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Entries in Old (5)

Wednesday
May302012

‘Old People’s Odor’ Exists, But Not Unpleasant

Comstock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Elderly people do emit a characteristic odor, but it turns out they might actually smell better than younger people, according to a new study published online in PLoS ONE.

Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that people could distinguish among the body odors of different age groups.

They asked 41 people to evaluate odors collected from the armpits of study participants from three different age groups -- people between the ages of 20 and 30; between 45 and 55; and between 75 and 95.

The evaluators rated the odors from the younger groups as more unpleasant than the odors from the elderly participants, and they also found that the older people’s odors were less intense.  The evaluators could also determine that odors came from old people, but could not correctly attribute the odors from the other groups.

These findings, said co-author Johan Lundstrom, confirm the popular belief of an “old people smell.”

“We do have an old people odor, but when taken out of the popular context, it doesn’t smell as bad,” said Lundstrom.

The study also found that younger men smelled worse than younger women, but among the participants older than 75, men and women smelled pretty much the same.

It’s not clear exactly what’s behind the ability to discriminate between the age groups and the sexes, the authors wrote.

“An older study found that there is one chemical that varies with age, but we don’t know if that’s the chemical people are picking out,” Lundstrom said.

It’s also possible that the loss of testosterone, changes in the skin, changes in the sweat glands or a combination of these factors play a role in why the sexes don’t smell much different at older ages.

There may be an advantage to being able to discern the smell of old age among animals.

For example, the authors wrote, “older male insects have a higher reproductive success than their younger competitors,” and “reproductive success is a highly sought-after trait.”

The authors also believe it’s likely that had the evaluators been aware that the odors came from elderly people, they may have rated them as more unpleasant.

Future research, they continued, will focus on identifying the mechanism behind age-related body odor discrimination.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec302011

Survey: At What Age Are You Thought of as Old?

Comstock/Thinkstock(POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.) -- When do you consider someone to be "old"?  If you were born between 1946 and 1964, chances are you don't consider yourself to be an elder just yet.

A study released this week by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion -- conducted for Home Instead Senior Care -- found that Baby Boomers consider someone to be old when they are 77 years old.  The age drops to 71 among Generation X and 62 among Generation Y.

The Greatest Generation -- those born between 1901 and 1924 -- however, bumps the age up to 81.

Among genders, women consider old to be 76 and up, while men say it's 70.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug312011

Hurricane Caregiving: What's Best for Frail, Elderly?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Hurricane Irene threatened the East Coast this past weekend, many sick, elderly residents were left debating whether to evacuate from their homes or ride out the storm.  Staying put could have put them in direct danger and hitting the road could result in added stress.

So where's the best place for frail patients to go during natural disasters such as Irene?

The American Red Cross says some fare better in shelters, which evaluate their medical needs and have nurses and emergency medical technicians available to address urgent issues.

However, going to a shelter "is always going to be the last thing you want to do," said Jim Judge, executive director of Lake-Sumter EMS Inc., in Mount Dora, Florida.  "If you're in a good, solid home ...you're going to be far better off...as long as you're not in a flood-prone area."

Judge, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, advises families worried about an elderly parent or grandparent to ask local emergency management offices if they have plans to shelter "the elderly, the frail, individuals that might have medical conditions such as oxygen dependence."  Aides or caregivers can accompany them during shelter stays, he said.

Caregivers and families should make sure to ready emergency kits well in advance of disasters.  These can be assembled in a duffle bag, backpack or suitcase -- preferably on wheels, which are easier to maneuver -- and stored under the bed, so they can be rolled out for use at home, or taken to a shelter during an evacuation.

Although disaster preparation focuses on food, water, and medications, "the biggest problem we run into is oxygen for oxygen-dependent patients," Judge said.  Because power failures cut off the flow of life-saving oxygen through electric-powered devices, patients may want to consider portable machines that can be plugged into a car's DC adapter and run off the car battery, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr102011

Religious Congregations Getting Older as People Live Longer

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Increased life expectancy may be contributing to the “graying” of religious establishments -- that is, the increasing age of their congregations, according to a new study.

Researchers at England's University of East Anglia argue that as people tend to live longer, they don’t feel the need to “make good with the higher power” until later on in life.

The study’s authors suggest that in order to attract more youthful members, the church should make itself more relevant, approachable and attractive to a middle-aged crowd.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Social Economics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan052011

Walking Speed Predicts Who Will Live Longer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) -- Seniors who can still walk at a relatively speedy pace have a good chance of living to an even riper old age, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

When researchers at the University of Pittsburgh pooled the data from nine large studies that involved more than 34,000 seniors, they were able to correlate walking speed in people 65 or older with expected longevity.

At the beginning of each study, subjects were timed at their normal, comfortable walking pace for about 13 feet and periodically retested for up to 21 years.  Anyone who could ambulate, even if they used a cane or walker, was included.

The faster an older person can walk, the longer they can expect to live and, according to the researchers, walking with some pep in your step appears to be a better predictor of who survives than simply looking at someone's age and sex.

"It's a real part of the human experience to see that when someone slows down with age, they may not be doing as well as they once were," said lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski.  "One of the major goals of this study was to quantify this experience for practical and clinical purposes."

Studenski notes that the act of placing one foot in front of the other requires the cooperation of many body systems including the heart, lungs, blood, bones, muscles, joints, nerves and brain -- and all of these systems synchronize, coordinate and integrate in a way that allows each individual to choose their own ideal walking speed, a speed that remains remarkably constant throughout life unless it's affected by medical issues.

For this reason, scientists consider how quickly a person walks, when correlated with age and sex, a reflection of their underlying health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio