Thursday, September 21, 2023

Two studies provide the keys to healthy aging

How to have a healthy and fulfilling old age? Two studies published in ‘Nature Medicine’ and ‘Nature Mental Health’ suggest a series of keys that we should follow if we want to have a healthy ageing.

In addition to what is already known – moderate alcohol consumption, healthy food, regular physical activity, good sleep and social connections – while avoiding smoking and sedentary behavior, there are new: have a hobby.

According to the ‘Nature Medicine’ study, people over 65 who have some form of recreation report better health and mental health compared to those who don’t.

The findings are based on a meta-analysis of five longitudinal studies that examined leisure participation in 93,263 people from 16 countries.

Hobbies are activities that people do during their free time for fun, and previous studies have shown that these activities reduce loneliness and have a protective relationship with depressive symptoms. However, those results are largely based on a single country analysis and it is not clear whether they are consistent across different countries and cultural settings.

The team at University College London (United Kingdom) coordinated by Daisy Fancourt conducted a meta-analysis of five longitudinal studies investigating participation in leisure activities.

The researchers limited their analysis to studies of participants over 65 years of age and analyzed the responses of 93,263 participants from 16 countries, including Spain. The average age of the participants was between 71.7 and 75.9 years.

The results showed that people over the age of 65 who had some form of recreation or leisure reported being in better health, more satisfied with life, happier and had fewer symptoms of depression than those who did not. entertainments.

Although the results are based on observation and does not show cause The researchers say that they suggest that their findings may have implications for the development of programs that encourage the practice of leisure in all ages and countries to promote healthy aging and mental well-being in those old man

In this sense, the research published in ‘Nature Mental Health’ presents the factors that promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of depression: moderate alcohol consumption, healthy diet, regular physical activity, healthy sleep and social relationships, not smoking and avoid sedentary behavior.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around one in 20 adults suffer from depression.

To better understand the relationship between these factors and depression, experts from the University of Cambridge (Great Britain) and Fudan University (China) turned to the UK Biobank, an anonymous biomedical database with genetic information, style the life and health of its participants.

When examining data from approx 290,000 people (of which 13,000 had depression) followed over a nine-year period, the team was able to identify these seven healthy lifestyle factors associated with a lower risk of depression.

Of all of these, getting enough sleep (between 7 and 9 hours) made the biggest difference, reducing the risk of depression, including single depressive episodes and treatment-resistant depression, by 22%. Also d social relationships proved to be important reduced the risk of depression by 18%, and is the most protective factor against recurrent depressive disorders.

The team also analyzed the participants’ DNA and assigned each a genetic risk score. This score is based on the number of genetic variants an individual carries with a known link to depression risk. Those with the lowest genetic risk score were 25% less likely to develop depression compared to those with the highest score; that is, a smaller effect than lifestyle.

In people with high, medium and low genetic risk for depression, the team also found that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of depression. This research highlights the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to prevent depression, regardless of a person’s genetic risk.

Barbara Sahakian, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, points out that “although our DNA may increase our risk of depression, we have shown that a healthy lifestyle is probably more important.”

To understand why a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of depression, the team studied other factors.

First, they analyzed the brain MRIs of just under 33,000 participants and found several brain regions where greater volume (more neurons and connections) was associated with a healthier learning style. life. These include the pallidum, thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus.

Next, they look for markers in the blood that indicate problems with the immune system or metabolism, that is, how we process food and produce energy. Among the markers found to be associated with lifestyle are C-reactive protein, a molecule produced by the body in response to stress, and triglycerides, one of the main forms of fat that the body uses to store fat. energy.

The team discovered that A bad lifestyle affects our immune system and metabolism which in turn increases our risk of depression.

“We’re used to thinking that a healthy lifestyle is important for our physical health, but it’s equally important for our mental health. “It’s good for brain health and cognition, and it is also good indirectly by promoting a healthier immune system and better metabolism,” added Christelle Langley, from the University of Cambridge.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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