Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Aging in Miami

At UM Med School's Center on Aging
Last night, Carol and I attended a dinner sponsored by our friends at Fiduciary Trust Company where Sara J. Czaja, PhD, of the UM med school's Center on Aging spoke.  Nearly all of us there were 65 or older, except for the staff of Fiduciary Trust.  As articulate as Dr. Czaja was, there were not a lot of new things in her talk for us, although maybe there were for others there.  Here were the things she said about managing aging:
  1. Exercise is definitely necessary to deal positively with both physical and mental aging.  She seemed to say that this was well established in the literature.  Carol and I are banking on this.
  2. One's diet appears to be important, but she did not get into detail on this idea.  She said something like "a heart-healthy diet is a brain-healthy diet."  I can't disagree with that of course, but define "heart-healthy."
  3. She named stress as a negative factor.  Of course, certain types of stress are negative at every age.  I could not tell whether she meant to say that people who are aging are more vulnerable to stress than younger people.  I would guess that they are.
  4. Social interaction is very important.  Well, of course.  At the clinical level, the Center is teaching the use of the Internet to aging people to help them build or bolster their social networks, teaching basic techniques to people who are not computer literate.  The researchers are seeking to quantify the positive affects on a population they recruited that is made up of 75% poor people.
  5. Learn something thing new.  This appealed to me.  I am ready.  Get me out from underneath where I am now!  How about a teaching career?
  6. The pills right now are disappointing.  She discussed this in answer to a question about the medications that are prescribed to address dementia.  She said that they simply don't work in too many cases.  The results seem to be better when there is an early diagnosis, but she made it plain that the drugs are no present solution.  

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