Aging, however undesirable, is a normal and expected part of the human condition. Yet, for those who study aging, there is a new take.
It starts with how the aging process works. As we age, our cells age – a process called cellular senescence – and the result is an accumulation of damaged cells. These cells then release inflammatory factors that act like signals to the immune system to clear the damaged cells – a process which works well when we are young. However, as we age, our cells aren’t cleared as effectively by our immune system, and as they begin to accumulate, they cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade tissue.
How to reduce the burden of damaged cells has been the question for University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia.
In a recent study it seems they may have found their answer. Using a natural product called Fisetin, which is found in many fruits and vegetables, on mice towards the end of life, the researchers saw improvements both in health and lifespan (Yousefzadeh et al., 2018).
Robbins and his team now dub Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that, they say, “extends health and lifespan” (Robbins 2018).
“These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life” (Robbins, 2018).
This study was also novel in that it used mass cytometry, or CyTOF, technology and applied it for the first time in aging research, which as Robbins notes, helped demonstrate not only that Fisetin works to counteract aging, but just how it works (Robbins, 2018).
What we can ascertain from work like this is something we might have already guessed – eating fruits and vegetables is good for us. What we now know, however, is that it might also help us live longer and healthier.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:
Spirituality & Aging is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers an insight into how spirituality influences the lives of elders in our care.
Spirituality and religious beliefs provide coping mechanisms for issues related to aging and have been proven to have a protective factor. Elders with higher levels of spirituality have better mental and physical health, and are less anxious about aging.
This course provides an accessible tool kit for healthcare professionals to use in attending to the spiritual well-being – as well as the physical, social, and emotional needs – of elders in their care. Included are ready-to-use exercises and techniques for promoting spiritual self-awareness in elders, as well as vignettes from the author’s own years of experience. The author makes a clear distinction between spirituality and religion, emphasizing the importance of helping elders come to terms with the numerous losses they experience in later life. Among the tools described are the spiritual inventory, an assessment of spiritual needs, the value of forgiveness and legacy, a discussion of spiritual deterrents, the importance of cultural sensitivity, how to promote spiritual growth in a group setting, and compassion fatigue among healthcare professionals. Course #21-28 | 2019 | 34 pages | 15 posttest questions
Aging: Challenges for Clinicians is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides a review of the aging process, illustrating potential challenges and effective solutions.
Americans are living longer and there are proportionately more older adults than in previous generations due to the post-World War II baby boom. Many Americans are now living into their eighties and beyond. In healthcare, the volume of older people may soon outnumber the supply of healthcare professionals trained in geriatrics.
Aging presents many challenges for people as they encounter new physical and psychosocial issues. It is vital for healthcare professionals to be familiar with the challenges of aging in order to effectively treat the aging population. This course will provide information on the normal process of aging, and point out problems commonly thought to be normal that require medical or psychological evaluation and treatment. Case examples will illustrate scenarios of aging persons who may be at risk but are not aware there is a problem. Use this information for referral as appropriate to ensure the highest level of functioning for your patients. Course #31-01 | 2017 | 54 pages | 20 posttest questions
Nutrition and Mental Health: Advanced Clinical Concepts is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines how what we eat influences how we feel, both physically and mentally. While the role of adequate nutrition in maintaining mental health has been established for some time, just how clinicians go about providing the right nutritional information to the patient at the right time – to not just ensure good mental health, but actually optimize mood – has not been so clear. With myriad diets, weight loss supplements and programs, clients often find themselves reaching for the next best nutritional solution, all the while, unsure how they will feel, or even what to eat to feel better. On the other side of the equation, clinicians so often face not just a client’s emotional, situational, and relational concerns, but concerns that are clearly mired in how the client feels physically, and what impact his/her nutritional health may have on these concerns. For example, research into the role of blood sugar levels has demonstrated a clear crossover with client impulse control. Additionally, the gut microbiome, and its role in serotonin production and regulation has consistently made clear that without good gut health, mitigating anxiety and depression becomes close to impossible.
So if good mental health begins with good nutritional health, where should clinicians start? What advice should they give to a depressed client? An anxious client? A client with impulse control problems? This course will answer these questions and more. Comprised of three sections, the course will begin with an overview of macronutrient intake and mental health, examining recent popular movements such as intermittent fasting, carb cycling and ketogenic diets, and their impact on mental health. In section two, we will look specifically at the role of blood sugar on mental health, and research that implicates blood sugar as both an emotional and behavioral regulator. Gut health, and specifically the gut microbiome, and its influence on mood and behavior will then be explored. Lastly, specific diagnoses and the way they are impacted by specific vitamins and minerals will be considered. Section three will deliver specific tools, you, the clinician, can use with your clients to assess, improve and maximize nutrition to optimize mental health. Course #11-06 | 2017 | 21 pages | 10 posttest questions
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).