Middle age may be much more stressful now than in the 1990s

stressed at midlife
Photo by Matteo Vistocco

Even before the novel coronavirus started sweeping the globe, a new study found that life may be more stressful now than it was in the 1990s – especially to those in their midlife years. If life feels more stressful now than it did a few decades ago, you’re not alone. A team of researchers led … Read more

Brain or muscles, which do we lose first?

a healthy brain helps you keep physically fit
Photo by Gerd Altmann

From the age of 50, there is a gradual decline not just in physical activity but also in cognitive abilities. The two are correlated, but which of them influences the other? An extensive longitudinal study has some surprising answers. Does physical activity impact on the brain or is it the other way around? The literature in … Read more

Coronavirus: how to keep your gut microbiome healthy to fight COVID-19

healthy diet fight covid-19

As well as protecting yourself from the virus on the outside, you can also build up your defences from the inside by strengthening your immune system. One thing that you can control immediately is the health of the trillions of microbes living in your gut, writes Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College … Read more

Childhood hardship impacts the quality of life decades later

A range of life inequalities and hardships during childhood years have a profound effect on our physical and mental wellbeing in later life. These stressful life inequalities, covered in the study conducted at the University of East Anglia, included having emotionally cold parents, poor educational opportunities, losing an unborn child, financial hardship, involvement in conflict, … Read more

A low-carb diet may prevent and even reverse age-related changes of the brain

brain

Neurobiological changes associated with ageing can be seen much earlier than would be expected, in the late 40’s, a new study shows. But now researchers may have found a way to prevent or reverse these effects. Age-related brain changes may be prevented or reversed by minimizing the consumption of simple carbohydrates, the study led by … Read more

Smell the roses while you sleep – a fascinating interplay of scent, sleep and memory

Process that uses smell can strengthen memories stored on one side of the brain. A new study has yielded an innovative method for bolstering memory processes in the brain during sleep. The method relies on a memory-evoking scent administered to one nostril. It helps researchers understand how sleep aids memory. Sleep strengthens memories “We know … Read more

Stress linked to memory decline in middle-aged women – but not men

Stressful life experiences among middle-aged women — but not men — are linked to greater memory decline in later life, an analysis by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers reveals. The researchers say their findings add to evidence that stress hormones play an uneven gender role in brain health, and align with well-documented higher rates of Alzheimer’s … Read more

Solving a biological puzzle: How stress turns your hair grey

middle-aged woman with grey hair

For a long time, anecdotes have connected stressful experiences with the phenomenon of hair greying. Now, for the first time, scientists have discovered exactly how the process plays out. Stress activates nerves that are part of the fight-or-flight response, which in turn cause permanent damage to pigment-regenerating stem cells in hair follicles. The study, published … Read more

Narcissism wears off as we age – but not for everyone

young man taking selfie
Photo by Rohan Pandavadra

The belief that one is smarter, better looking, more successful and more deserving than others—a personality trait known as narcissism—tends to wane as a person matures, a recent study confirms. But not for everyone, and not to the same extent. “Very few people, only 3% of participants, actually increased in overall narcissism between the ages … Read more

Fast MRI detects clearly more breast cancers than a 3D mammogram

breast cancer cells
Stress fibres and microtubules in human breast cancer cells. (Photo by National Cancer Institute)

Abbreviated breast magnetic resonance imaging—also known as Fast Breast MRI—detected significantly more cancers than 3D mammography in average-risk women with dense breast tissue, a new study published in JAMA finds. The study compared Fast Breast MRI, which is a 10-minute MRI exam to 3D mammography in women with dense breasts because the ability of mammography … Read more