With modern technology constantly getting upgraded, it’s hard to stay up to date with all the new scientific breakthroughs happening every month. If you’re behind on what’s new in the world of research, here are four recent and fascinating developments seniors may want to read more about.
One of the most exciting breakthroughs researchers have made this year involves brain heath and new treatment options to slow the progression of debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
The FDA recently voted to approve a new treatment that may be the first-ever to steady the speed at which the brain degenerates. This new treatment could dramatically change the lives of people who are diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.
It's worth mentioning, however, that this new drug, which is meant to trigger an autoimmune response to attack plaques in the brain that disrupt communication between brain cells, has a complicated history. While many scientists agree the drug can be beneficial albeit imperfect, there are some who are hesitant to start using this new drug to treat patients due to early trials indicating that there is reasonable doubt of the drug's effectiveness.
Advocates of the new drug believe this could be a major breakthrough that may lead to another breakthrough that could help drive greater treatments for Alzheimer's and dementia.
Beyond slowing the rate of the disease's progression, researchers have also developed a new method to detect Alzheimer's disease much earlier. This new treatment has already been approved by the FDA, and it detects the disease earlier by analyzing certain proteins in the blood. This development is also a major stepping stone for helping those that suffer from the disease, and it offers hope that a more permanent solution lies in the near future.
Over the last several years, companies like SpaceX and NASA have been working to extend humanity's reach into space by putting humans on Mars in hopes to eventually colonize the planet. While this is likely only the first stage in humankind's quest among the stars, it serves as a monumental milestone in technological capability.
With China landing its first rover on Mars in May and the United States already having made several missions to Mars, this decade is quickly turning into a new space age. People like Elon Musk have an interest in eventually settling humans on Mars permanently, and it would be a historic event to witness for the people who were there when the United States first put a man on the moon.
Researchers in Finland have been studying generational aging patterns and have released two studies on the subject: one comparing physical aging and another observing cognitive aging. A group of subjects born in the 1910s and another group born in the 1940s were cross-analyzed in the late eighties and early nineties and again in 2017 and 2018.
Their results revealed that those born in the 1940s have stronger grip, arm and leg strength than the earlier group even though both subjects were around the same age when analyzed. On the cognitive test, those from the 1940s had better oral fluency, reaction time and critical thinking.
Though there weren’t significant changes in other areas such as lung function and short-term memory, these conclusions match the findings of a similar study conducted in the Netherlands the same year. They attribute these findings with reductions in smoking habits, better nutrition and advanced medical care, but they also found that the subjects born in the 1940s were also more physically active and were exposed to better education, which aided in slowing their physical and cognitive aging.
According to the improved rates at which people are aging, these researchers conclude that people are living longer and that seventy is the new sixty.
One of the major contributing factors to disabilities in older people is the body’s degeneration of muscle mass that comes with aging. But according to a study published in May, scientists have managed to synthesize a molecular compound that boosts the regeneration of muscle cells in mice.
While scientists have a lot of work ahead of them before they can apply this kind of treatment to humans, it proves a promising start to a treatment that may one day slow the aging process of humans and extend their lifespans.
This concept isn’t unfounded, as many other studies have suggested that the human lifespan could be expanded to one hundred and twenty years — and possibly up to one hundred and fifty years! But for now, it’s just a hope for the near future.
New discoveries are being made every week in the field of science. There are always countless articles and research papers to read with updates on the newest in technology. A great way to stay in the loop of what's happening in the world of research and development is to subscribe and follow relevant pages online such as Scientific American, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, National Public Radio and National Geographic. For an easy guide on how to use social media, check out this blog post on the Park Regency Thornton assisted living community page.