Friendship more valued than money after retirement

Friendship, good health and avoiding supermarkets at weekends are the biggest unexpected pleasures of retirement for Britons, new research has revealed.

Oddfellows logo
According to a study by the Oddfellows Friendly Society, we significantly underestimate the value of each of these joys as we approach a life of leisure.
It’s only when we finally reach retirement that we come to realise the true worth of companionship, staying active and steering clear of the aisles on a Saturday.

The research surveyed almost a thousand over-50s to gauge how near-retired and retired people view their place within their own communities and society as a whole.
Just under half of those who took part were members of the Oddfellows, which was founded more than 200 years ago and is one of Britain’s largest friendly societies.

Its annual Friendship Month will see the Society’s 146 branches stage scores of special events to connect old and new friends throughout September.
Oddfellows Chief Executive Officer Jane Nelson said: “What our research shows is that it’s perfectly possible for life to begin at 50, 60 or even 70.

“The very simple message that emerges is that if you approach retirement in the right way you can become happier as you get older.”

Some 45% of study respondents aged in their 50s said spending time with friends was what they were most looking forward to about being retired.
Yet nearly two thirds of participants aged in their 70s said they considered it the most enjoyable element.

Similarly, only 31% of those in their 50s said they were most looking forward to a healthier life – while 56% of those in their 70s said it was the thing they valued most.
The biggest disparity was for not having to visit supermarkets at weekends, which was chosen by just 12% of non-retired participants but 24% of retired respondents.
Selected by over 60% of those questioned overall, less stress was the aspect of retirement that was both most looked forward to and most enjoyed.

The research also highlighted the strong links between friendship, happiness and a sense of worth within the community for Britain’s over-50s.
Some 80% of Oddfellows members described themselves as happy or very happy, and 49% recommended joining societies or clubs as the best way of making new friends.

In addition, only 9% of 70-somethings said they didn’t feel they had a meaningful role to play in their own community, compared to 22% of 50-somethings.
Mrs Nelson added: “Our research shows that the reality of retirement doesn’t necessarily meet expectations for a lot of people.

“Many simply look forward to having a lot more time on their hands, but that can translate into loneliness, a lack of purpose and a longing for social interaction.
“Above all, people often discover that they miss the kind of camaraderie and everyday engagement that they took for granted in the course of their working lives.
“As our own members attest, membership of clubs and societies can bridge the gap between expectation and reality by providing friendship and a genuine sense of belonging.”
The Oddfellows helps 280,000 members in the UK enjoy the social side of life, as well as providing care, advice and support in times of need.

Professor Tarani Chandola, of the University of Manchester, a leading expert on the links between work, stress, friendship and happiness, backed the findings.
He said: “There’s a wealth of research on how people with stressful jobs get a temporary boost in happiness upon retirement, but this boost isn’t sustained by everyone.
“Older adults who remain socially active in community and voluntary organisations like the Oddfellows are the ones most likely to maintain their happiness in retirement.”
Life can begin at 70: the Oddfellows’ tips for a happy retirement
·        Maintain existing friendships and build new ones
·        Join clubs and societies to expand your social circle
·        Stay mentally and physically active
·        Acquire new skills
·        Shop on a Wednesday!
The Oddfellows Society is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK. Its branches organise active social programmes and provide help and support to members in local areas. Members also have access to an advice line, care support and a range of financial benefits. Membership is just £30 a year (or £28 by direct debit).

Lifestyle keeps you active in older years

London:  Positive lifestyle choices can pave the way for a healthy old age, new research has discovered.

Fotolia_9734660_XS-2.jpgA study of more than 5,000 people, in Britain and France, aged from 42 to 63, revealed individual behaviours such as staying active, had a small benefit.

Researcher Dr Siverine Sabia, from the University College London, said the study revealed that  the cumulative impact of healthy behaviours on successful ageing – the greater the number of healthy behaviours, the greater the benefit.

Those who were active, ate fruit and vegetables, didn’t smoke and limited their alcohol had the best chance of enjoying n active old age. Participants who engaged in all four behaviours had more than triple the chance of enjoying a healthy old age compared with those who engaged in none.

The study lexamined the records of 5,100 men and women who did not have cancer, heart disease or stroke in the assessment phase during 1991-1994. Those still alive were then re-assessed in 2007-2009.  Of the total participants, 549 had died during follow-up, 953 were classified as successfully ageing while the remaining people aged normally.


    Successful agers were more likely to have a higher education than the normally ageing group – 32 per cent against 24 per cent – and 18 per cent in the deceased group.

    In the study population, five per cent of people did not engage in any of the four healthy behaviours.

    Dr Sabia said: ‘Although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful ageing, their combined impact is quite substantial.

    ‘Multiple healthy behaviours appear to increase the chance of reaching old age disease-free and fully functional in an additive manner.’

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    Scientific breakthrough in skin ageing from Vichy

    London:A new scientific discovery, the fruit of 10 years research into understanding skin ageing, has resulted in the creation of a new generation cream.

    Vichy LiftActiv Derm Source the skin cream that has been dubbed by the press as a ‘wrinkle cream first’ targeting the skin’s ageing process went on sale in Britain last week, following a wave of media and consumer interest in the product ever since scientific research on its breakthrough formulation was revealed at the beginning of the year.

    femme_liftactiv.jpgThe breakthrough, backed by rigorous scientific testing and independent analysis, with the findings published in various medical journals such as PLoS ONE*, has seen scientists identify the key role of papillary fibroblasts in the Derm Source (also known as the papillary dermis), in the production of collagen fibres which keep the skin plump and elastic.

    Taking its lead from the expert and scientific methodologies used in the pharmaceutical industry, researcher’s trialled 50 different compounds to identify the most effective ingredient to specifically target the Derm Source and actively stimulate the production of collagen fibres and through this testing, identified Rhamnose, a derivative of the Silver Birch Tree and Cat’s Claw (Uncaria) as the clear winner.

    The product containing this active ingredient is called LiftActiv Derm Source by Vichy. It has been tested on 800 women, 40% of which have sensitive skin and there have been 6 clinical tests carried out plus 2 in vivo studies.

    Dermatologists found a measurable decrease in the five leading types of wrinkles in the areas tested (face and neck).

    Watch our video below to see how the product works and how the experts predict it will revolutionise the skin care industry.


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    One in four UK children will live to 100

    London: More than a quarter of all children living in Britain today will become centenarians, according to new UK government statistics.
    children.jpgThis means that of the 4 million children now aged 16 and under, 3.3million (27 per cent) will celebrate their 100th birthday.Across all age groups there is a one in six change of reaching 100.

    A 16-year-old boy is expected to live until he is nearly 88, while a girl of the same age will reach 91. Around 900,000 future ‘centenarians’ are pensioners over 65.
    Nearly 10 per cent of people over 65 will get to 100, rising to 12.3 per cent of people aged 51 to 65 and 18.5 per cent of people aged 17 to 50.

    The figures are a worry for pension providers including the UK state pension. One proposal being considered is that the age will continue to go up whenever official life expectancy forecasts are increased.

    It also raises anotehr issue of millions of people surviving until their 100th birthday with a dwindling income and poor health. 

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    Sun is No1 cause of skin ageing, say cosmetic doctors


    London: As the nation prepares for summer, think twice before soaking up the sun or jumping on a sun bed to accelerate your tan as you could be one of the many people having to seek help from a cosmetic practitioner for their sun damaged skin. Despite the growing awareness of the dangers of sun exposure the message is still not getting through.

    According to a new survey carried by Cosmetic News magazine at the launch the first Cosmetic News Expo conference and exhibition, 55% of cosmetic doctors cite sun damage as the most significant cause of ageing in the patients they see and a staggering 84% believe that sun beds should be banned. And while prevention is better than cure, 88% of women and 61% of men are having non-surgical injectable treatments to fill in lines and wrinkles, lift the face and hold back the years, but the frozen look is out with the majority of doctors predicting that the biggest trend for 2010 is a more natural look.

    Survey Highlights:

    · The most popular cosmetic treatment for women is botulinum toxin injections such as BotoxÒ/VistabelÒ and DysportÒ/AzzalureÒ (47%) followed by dermal fillers (31%) and Sculptra (10%). Botulinum toxin was also the most popular treatment for men (47%) followed by dermal fillers (14%) and laser hair removal (9%). Significantly 89% of doctors would not use permanent fillers because they deem them too risky and 39% did not think that mesotherapy works.

    · 76% of cosmetic doctors were opposed to remote prescribing to nurses or beauty therapists stating that the practice was too risky with unexamined patients being treated.

    · 71% think that newly launched IHAS Shared Regulation scheme will work.

    · 29% of doctors surveyed stated that improved dermal fillers to treat the face were the biggest innovation in aesthetic medicine over the last five years and Sculptra (26%) and Juvederm Ultra (17%) were selected as the two treatments that had revolutionised cosmetic practices

    · 84% believed sun beds should be banned and 55% cited sun damage as the most significant cause of ageing, followed by smoking (33%) and genetics (9%)

    · The biggest trend in aesthetics for 2010 was predicted to be the natural look with treatments that stimulate natural collagen production.

    · The age group having the most non-surgical cosmetic treatments was 40-50 years olds with botulinum toxin injections being the most popular procedure for mum’s post pregnancy followed by weight reducing treatments such as radio frequency and VASER Lipo (15%)

    · 50% of doctors currently use non-surgical radio-frequency treatments for body contouring with 7% using VASER Lipo. 29% believed that VASER was the biggest innovation in medical aesthetics in the last five years.

    · Laser hair removal was the most popular laser treatment for patients (50%)

    · 86% of cosmetic doctors have their own private clinics but 59% are still working within the NHS.

    Dr Patrick Bowler, Co Founder and Fellow of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors says:

    “Non surgical treatments are the most popular and fastest growing area in aesthetics. This survey shows no real surprises but it is pleasing to note the trend for natural looks rather than the overdone, overcooked appearances of the last decade. Subtle use of botulinum toxins and the latest fillers is the way forward. However I was rather disturbed that 24% of doctors thought it OK to remote prescribe to nurses and beauticians. There seem to be a significant number of doctors treading a dangerous path in the pursuit of commercialism.”

    The survey was carried out in association with the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (BACD) and Cosmetic News readers.

    Top Aging Tips from Actress Nanette Newman and daughter Emma Forbes


    London: Listen to showbiz mother Nanette Newman and duaghter Emma Forbes’ on graceful and effortless ageing.

    Nanette Newman is one of Britain’s most glamorous grannies, and her daughter Emma Forbes is following in her mother’s pedicured footsteps – but how do they look so young at their respective ages?

    In this video feature Nanette and Emma talk about what keeps them in fine fettle, including hair, make-up and other little tips for not only feeling great but looking great too.

    Where Nanette and Emma lead others can follow – and they are. Ordinary women are preserving their looks and joie de vivre – pushing the boundaries of staying fit, healthy and desirable well into middle age and beyond. Most of us also realise that looking after our eyes is also vitally important. In fact according recent research by Optrex Actimist Eye Spray, two-thirds of us are aware that eating a balanced diet can help maintain good vision.

    So whether it be eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking more water, or taking more exercise – today we are more aware of the simple lifestyle changes we can make to stay fit and healthy. But for some inside tips on how the age with a little extra glamour and style from Nanette and Emma
    Listen to Emma & Nanette here

    Japanese longevity continues to grow


    Tokyo: Japanese people are living longer than ever, with the average life expectancy now 86.05 years for women and 79.29 years for men, the country’s health ministry has revealed.

    The life expectancy of Japanese women increased by almost 22 days in 2008 from the previous year, while men added another 37 days, the ministry said.

    The longevity of the Japanese is attributed in part to a healthy traditional diet including fish and vegetables and an active lifestyle.

    But longevity is causing economic problems for Japan, which has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, leaving a shrinking working population to support a mass of retirees.

    Healthy lifestyle delays ageing


    London: Chromosomes of people who lead a healthy lifestyle do not age as rapidly as those who have a poor diet and take little exercise.

    A healthy lifestyle may also slow the process of ageing, according to a study conducted by researcher from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and published in The Lancet Oncology.

    “This might be a powerful motivator for many people to beneficially change their diet and lifestyle,” the researchers said.

    The diseases of ageing have been linked to a shortening of chromosome components known as telomeres, which protect the ends of chromosomes and keep the DNA in the middle from being damaged.

    Over time, telomeres shorten and both cells and DNA become more vulnerable to various forms of damage. Researchers have speculated that this may be one of the primary mechanisms connected to age-related decline. Shorter telomeres have been correlated with an increased risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    Prior studies have discovered that the telomeres of smokers, the obese and those with sedentary lifestyles tend to be shorter than average. This spurred the researchers to investigate if an improvement in lifestyle could be directly connected to telomere protection.

    The researchers recruited 24 men and measured their blood levels of telomerase, an enzyme responsible for repairing and adding to telomeres. They then prescribed a variety of healthy lifestyle and measured telomerase activity again after three months.

    The lifestyle changes included a moderate aerobic exercise routine, classes in stress management and relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and supplements of vitamins and fish oil.

    By the end of the study, telomerase activity had increased among the participants by an average of 29 percent. The level of telomerase increase was also correlated with a decrease in levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and the frequency of intrusive thoughts (a marker of stress).

    Antioxidants fail to slow ageing

    London: Anti-oxidants don’t slow down the effects of ageing, according to a new study published this week in the journal Genes and Development.

    The research, carried out by scientists at the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London (UCL), questions the theory that excess superoxide free radicals increase the effect and speed of the ageing process. Free radicals are unbalanced oxygen molecules produced naturally in the body and are believed to damage tissue.

    For their study, the team modified key genes involved in removing excess superoxide free radicals in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. They found that the gene changes didn’t affect the worms’ lifespan.

    Caenorhabditis elegans is often used in genetic research into ageing because it has a similar genetic structure to more complex organisms, and is easy to control and change.

    Bupa’s Assistant Medical Director, Dr Virginia Warren, told the health information team: “The results of this study challenge what has been regarded as obvious for half a century – that superoxides are a key factor in ageing and so mopping them up should be beneficial.”

    In 1956, Denham Harman – widely known as the father of the free radical theory – suggested that damage done by too many free radicals in the body was responsible for ageing. Since then a number of papers have been published in support of this theory, so it has remained unchallenged for over 50 years. However, this new study has questioned the theory.

    A recent Cochrane review, published in April 2008, looked at the results from 67 studies into anti-oxidant supplements and increased mortality. This independent review found no evidence to suggest that anti-oxidant supplements such as vitamin A, C and E, selenium and beta-carotene can decrease mortality. The review goes on to show that supplements of vitamin C, E and beta-carotene may actually reduce lifespan.

    These recent results from UCL, combined with the Cochrane review, add weight to the argument that anti-oxidants in food and beauty products may not be the quick fix many people are looking for. Dr Warren commented: “Of course, we all still need to eat a healthy diet to reduce our chances of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.”

    Norway’s oldest woman dies

    Oslo: Norway’s oldest woman, Gunda Harangen, who had attributed her longevity to celibacy and her daily glass of cognac, has died at the age of 109.

    Harangen, the eldest of seven children, was born on December 28, 1898.

    In a 2006 interview on the secret of her longevity, she said she believed she had lived so long because she drank one glass of cognac every day and did not have a man in her life.

    She passed away in her sleep on November 25, her nephew told the local Laagendalsposten daily in south-eastern Norway.

    Ageing biomarkers identified?

    Medical experts move towards identifying “biomarkers” of ageing, according to a new study published by Ageing Cell.

    If scientists are able identify such markers in humans, they suggest it could provide the means for the scientific validation of anti-ageing therapies.

    “This is the first evidence that physiological age can be predicted non-subjectively,” said lead study author Simon Melov.

    “We were able to predict the ages of the animals 70 per cent of the time, which is far better than anything … done before,” the scientist added.

    Meanwhile another team of researchers suggests it has gained an insight into how some people appear able to maintain extremely sharp powers of memory despite being aged in their 80s or older.

    The experts from the Feinburg School of Medicine said such individuals’ brains were found to contain far fewer fibre-like tangles than those of other people who had aged in a more typical fashion.

    Scientists move closer to human immortality

    Madrid: Scientists at the Spanish National Cancer Centre found evidence that a natural protein could be the key ingredient in an elixir of eternal youth.

    According to the scientists, boosting the amount of the naturally forming substance, telomerase, in the body could prevent cells from dying and thereby slow the process of ageing.

    Telomerase helps maintain the protective caps at ends of chromosomes which act like ends of shoelaces and stop them unravelling. As people age and the cells divide, these caps become frayed and shorter and are so damaged that the cell dies eventually.

    So far the scientists have only carried out an experiment on laboratory rodents. They found that those mice genetically engineered to produce ten times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50 per cent longer than normal. Those animals also had less fat, had better co-ordination and were better at processing sugar.

    Lead researcher Maria Blasco said that the enzyme was capable of turning “a normal, mortal cell into an immortal cell” and a similar approach could eventually lead to extended human lifespans.

    “You can delay the ageing of mice and increase their lifespan. (But) I think it is very hard to extrapolate data from mouse ageing to human ageing,” she told the New Scientist magazine.

    One of the problems with boosting telomerase is that it can increase the risk of cancer. However, she said that the obstacle could be overcome by issuing cancer drugs that could offset the negative affects.

    Life expectancy in Britain falls

    London: Britons have one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe, according to a new study published in the medical magazine, The Lancet.

    Researchers at Leicester University discovered that a British woman who reached the age of 50 in 2005 can expect to live for another 32.7 years – reaching 82 years and eight months – ten months less than the European average.

    This figure is lower than that for France and Germany, according to the league table of 25 European Union countries.

    Britain came just 16th, just above the poorer nations of eastern Europe, and Denmark.

    The figures also revealed that while British men’s relative position is slightly better than women’s, they still lag behind countries such as France.

    A British man who reached 50 in 2005 – the most recent year for which figures are available – can expect another 29 and a half years of life.

    This is about ten months above the European average, but a month lower than France and 11 months lower than Italy.

    New pill can “jumpstart” youth hormone

    New York: A new drug can boost levels of one of the most important “youth hormones” in older people, according to a new study by the University of Virginia.

    Patients aged between 60 and 61, took doses of an experimental drug called MK-677, that prompts the body to release growth hormone, over a two-year period. This lead to them gaining lean fat-free muscle mass and a redistribution of “middle-age spread” to the arms and legs. There was also a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

    Altogether the trial involved 65 healthy people, some of whom were given a placebo. Doctors found that patients who had received the therapy experienced an increase in growth hormone levels equivalent to levels seen among healthy young adults. The findings are reported in the Nov. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    This compared to those who didn’t get the growth-hormone boosting therapy losting about one pound of muscle in a year, wheras those who got the drug gained about two pounds of muscle mass

    Growth hormone levels are highest during mid-puberty, but drop by about half by the time men and women turn 30. The decline continues , with levels diminishing at a rate of about 50 percent every 7 years.

    Study author, Dr Michael Thorner said: “As we all get older, our body composition changes. So, people in their 80s and 90s all look the same: their fat is distributed in the center and the abdomen, and they lose a lot of muscle mass.”

    “This has become an increasing problem as life expectancy has increased from 45 at the turn of the century to now over 80,” he continued. “Obviously people would like to remain independent and functional as long as possible, but these changes work against them.

    “Because this age-related reduction in muscle mass is associated with a decrease in growth hormone secretion, the rationale for the therapy we’re studying is to try and address the problem by boosting the normal secretion of this hormone,” Thorner said.

    Human growth hormone, produced naturally by the body’s pituitary gland, is essential to healthy development and the maintenance of tissues and organs. But as people enter their 30s and 40s, levels of the hormone start to decline.

    Synthetic versions are legally prescribed for children with “dwarfism” and for adults with a abnormal deficiency – the decline brought about by ageing is not considered abnormal.

    Nevertheless, a growing number of adults spend thousands of dollars on buying self-injectable human growth hormone which can be bought on the internet or prescribed by anti-ageing doctors.

    Its use is controversial and has also become the focus of “sports doping” headlines, with well-known athletes allegedly turning to the drug for its reputed performance-enhancing properties.

    According to the American College of Physicians, it’s estimated that some patients spend as much as $1,000 to $2,000 per month on the drug for anti-aging purposes.

    Read more about muscles and ageing the US National Institute on Aging

    Western diet cause of most heart attacks


    New York: A Western diet rich in fried foods, salt and meat accounts for 35 per cent of heart attacks worldwide, researchers say.

    They said their findings support evidence that animal fat and junk food can lead to heart attacks.

    “This study indicates that the same relationships that are observed in Western countries exist in different regions of the world,” says the study’s senior author, Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.

    The study published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, examined 16,000 people in 52 countries, and analysed 5,761 cases of heart attack.

    Participants gave blood samples and filled in detailed diaries on what they ate between February 1999 and March 2003. Depending on what participants reported, they were divided into three dietary groups.

    The report found that:

    * People who consumed the “prudent” diet of more fruits and vegetables had a 30 per cent lower risk of heart attack compared with people who ate few or no fruits and vegetables.
    * People who consumed the “Western” diet had a 35 per cent greater risk of having a heart attack compared with people who consumed few fried foods and little meat.
    * The “Oriental” diet, which is loaded with tofu but also high in salty soy sauce, showed no relationship with heart attack risk.

    The results clarify that it’s the eating of Western food that drives up the risk of heart attacks, rather than other lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, Yusuf and his colleagues say.

    “Diet is serious for the individual, but also if we can make population-level changes, we can prevent a lot of heart attacks, using, you know, relatively simple measures,” said study author Dr. Sonia Anand, a medical professor at McMaster.

    Also on Monday, a series of reports published in the medical journal the Lancet concluded that worsening diets and unhealthy habits in China are contributing to a looming health crisis in the increasingly wealthy country.

    “The pace and spread of behavioural changes including changing diets, decreased physical activity, high rates of male smoking and other high-risk behaviours has accelerated to an unprecedented degree,” one report says.

    The journal said 177 million Chinese adults suffer from hypertension, which it blamed in part on high salt consumption.

    “People don’t want to eat boring when they eat healthy,” says Julie Lau of the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation in Vancouver. Lau consults with large restaurant chains to help them offer healthier choices.

    “They want to have lots of flavour, so we tried to recreate the flavour without using a lot of salt, without using a lot of fat.”

    Yusuf’s study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario; the International Clinical Epidemiology Network; and unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies.

    More Britons live to 100

    London: More Britons are living to their 100th birthday – and beyond – thanks to better nutrition, healthier lifestyles and improved drug treatments, government figures have revealed.

    The latest report from the Office of National Statistics shows one in 15 people in their 80s now living in the UK will hit the age of 100, with many expected to live for longer.

    In 2005 there was around 8,300 people aged 100 or older, but this figure jumped by almost a 1,000 to 9,300 Britons last year. There were only 100 centenarians in 1911, said the ONS.

    The ONS said the number of centenarians is growing at around 5.4% a year. The main reasons we are living longer are due to better nutrition, improved housing and living standards and better drugs and medical treatment.

    Pamela Holmes, head of healthy ageing at Help the Aged, told the Times, ‘By making healthy choices in mid-life, we can greatly improve our chance of living longer and better. Educating people in the importance of eating well, exercising and stopping smoking can make real improvements years down the line.’


    Can human lifespan be extended by 45%?

    Madrid: The human lifespan could be extended by up to 45 per cent if tests on mice can be replicated in people.

    As well as a longer life the dicovery could also mean one where people suffer less serious diseases.

    Scientists have made a genetic breakthrough which they claim could extend human life and and left them free from tumours.

    The researchers, at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), carried out an experiment in which they inserted three genes, known for their longevity benefits into the stem cells of mice.

    The extra copies of the genes – telomerase, P53 and p16, improves the body’s function and immunity to disease, including cell mutation which occurs more frequently in ageing adults.

    The technique is a new breakthrough because the scientists managed to extra copies of both p53 and p16 into the mice, which has never been achieved before. It is also the first time that scientists have been able to extend the life of mice in this way while protecting them against cancer.

    The modified mice were allowed to breed to strengthen their new DNA pattern, which created a group of ‘supermice’ with longer lifespans and in-built cancer protection.

    It is thought the researchers managed to create mice which lived to around four-and-a-half years. Normally, they live for an average of three years – the equivlent of a human living to 125.

    Chief researcher Maria Blasco, one of Spain’s leading scientists, said that the elixir of eternal youth is now a Utopian dream.

    “The discovery opens the door to the possibility that humans could live 125 years and without cancer.’

    The Centenarian

    Interesting information and articles on living to be 100:

    Family & friends key to longevity – Evercare survey

    New York: Key to living a long and happy life are close relationships with family and friends, according to the third annual Evercare 100@100 survey.

    The US poll of 100 centenarians also reveals, that contrary to conventional stereotypes, some of the oldest Americans are using the latest technologies to keep close to friends and loved ones – talking on cell phones, sending emails, “Googling” lost acquaintances, surfing Wikipedia and even online dating.

    “We serve Centenarians and other older Americans every day who inspire and educate us about the keys to longevity – they are teaching us what it means to live longer, healthier, happier lives,” said Dr. John Mach, a geriatrician and chairman of Evercare, a part of UnitedHealth Group.

    “We conduct the Evercare 100@100 Survey to understand the secrets to successful aging and to put those findings into action to better serve our members – helping them maintain their independence and achieve better health outcomes.”

    Created to be a cultural snapshot of 100 Americans turning 100 or older in 2008, this year’s Evercare 100@100 Survey also polled 900 of those in other generations to compare and contrast the generational findings on topics of maintaining relationships and staying independent. The other generations surveyed included G.I. (ages 84-98), Silent (ages 63-83), Baby Boomers (ages 44-62), Gen X (ages 30-43) and Millennials (ages 20-29). According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are more than 84,000 Centenarians in the United States, and that number is projected to increase seven-fold, to 580,000, by 2040.

    Among the key findings of the 2008 Evercare 100@100 Survey:

    – An apple a day may keep the doctor away: . . .but these Centenarians say staying close to friends and family is most important to healthy aging (90 percent). Keeping the mind active (90 percent) and laughing and having a sense of humor (88 percent) also ranked high for living longer.

    – Surveyed Centenarians are no technophobes: 19 percent say they use cell phones to keep in touch with friends and family. Other technology used to stay in touch includes: e-mail (7 percent), sending or receiving digital photos by email (4 percent), and text messaging (1 percent).

    – Love 2.0: As many Centenarians as Baby Boomers (3 percent) say they have dated someone they met on an online dating site. Twelve percent of Centenarians surveyed say they have used the Internet and some have “Googled” someone they have lost contact with (2 percent) or have visited someone’s personal Web site (2 percent).

    – Centenarians have seen a slew of historical presidential match-ups: FDR defeat Hoover, Kennedy defeat Nixon, Reagan defeat Carter and Clinton defeat Bush I. But majorities (54 percent) of surveyed 100-year-olds say that the 2008 election is more important than previous presidential elections.

    – Heading to the polls: In keeping with typical voting habits in which older voters regularly turn out at the polls, 70 percent of Centenarians surveyed say they are very likely to vote in this year’s presidential election, as compared to only 60 percent of Millennials surveyed.

    — Little white lies can spell big trouble: Centenarians surveyed say that being honest with each other, even if the truth sometimes hurts, is the most important factor in a lasting relationship (91 percent). They also say it is very important to have fun and laugh together (88 percent) and to respect each other’s independence (83 percent).

    Evercareis a national care coordination program for people who have long-term or advanced illness, are older or have disabilities.

    Photo ageing

    The ageing of the skin caused by the environment, particularly the sun and pollution.

    Is 100 the new 80?


    Centenarians have become the fastest-growing demographic in Australia, creating a new boom generation of sprightly golden oldies.

    At last count, 3154 Australians are currently aged 100 or older, with one-third of them from New South Wales.

    But the latest forecasts estimate this will spiral to 12,000 by 2020 and 50,000 by 2050, according to new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

    This will also mean more “super-centenarians” aged 110 or older, as well as more “semi-super-centenarians”, from 105 to 109.

    Shattering the stereotype of immobile elderly people, more than half of the centenarians live in their own homes rather than in care homes.

    Women are far more likely to reach 100, accounting for 75 per cent of the total, but male centenarians tend to be healthier, more independent and are far less likely to suffer from Alzehimer’s or dementia.

    The study, by Professor Robyn Richmond, a NSW University public health expert, found Australia has one of the highest proportion of centenarians.

    Japan, with more than 30,000 centenarians, has traditionally been associated with longevity but, according to Prof Richmond’s study, only Norway, Sardinia (Italy) and the US have a similar rate of over-100s to Australia.

    Professor Richmond attributed the rising longevity to improved survival from diseases and improving health and lifestyles for the elderly.

    “Many Australians are unaware of how many centenarians there are and how little we know about them,” she said. “It is amazing that these extremely enduring old people, whose lives carry a wealth of history, are living among us – and yet we appear to have largely ignored their effect on our society.”

    She called for targeted government policies to address the social, medical and financial impact of living to 100 years and beyond.

    “The consequences of the demographic transition need investigation by health policy-makers and economists,” she said.

    “We need a better understanding of changes in disability prevalence, in order to make estimates of the likely short- and long-term cost implications.”

    Declining fertility rates, with low population growth in younger age groups, also helped make centenarians the fastest-growing group.

    Over 25 years, centenarian numbers have grown by 8.5 per cent a year.

    In comparison, the number of children has grown by a meagre 0.3 per cent. Even the elderly population, aged between 80 and 99, has risen by only 4.9 per cent over the same period, the report showed.

    US scientists on track of elixir of youth


    Los Angeles: Scientists in California have used biochemical signals to rejuvenate elderly bodily tissues in mice.

    Research by Dr Morgan Carlson, published in the journal Nature, was overseen by Irina Conboy, associate professor at UC Berkeley.

    Professor Conboy said: “We don’t realize it, but as we grow our bodies are constantly being remodeled. We are constantly falling apart, but we don’t notice it much when we’re young because we’re always being restored. As we age, our stem cells are prevented, through chemical signals, from doing their jobs.”

    “When old tissue is placed in an environment of young blood, the stem cells behave as if they are young again,” according to the Berkeley press release.

    Essentially, the Californian researchers were able to persuade muscle tissues in some mice that they were young again.

    “Interestingly, activated Notch competes with activated pSmad3 for binding to the regulatory regions of the same CDK inhibitors in the stem cell,” said Professor Conboy.

    “We found that Notch is capable of physically kicking off pSmad3 from the promoters for the CDK inhibitors within the stem cell’s nucleus, which” – as any fool would realise – “tells us that a precise manipulation of the balance of these pathways would allow the ability to control stem cell responses.”

    Altering the Notch and pSmad3 levels using “an established method of RNA interference” allowed Conboy and Carlson to manipulate TGF-beta proteins and fire up the dormant stem cells of a group of elderly mice.

    “When we are young, there is an optimal balance between Notch and TGF-beta,” according to Conboy. “We need to find out what the levels of these chemicals are in the young so we can calibrate the system when we’re older. If we can do that, we could rejuvenate tissue repair for a very long time.”

    Read more at Pathways to the Fountain of Youth

    Reverse Ageing now – win a sample of Solgar DNA repair


    London: Welllness experts Solgar are offering 20 fullsize samples of their latest anti-ageing product AC-11 to readers of ELIXIR.

    Solgar AC-11 is a proprietary extract from the rainforest botanical plant, Uncaria tomentosa. It is perhaps the single most proactive means of promoting the body’s own natural DNA care mechanisms and in clinical studies has been shown to increase the body’s ability to repair DNA.

    A two month’s supply of AC-11 costs £28.99 (€35.90) but you can win a free sample. Email us at with your name and address, putting SOLGAR in the email header and you will be entered into a draw to win a free sample. This offer closes on 31 May 2008. Please note that no cash equivalent is being offered and the Editor’s decision is final.

    More about Solgar AC-11

    Uncaria tomentosa, a vine that grows among the teeming, exotic plethora of botanical species found in the Amazon. More commonly known to the locals as “Uña de Gato” or “Cat’s Claw,” its outer bark contains a powerful, natural activator of DNA repair, critical to cellular health and vital to longevity.

    The benefits of Uncaria tomentosa almost make it sound like a cure all. It helps keep the immune system working properly. It helps prevent cellular damage, and damage to DNA. While much of the action of Uncaria tomentosa takes place deep inside the cells of the body, it also works to positively affect the outward, visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and sun spots – conditions linked to the ageing process in which the body produces imperfect DNA.

    What is the connection between DNA and ageing?

    Put simply, DNA is our genetic code or the “blueprint” that we inherit from our parents. When we are born, our genetic code, or DNA, is virtually pristine. Every cell in our body is formed based on our DNA, and each cell becomes a holder of our entire genetic blueprint. As we grow and age, our bodies and our DNA are constantly bombarded by things in the environment that can damage our DNA. A good example is the sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun ultimately damages our skin cells (and their DNA) and results in wrinkles or worse. In fact, any damage to our DNA ultimately becomes the cause of the negative effects we associate with aging. This damage can also manifest itself as the cause of various ailments we encounter throughout our lifetimes.

    If the body can’t produce clean copies of our DNA, our health and longevity will be directly affected. The key to optimal health, therefore, is to keep our DNA clean and healthy and producing “clean” copies. We do this by helping our bodies neutralize excess free radicals, and at the same time, strengthen and nourish our cells and their DNA.

    Solgar’s AC-11 can best be thought of as the catalyst that sets DNA repair in motion. It then continues its favorable age management action by helping to protect your DNA from future damage.

    What will Solgar AC-11 do for me?

    The major attribute of AC-11 relates to its effect on DNA repair, so it will be useful in many of the same situations as antioxidants. It is also anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing, so possible uses include:

    • Anti-ageing/rejuvenation

    • Supports cellular skin health, and regeneration

    • Recovery from injury and enhancing healing

    • Immune system support (e.g. frequent colds/infections)

    • Inflammatory conditions

    • Auto-immune conditions, which often involve the immune system and have an inflammatory element, such as arthritis

    • Family history of age related disease

    Find out more about Solgar’s AC-11 – receive your sample & exclusive book – REVERSE AGING, by internationally acclaimed author and consultant Marcia Zimmerman C.N

    Solgar AC-11 vegetarian capsules RRP: £28.69 (€35.90) for two months supply is available from independent health foods stores and selected pharmacies nationwide. You can also buy online at

    Red wine retards ageing, concludes new research


    Red wine which contains an antioxidant called resveratrol can remove fat from the diet, new research into its affect on ageing has revealed.

    This confirms the speculation over why the French can eat a fatty diet but still remain healthy.

    Earlier studies have already shown that resveratrol, also found in grapes, pomegranates and other foods.

    In the journal PLoS ONE, the new research explains that even low doses of the substance in the diet of older mice may protect the heart. It is thought that resveratrol behaves in the same way as caloric restriction, a diet containing a full range of nutrients but with half the calories of a typical diet, which extends lifespan and cuts the risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer.

    The study was carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison compared the gene use of animals on a restricted diet with those fed small doses of resveratrol. The authors concluded that a glass of red wine or supplements containing even small amounts of the substance could cease the rate of heart ageing.