Live To Be 100, Dementia, The Milwaukee Experiment

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10 Things You Can Do To Live To Be 100

It seems that almost every day we read about another centenarian swimming across the English Channel blind-folded with one hand tied behind his back or jumping out of an airplane while she knits a scarf without dropping a single stitch. OK, slight exaggerations perhaps, but without a doubt, more people are living to the ripe old age of 100 — or longer. Certainly, medical advances are a principal reason behind the longevity boost and to a large extent you will play the genes you are dealt. But here are a few more ways to improve your odds of reaching a triple-digit birthday:

1. Run like your life depends on it.
Why? Because it may. Stanford University researchers tracked runners and non-runners for 21 years. They found that runners didn’t just get less heart disease, they also had fewer cancers, infections and neurologic diseases — and yes, they live longer. Study author Eliza Chakravarty was quoted in Time saying, “Aerobic exercise keeps the immune system young.”

How much exercise is enough to make a difference? Opinions vary but If you don’t like to run, even 20 minutes a day of any activity that leaves you breathless can boost your health, she says.

Even a moderate jog can add between five and six years to your life, according to a 2012 analysis of data from a Copenhagen City Heart study. But gains from running do hit a place of diminished returns when it comes to longevity. Researchers from the University of South Carolina found that people who run more than 20 miles a week, faster than seven miles an hour, or more than five times a week, lose the longevity boost.

Bottom line: Exercise and you may live longer.

2. Eat the right colors.
Diets rich in green and purple vegetables are good not only for your heart, but also as a way to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. One study found those who ate plants from the mustard family — broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage — tended to have a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. The vegetables contain vitamin C, which brings health perks.

Eat red — as in red meat — only in small amounts if you must, please. Vegetarians have a 12 percent lower risk of premature death than their meat-eating cohorts, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study that included 73,308 Seventh-Day Adventist men and women who do not eat meat for religious reasons.

Elderly people who eat a Mediterranean diet — which is high in fish and vegetables and low in animal products like milk and red meat — have about a 20 percent increased chance of living longer compared with their non-Mediterranean-eating counterparts, according to a Swedish study reported in the journal AGE. They live an estimated two to three years longer than those who don’t, Gianluca Tognon, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, said in a statement reported in HuffPost.

Continue reading all this HERE.

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The disremembered

Dementia undermines all of our philosophical assumptions about the coherence of the self. But that might be a good thing

On my good days, I can almost pass for a normal person. On my bad days, I feel like I cannot find myself… I don’t know who I am and what I am going to lose next.’

So says Alice Howland, as played by Julianne Moore, in the film Still Alice (2014). A professor of linguistics in her mid-50s, Howland is trying to explain to her youngest daughter what it feels like to have Alzheimer’s disease. Moore’s Oscar-winning portrayal of her struggle against the disintegration of her self is the latest in a string of outstanding female performances – Judi Dench as Iris Murdoch in Iris(2001), Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011) – to explore the most troubling aspect of dementia: what happens to a person’s identity? Howland remains the same person and yet is clearly no longer the person she once was. And where is the real Alice Howland to be found?

Dementia is caused by a range of medical conditions (the best-known being Alzheimer’s) that eat holes in the short-term memory of sufferers and degrade their capacity to process new information. Memory becomes like a flickering signal from a faraway shortwave radio station: people can do and say things, then promptly forget them, and then do and say them again. They can no longer read obvious social cues. They become easily distressed as a thickening fog descends upon them, causing them to lose track of everything. As the disease progresses, only fleeting glimpses of the once capable person can be seen; for the rest of the time, everyone is stuck with an uninvited guest. Eventually, the sufferer fails to recognise even loved ones.

Dementia raises deeply troubling issues about our obligations to care for people whose identity might have changed in the most disturbing ways. In turn, those changes challenge us to confront our philosophical and ethical assumptions about what makes up that identity in the first place. Everyone touched by the disease goes through a crash-course in the philosophy of mind.

Philosophy is not of much practical use with most illnesses but in the case of dementia it provides insights about selfhood and identity that can help us make sense of the condition and our own reactions to it. Broadly speaking, there are two accounts of how personal identity is formed and sustained. Each has different implications for how we understand dementia and so seek to care for people with it.

Read on HERE.

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The Milwaukee Experiment

What can one prosecutor do about the mass incarceration of African-Americans?

Like many people in the criminal-justice system, John Chisholm, the District Attorney in Milwaukee County, has been concerned for a long time about the racial imbalance in American prisons. The issue is especially salient in Wisconsin, where African-Americans constitute only six per cent of the population but thirty-seven per cent of those in state prison. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as of 2010 thirteen per cent of the state’s African-American men of working age were behind bars—nearly double the national average, of 6.7 per cent. The figures were especially stark for Milwaukee County, where more than half of African-American men in their thirties had served time in state prison. How, Chisholm wondered, did the work of his own office contribute to these numbers? Could a D.A. do anything to change them?

The recent spate of deaths of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police officers has brought renewed attention to racial inequality in criminal justice, but in the U.S. legal system prosecutors may wield even more power than cops. Prosecutors decide whether to bring a case or drop charges against a defendant; charge a misdemeanor or a felony; demand a prison sentence or accept probation. Most cases are resolved through plea bargains, where prosecutors, not judges, negotiate whether and for how long a defendant goes to prison. And prosecutors make these judgments almost entirely outside public scrutiny.

Chisholm decided to let independent researchers examine how he used his prosecutorial discretion. In 2007, when he took office, the Vera Institute of Justice, a research and policy group based in New York City, had just begun studying the racial implications of the work of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. Over several years, Chisholm allowed the researchers to question his staff members and look at their files. The conclusions were disturbing. According to the Vera study, prosecutors in Milwaukee declined to prosecute forty-one per cent of whites arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, compared with twenty-seven per cent of blacks; in cases involving prostitution, black female defendants were likelier to be charged than white defendants; in cases that involved resisting or obstructing an officer, most of the defendants charged were black (seventy-seven per cent), male (seventy-nine per cent), and already in custody (eighty per cent of blacks versus sixty-six per cent of whites).

More to read on this found HERE.

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