Health Buzz: Cognitive Abilities of Nonagenarians Improving

Michelle Obama hosts Kids' State Dinner; Plus, Citi Bike or choke holds: Which is the greater danger?

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Study: Mental Decline of 90-Somethings May be Slowing

The cognitive functioning of people in their 90s, or nonagenarians, may be improving, suggests a study released today in The Lancet. Researchers took a look at two cohorts of Danish people in their 90s. The 2,266 people in the first cohort were born in 1905 and assessed at around age 93. The 1,584 people in the second cohort were born in 1915 and assessed at around age 95. Both cohorts were given "mini-mental state examinations and a composite of five cognitive tests that are sensitive to age-related changes," the study report says. The participants were also assessed in terms of an "activities of daily living score," as well as physical performance tests, which measured grip strength, chair stand and gait speed.

The results? The 1915 cohort lived longer, and even though they were assessed at ages two years older than those in the 1905 cohort, the participants born in 1915 scored significantly better on the mental exams and cognitive tests. And while the two cohorts didn't differ consistently in their physical performance tests, the 1915 cohort had significantly better scores when in terms of activities of daily living. "There's a fear that getting older means many years of living in bad shape with a rather gloomy outlook," Kaare Christensen, lead study researcher from the University of Southern Denmark, told Bloomberg in an interview. "I'm looking forward to living longer than 90 myself after this study."

Michelle Obama Hosts Kids' State Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama was adamant: No silverware necessary during the Kids' State Dinner, no matter how fancy the White House setting. "It's OK to eat with your fingers," she said to laughter during the event Tuesday. "Parents, OK? Don't make them eat with a fork and knife. Just pick it up."

Whether the lunchtime meal qualified as finger food is debatable. More clear: It was as healthy as it was tasty. During the second annual Kids' State Dinner, Obama hosted 54 kids who had won her Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest. Junior chefs from throughout the country submitted recipes for meals that are both healthy and delicious; the contest, designed to promote healthy eating, is part of the First Lady's "Let's Move!" initiative.

On the menu Tuesday: Zucchini cornbread, spring rolls, mini pizzas with veggies, veggie barley salad, lettuce cups, a tropical fruit bowl and banana muffins, along with strawberry banana smoothies and passion fruit banana smoothies. [Read more: Michelle Obama Hosts Kids' State Dinner]

Citi Bike or Choke Holds: Which is the Greater Danger?

Would you rather take your chances participating in a city-backed transportation program, or in an illegal cage fight, asks U.S. News blogger Jeff Halevy.

Participate in an activity that was responsible for nearly 700 American deaths in 2011 alone, or an activity that has been responsible for eight or nine fatalities in the past 20 years?

The former options, and latter options, on both of these questions are one in the same: Nearly 700 Americans were killed in bicycle accidents in 2011 alone, and, at most, nine fighters have died from Mixed Martial Arts since 1993 (only three of which have resulted from legitimate, sanctioned bouts). [Read more: Citi Bike or Choke Holds: Which is the Greater Danger?]

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