mental disorder that can strike at any age and, if untreated, persist and worsen.

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Cause-and-effect are not clear, but the trends are stark and troubling

Cannabis has been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, planning and attempts in people ages 18 to 35. The new findings do not establish cause and effect — the scientists can’t say if smoking pot puts a person at higher risk of suicide or if other factors related to suicide risk also happen to drive marijuana use. But the research, involving surveys of 281,650 U.S. men and women, held true whether a person was depressed or not.

Prescriptions are rising, but often the drugs don’t work, and other effective treatments are dismissed

Photo: Julia Zolotova/Unsplash

This is the third in a four-part series on preventing depression, a serious and growing mental disorder that can strike at any age and, if untreated, persist and worsen.

Robert Roy Britt

Independent health and science journalist, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience, writing about how we age and how to optimize your mind and body through time.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store