Poor Air Quality Linked To Cognitive Decline

An analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study conducted by Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, of the University of Southern California is the first to look at how air quality affects the cognitive function of older men and women. The research focused on data from 14,793 people over the age of 50 and found those living in areas with higher levels of air pollution scored poorer on cognitive function tests even after factoring in age, race, education, smoking, behavior, and cardiovascular condition. According to Ailshire, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of unhealthy air and there is emerging evidence that exposure may have adverse effects on the brain, as well as heart and respiratory health. More here.

The Extraordinarily Healthy Brains Of SuperAgers

SuperAgers are people over the age of 80 whose brain and memory functions as well as someone 20 to 30 years younger than them. And though there are not a lot of them, a new study attempts to determine what helps preserve and protect their brains from the deterioration associated with normal aging. The study, from Northwestern Medicine researcher Emily Rogalski, compared the brains of 12 SuperAgers, 10 normally aging elderly participants, and 14 middle-aged volunteers. According to her research, not only do the brains of SuperAgers function as well as a middle-aged brain, they also look younger as viewed through MRI scans. Rogalski said examining a really healthy older brain can help deduce how SuperAgers are able to maintain their good memory. Rather than studying what’s wrong with the brain, Rogalski says she hopes to discover strategies for improving quality of life by studying what’s goes right in healthy brains. More here.

Citrus Fruit Lowers Stroke Risk In Study

A study which followed nearly 70,000 women over 14 years found participants whose diet included the highest level of a flavonoid known as flavanones had a 19 percent lower risk of suffering a blood-clot related stroke compared to the women with the lowest level of the compound. Flavanones, one of thousands of flavonoids, is found in citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit and was specifically associated with a lowered risk of stroke. Previous research has suggested that flavonoids, which give fruits and vegetables their color, help to improve blood-vessel function and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Via WebMD.