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Elizabeth Agnvall

Biography:

Betsy Agnvall is a features editor for health at AARP Media. She's fascinated by research that helps us understand how to live our lives to the fullest – keeping mind and body strong and sharp. She previously worked as a freelance writer for The Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Safety and Health magazine and other publications.

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Elizabeth Agnvall'sPosts

Can Young Blood Reverse Aging in Older Brains?

Posted on 05/6/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayWhat’s the secret of youth? It may be all in the blood. Three new studies published Sunday showed that when the blood of young mice was put into the systems of older mice, the effects of aging were reversed, improving both muscles and brains. Researchers will now race to find practical implications for older human brains. One of the study authors plans to start a trial this year, giving young blood to Alzheimer’s patients to see if it can reverse …

How Much You Sleep Now Can Affect Your Memory Later

Posted on 05/2/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayLike most Americans, I rarely get the doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Usually, I get too little sleep. Occasionally, I get too much. So I worried when I saw a new study that found that how much women sleep in middle age can affect their memory later in life. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston evaluated the link between sleep duration and memory in more than 15,000 women age 70 and older who were  stroke and …

Sleep Disorder Linked to Parkinson’s, Dementia

Posted on 04/23/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayThrashing about while you’re asleep may be a sign of something more troubling than mere restlessness: It could be a predictor of brain disease. A new study suggests that 80 to 90 percent of people who suffer from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder will eventually develop Parkinson’s or another brain disease. What’s REM sleep behavior disorder? It’s a condition that causes people to act out vivid, intense, even violent dreams. People who have it often yell, punch and kick …

The Surprising Good News About Getting Older

Posted on 04/22/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayThe headline in this morning’s Wall Street Journal caught my eye:  “We Actually Get Nicer With Age.” Wow! So much for the stereotype of the grumpy old man and the cranky old lady. According to the article, as people get older, they report increases in positive traits such as conscientiousness, agreeableness and emotional stability. What’s more, negative traits — like neuroticism, anger and anxiety — seem to decline. Overall,  as we age we become “more responsible, more agreeable and more …

A Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor’s Key to Recovery

Posted on 04/14/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Personal HealthJohn Odom is looking forward to walking into Boston Medical Center this week for a memorial honoring survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. After all, when he left the hospital last May, the doctors and nurses weren’t sure he would ever walk again. Odom, 66, was one of the most severely injured of the bombing victims, enduring 11 surgeries and weeks on life support after shrapnel from one bomb tore apart his legs. “I want to be able to walk in …

Should You Be Screened for Dementia?

Posted on 03/25/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayShould older adults be routinely screened for Alzheimer’s disease or memory problems? Maybe, maybe not. A government panel says there’s not yet enough data to recommend either for or against it. The panel’s uncertainty reflects the complexity of the issue at a time when scientists are progressing much faster in their ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s than in their ability to treat it. This news is especially relevant in light of the recent discovery of a blood test that can predict with 90 …