Health Buzz: Aging Research Wins Nobel Prize and Other Health News

6 things to know about diabetes and the flu; how will today's babies live to see 100?


A Look at Nobel Prize Winner's Research

Elizabeth Blackburn is one of three Americans awarded this year's Nobel Prize in medicine, Reuters reports. The researchers discovered the enzyme telomerase, which helps keep cells from dying. Their discovery has played a major role in advancing research into aging and cancer.

Telomerase makes and replenishes telomeres, tiny units of DNA, which are protective caps like shoestring tips on the ends of chromosomes. The length of the telomeres dictates cellular life span, U.S. News's Lindsay Lyon reported in July when she profiled Blackburn, a molecular and cell biologist at the University of California-San Francisco. Telomerase, Lyon wrote, is involved in roughly 90 percent of human cancers. Read more.

[Read: Elizabeth Blackburn: Ordering Cancer Cells to Curl Up and Die and 14 Medical Pioneers Who Aren't Holding Back.]

Diabetes and the Flu: 6 Things You Should Know

If you have diabetes, it's wise to take steps to protect yourself from both regular flu and H1N1, or swine flu, experts say, since you're more at risk for complications of the flu than people in other groups, U.S. News's January Payne writes. Simply being sick at all, with a cold or the flu, can increase your blood glucose, and it may keep you from eating regularly, which also affects your blood sugar, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetics' immune systems are more susceptible to severe cases of the flu, so the CDC recommends that all diabetics get a seasonal flu shot between October and mid-November. As for the H1N1 vaccine, expected to be available soon, health officials say people ages 25 through 64 who have diabetes or other medical conditions tied to a higher risk of complications from the flu also should be vaccinated. Payne lists 6 things diabetics should know if they get seasonal flu or H1N1. Among them is to check the label of over-the-counter medications before taking them. Some OTC medicines, particularly cough syrups, contain sugar, which can affect blood glucose levels, Payne writes.

[Slide Show: 10 Do's and Don'ts to Protect Yourself From Swine Flu.]

Majority of Babies Will Live to 100—How Will They Do It?

Most babies born in the United States and Western Europe today are expected to live to 100 if we continue on the same trend of increased life expectancy, according to a study published in the journal Lancet . "Very long lives are not the distant privilege of remote future generations—very long lives are the probable destiny of most people alive now," wrote the study authors, who are from the Danish Aging Research Center. According to their analysis of data from more than 30 developed countries, death rates are dropping among people over 80, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.

Other studies have shown that we can take steps to live longer and better, Kotz writes. For example, a recent British Medical Journal study shows that you can cut your risk of having a stroke in half by doing the following four things: being active for 30 minutes a day, eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, avoiding cigarettes, and avoiding excess alcohol.

Beyond those basic things, science has revealed that centenarians tend to share certain traits in how they eat, move about, and deal with stress—specific habits, like flossing and socializing with friends, that we can adopt to help slow aging. Read more.

[Read: 5 Common Myths About Aging and 10 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100.]

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