Search This Blog

Thursday, June 29, 2017

As America Ages, New National Poll Will Track Key Health Issues for Those Over 50

National Poll on Healthy Aging will release first results June 29

Newswise, June 29, 2017— Nearly a third of U.S. adults have celebrated their 50th birthday – a sign of an aging nation. Now, a new poll based at the University of Michigan will take the pulse of this population on a wide range of health issues, and provide data and insights to inform healthcare policy, clinical practice, and future research. 

Later this month, the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI) will release the first results from the National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA), with data on prescription drug use for people between the ages of 50 and 80.

Directed by IHPI and sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, the poll will issue new data 10 times a year focusing on key health-related issues facing older Americans.

IHPI’s poll team, led by Preeti Malani, M.D., will tap into the perspectives of older adults and their caregivers using a national sample. The overall goal of the poll is to inform the public, health care providers, policymakers, and aging advocates on issues related to health, health care and health policy.

“In medicine, sometimes we focus so much on the latest research findings that we lose the individual patient voice. Yet there are gaps in our understanding of health that cannot be filled with traditional medical research,” says Malani, a professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School who specializes in infectious disease and geriatric medicine.

“Some research studies can take years to complete. One of the most valuable aspects of this poll is that the results are available quickly and can provide timely insight into current issues.”

Adds Alison Bryant, AARP Senior Vice President of Research, “We know research drives insights that affect our ability to impact behavior change. Our hope is that these polls will provide new information that will ultimately help older Americans adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.”

The poll grew out of a strong interest in aging-related issues and policies among IHPI researchers, who include 510 members of the U-M faculty from a wide range of fields. The poll is modeled on U-M’s highly successful C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, which for 10 years has provided new data every month on issues facing children, teens and parents.

For more information about the poll methodology or to sign up for monthly emails, visit Anyone interested in receiving the latest poll findings may join the NPHA mailing list. To learn more about IHPI, visit

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization focused on a wide range of issues affecting older adults. Poll results will appear regularly in the AARP Bulletin, which goes to more than 22 million households, starting in the July-August issue. For more information, visit

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why the ‘Peculiar’ Stands Out in Our Memory Ohio State professor speaks on the neuroscience of remembering

How Memory worksNewswise, June 27, 2017 – Memories that stick with us for a lifetime are those that fit in with a lot of other things we remember – but have a slightly weird twist.

 It’s this notion of ‘peculiarity’ that can help us understand what makes lasting memories, according to Per Sederberg, a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

 “You have to build a memory on the scaffolding of what you already know, but then you have to violate the expectations somewhat. It has to be a little bit weird,” Sederberg said.

 Sederberg talked about the neuroscience of memory as an invited speaker at the prestigious Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France on June 19. He spoke at the session “What are memories made of? Stirring emotions and last impressions” along with several advertising professionals and artists.

 Sederberg has spent his career studying memory. In one of his most notable studies, he had college students wear a smartphone around their neck with an app that took random photos for a month. Later, the participants relived memories related to those photos in an fMRI scanner so that Sederberg and his colleagues could see where and how the brain stored the time and place of those memories.

 From his own research and that of others, Sederberg has ideas on which memories stick with us and which ones fade over time.

 The way to create a long-lasting memory is to form an association with other memories, he said.

 “If we want to be able to retrieve a memory later, you want to build a rich web.  It should connect to other memories in multiple ways, so there are many ways for our mind to get back to it.”

 A memory of a lifetime is like a big city, with many roads that lead there.  We forget memories that are desert towns, with only one road in. “You want to have a lot of different ways to get to any individual memory,” Sederberg said.

 The difficulty is how to best navigate the push and pull between novelty and familiarity. Novelty tells us what is important to remember. On the other hand, familiarity tells us what we can ignore, but helps us retrieve information later, Sederberg said.

 Too much novelty, and you have no way to place it in your cognitive map, but too much familiarity and the information is similarly lost.

 What that means is that context and prediction play critical roles in shaping our perception and memory. The most memorable experiences are those that arise in a familiar and stable context, yet violate some aspect of what we predict would occur in that context, he said.

 “Those peculiar experiences are the things that stand out, that make a more lasting memory.”

 Sederberg’s co-presenters, all based in London, are Dominique Bonnafoux, a senior strategist at FITCH; Mike Reed, founder and creative director of Reed Words; and Jason Bruges, a multidisciplinary artist and designer.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Study by Nation's Leading Senior Care Provider Explores Sandwich Generation's Growing Concerns

June 6, 2017--PRNewswire/ -- With nearly 75 million Americans ages 51-691, Baby Boomers are currently the second largest living generation in the United States.

 According to a recent survey of 1,000 adult children ages 45-64 issued by Senior Helpers®, the nation's premier provider of in-home senior care, nearly 60 percent of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are concerned about juggling the responsibility of caring for their families alongside of also providing for the wellbeing of their aging parents.

Many find it is nearly impossible to maintain a full-time job and care for children at home or in college, while assuming the additional role of a full-time caretaker for an aging loved one. The added duty of elderly care can create added emotional, financial and physical stress, the study finds
"While caring for an aging loved one is a noble act, this should not come at the expense of one's own physical and mental health," said Chris Buitron, chief marketing officer, Senior Helpers.

"Above all, it's important to be realistic and determine what care you can or cannot provide, and then know when to seek assistance. In-home senior care companies like Senior Helpers help relieve the burden that family members experience when caring for an elderly loved one."

Key insights uncovered by Senior Helpers' survey include:
  • A majority of respondents (34 percent) indicated they would prefer someone with prior caregiving experience to care for their loved one's daily needs, but do not require a professional care facility.
  • Nearly 85 percent of adult children would prefer for their loved ones to age at home.
  • A surprising 67 percent of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are comfortable talking to aging loved ones about long-term care options.
  • When asked why their aging parents still live at home, 58 percent of respondents said it was because of the comfort and dignity associated with living independently.
  • Nearly 60 percent of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers feel that when the elderly are cared for in their own homes their experience is more positive than in an assisted living facility.
  • When asked hypothetically who would make the ideal caregiver of choice, 37 percent of respondents chose Jill Taylor of "Home Improvement" to care for their aging loved ones. Others cited include Fran Fine of "The Nanny" at 25 percent, Tony Micelli of "Who's The Boss" at 24 percent and "Uncle Phil" of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" at 13 percent, respectively.
Founded in 2001 with a vision to help seniors who wish to remain in their homes – despite age-related illnesses and mobility challenges – Senior Helpers serves elderly individuals and their families around the world. Senior Helpers differentiates itself with its proprietary, specialized programs that have been developed in collaboration with leading medical experts. The company was the first provider in the industry to offer specialized care services for individuals with Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's disease.

For more information about Senior Helpers, visit

1 According to the Pew Research Center