August 16, 2016 in Foodland, Health, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

While reading the July 23, 2016 issue of Science News Magazine, which features Aging’s Future: Special Report – New Insights into life’s battle against time, a few thoughts came to my mind for sharing with you.

  • If you read it at the library or have a subscription, you’ll notice on page 21 that there is a sub-story about sea urchins. The short of it is that the various types of sea urchins seem to live according to some pre-determined length of time, ranging from 4 years to over a hundred years – which is vastly different from species to species. If we translate the sea urchin info and apply it to humans, we are real happy if our ancestors lived to be supercentenarians (people who live to be 105 to 109) and not so much if our ancestors didn’t live so long – that is if we like life. As I read the article, I found it to be a bit discouraging – like there’s not much that we can do to affect our life; at least, to the extent our life span is genetically determined.
  • When I got to the last section of the article, it gave me a little more hope. First of all, I really embraced the coined word wellderly – elderly people enjoying substantial wellness. If like me, you’re not very young, and you know from observation that there’s old and there’s OLD. Some people are afflicted with much more disease than others. The geneticist Ali Torkamani has been studying the wellderly at Scripts Institute in La Jolla, California. He has found that the wellderly have no genetic advantage when it comes to cancer, stroke or diabetes. They do, however have a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s and heart disease. The researchers did not rule out that diet and lifestyle also help. Torkamani says; “There’s hope for everybody.” Being a public health professional, I really like this hopeful idea. And I believe and embrace the idea of lifestyle, exercise and diet being important to our health.

If a person let’s himself or herself go (ignores weight gain, doesn’t exercise and is not being social) then it increases the risk of being unable to exercise, which has been linked repeatedly to unhealthy minds and unhealthy aging. In addition, if a person doesn’t get the nutrients that keep cells healthy, then what can be expected? It just makes sense that the individual can’t be optimally healthy with suboptimal nutrients.

  • We might not live to be supercentenarians, but it’s a goal for many of us to be in the wellderly group – to be as well as possible and be a contributing member of the community and society. There is ample evidence that healthy living can contribute to that goal.