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Elizabeth Agnvall

Biography:

Betsy Agnvall worked for a decade in Washington, D.C. as a freelance writer for The Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Safety and Health magazine and other publications. She is currently a features editor for health at AARP Media. She recently launched a blog that reports on the latest science about protecting and improving brain health. She's fascinated by the latest research that helps us understand how to live our lives to the fullest--keeping mind and body strong and sharp.

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Elizabeth Agnvall'sPosts

What’s Good for the Heart Is Good for the Brain

Posted on 10/25/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Personal HealthTwo new studies published in the journal Neurology  in the past week — and dozens over the years — seem to suggest that heart health and brain health are inexorably linked. The first study, published last week, found that older people with hardening of the arteries are more likely to have beta-amyloid plaques on their brains. The other, published yesterday, found that people with high blood sugar are more likely to have memory problems. Sign up for the AARP Health …

A Good Night’s Sleep May Protect Against Dementia

Posted on 10/21/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayAre you getting a good night’s sleep? Two new studies offer yet more reasons for why you should make sure you do. In one study, researchers at the University of Rochester, in New York state, found that the brain sweeps away waste and toxins during sleep. In the other, researchers at  Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, found that poor-quality sleep is linked to the buildup of toxins that seem to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Taken together, these studies show how sleep …

New Study: Vitamin D Pills Don’t Strengthen Healthy Bones

Posted on 10/10/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Personal HealthAlmost half of American adults take extra vitamin D to help strengthen their bones. But a new study published online today in the Lancet concludes that for healthy older adults, taking those pills to prevent osteoporosis is simply a waste of money. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter “Most healthy adults do not need vitamin D supplements,” said study leader Ian Reid, M.D., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Reid’s conclusion is based on a review of all …

Tom Hanks Reveals He Has Diabetes. Did Fluctuating Weight Play a Role?

Posted on 10/8/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Personal HealthIn a surprise announcement, Tom Hanks, 57, revealed on the Late Show with David Letterman that he has diabetes. While on the show to promote his new film Captain Phillips, he told Letterman that he learned at age 36 that he had high blood sugar. Recently his doctor told him: “You’ve graduated. You’ve got type 2 diabetes, young man.” Hanks said the doctor also told him that if he could return to his high school weight, he’d be “completely healthy” and …

One More Thing to Stress About: Midlife Stress and Your Brain

Posted on 10/3/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health | Bulletin TodayAfter the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., each day brings a new set of challenges: deadlines and responsibility at work, AP history homework, French quizzes, soccer carpools, meetings at school, dogs that need to be walked and a hardworking husband who is rarely home before 8 p.m. My mother died in February after a difficult illness, and still I sometimes wake in the middle of the night in grief and panic. Add to that list a new study to …

Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Really Bolster Aging Brains?

Posted on 09/27/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Brain Health“Eat your fish — it’s brain food,” our mothers told us, and we repeat that mantra to our own children. For years we’ve heard that fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, is good for our brain health. And many scientists identified omega-3 fatty acids as the substance in the fish that would help our math skills, keep us alert and preserve our brain health. That made sense because omega-3 fatty acids — which are also found in high levels in …