Division of Geriatric Medicine, St. Louis University, and Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63104
Humans over 70 yr of age often lose weight. This appears to be due to a physiological anorexia of aging as well as a loss of lean mass (sarcopenia) and, to a lesser extent, fat mass. The causes of the physiological anorexia of aging include changes in taste and smell and a decrease in adaptive relaxation of the fundus of the stomach, which leads to more rapid antral filling and early satiation. In addition, basal and stimulated levels of the satiating hormone, cholecystokinin, are increased. In men, the decline in testosterone leads to an increase in leptin and a loss of lean mass. Although resting metabolic rate declines with aging, this is mainly due to the decline in lean body mass. Energy metabolism is also decreased due to a decline in Na+-K+-ATPase activity, decreased muscle protein turnover, and possibly changes in mitochondrial membrane protein permeability. Physical energy expenditure declines with aging. Meal-induced thermogenesis shows a delay to peak, possibly due to a delay in gastric emptying. Inadequate data are available on the effect of aging in humans on other energy-producing mechanisms such as adaptive thermogenesis. These physiological changes place older men and women at major risk of developing pathological weight loss when they develop disease states, especially those associated with cytokine elaboration.
A specter is haunting the Republican establishment—the specter of Barry Goldwater. With recent polling data suggesting that Rick Santorum has surged ahead of Mitt Romney among Republican voters nationwide, the people whose livelihoods depend on Republican electoral victories are terrified by the growing possibility of a massive wipeout in November, much like the one that Republicans experienced in 1964, when Goldwater was their nominee.
But even if the magnitude of the Republicans’ defeat this year resembles that previous debacle, the path there will be significantly different. Whereas Goldwater’s campaign was the product of an insurgency against the reigning Republican establishment, this year’s disaster is the product of political atrophy that the current GOP establishment has itself actively presided over.
Thom notes a post talking about a Canadian study that looked at the costs associated with hospitalization as functions of age, sex, BMI and some other things. BMI is generally not the best metric to describe health, but it is easy to measure and is commonly used as a proxy for disease where it is associated with health problems.
For this study about half the people were obese or overweight - in the US the current faction is about two thirds. It was found middle aged people had the greatest problems suggesting workplace interventions as potentially most effective. Perhaps a good idea - I have no idea what this would be like in the US, but I suspect prevention starting in childhood has an even greater bang for the buck, but it would take awhile to realize savings and may be too difficult socially.
I doubt there will be freedom of or from religion for a long time in the US - a positive sign would be the election of an openly atheist president (note - atheists don't consider it a religion, but rather a position of not believing in a deity or deities: consider the word - a-theist).
There is also a lot of distrust between religions - witness Christians vs almost anyone who is different and visa versa - and then there are the Jews. Kennedy's election was something of a watershed moment for Catholics and Romney will be a test for Mormons. Many mainstream Christians consider Mormons not to be share some core beliefs, so it may be a larger issue .. or perhaps not. But one expects to see it raised. Many people don't care as they don't believe in the religion, but some are offended in the sense that it feels like a disrespect of their dead as well as the idea that it is an automatic opt-in system.
Bart notes that Elie Wiesel was on the Colbert Report recently complaining about the Mormon practice of baptizing dead Jews - in particular Holocaust victims. Colbert offers his own treatment. The irony is Colbert is a practicing Catholic ..