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Brandsma L. "Eating Disorders Across the Lifespan," Journal
of Women & Aging (Jan./Feb. 2007): Vol.19, No 1–2, pp.
Hay PJ, et al. "Eating
Disorder Behaviors Are Increasing: Findings from Two Sequential
Community Surveys in South Australia," PLoS One (FEB. 6,
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Attitudes and Their Correlates Among Canadian Women Concerned
About Their Weight," European Eating Disorders Review
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Lucas M, et al. "Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among
Women," Archives of Internal Medicine (Sept. 26, 2011):
Vol. 171, No. 17, pp. 1571–78.
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For some, aging may bring on — or rekindle — an eating disorder.
Most people who develop eating disorders — an estimated 90% — are
female. Typically associated with adolescents and young women,
eating disorders also affect middle-aged or elderly women —
although, until fairly recently, not much was known about
prevalence in this older age group.
Secrecy and shame are part of the disorder, and women may not
seek help. This is particularly true if they fear being forced to
gain unwanted weight or stigmatized as an older woman with a
Despite underdiagnosis of eating disorders in older people,
clinicians at treatment centers specializing in such issues
report that they've seen an upswing in requests for help from
older women. Some of these women have struggled with disordered
eating for decades, while for others the problem is new. The
limited amount of research on this topic suggests that such
anecdotal reports may reflect a trend.
In community surveys conducted in 1995 and again in 2005, for
example, Australian researchers found that while younger women
reported eating disorder behaviors more often than older women
did, the rate of these disorders in older women increased
dramatically between the two surveys, while it remained stable
for young women. In women ages 65 and over, strict dieting,
fasting, and binge eating all tripled, while purging quadrupled.
In the same surveys, rates of strict dieting or fasting and
purging also increased dramatically in women ages 45 to 64. A
study of Canadian women surveyed in the general population
likewise found that women ages 45 to 64 were more likely to binge
on food, feel guilty about eating, and be preoccupied with food
compared with younger women.
Anxiety can fuel a gambling
problem. A book offers advice.
Gambling and anxiety often go hand in hand. The 2001–2002 National
Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, as well as
other research, suggests that among people with the most severe
type of gambling problems — what mental health professionals label
pathological gambling — more than 11% are dealing with a
generalized anxiety disorder, almost 15% are suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder, nearly 22% are dealing with a panic
disorder, and 52% are struggling with a specific phobia.
Many people gamble as a way of managing anxiety. As they gamble,
people often report being separated from their anxious feelings or
projecting their feelings of anxiety onto the excitement they feel
when they partake in their gambling activity of choice. As a
result, gambling can work its way into the fabric of their everyday
life, and the impulse to gamble can overwhelm the rest of their
Thus, for many gamblers, reducing anxiety is a prerequisite to
making any changes in gambling behavior. Fortunately, there are
several techniques that can make a tremendous difference in
A study suggests that coffee not only wakes people up, but also
may offer some protection against depression. What's less clear
is why this might be. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public
Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed data collected
from nearly 51,000 women participating in the Nurses' Health
Study, all free of depression in 1996. The researchers then
determined how many of the women had developed depression a
decade later and compared their caffeine intake to determine
whether it affected risk. (They also controlled for other health
and lifestyle factors such as weight, cigarette smoking, and
exercise.) By 2006, 2,607 women were diagnosed with depression or
had started taking antidepressants. The researchers found an
inverse dose-response relationship between caffeine intake and
mood: the more caffeine a woman ingested per day, the lower the
likelihood that she developed depression during the study period.
Women who drank the most caffeinated coffee per day were 20% less
likely to develop depression than women who drank the
Medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder does not
increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in adults.
An analysis of Medicaid data showed an increase in spending on
depression care, mainly on medications.
My father-in-law was just diagnosed with vascular dementia. The
doctor said heart disease probably contributed to the problem.
What exactly is vascular dementia, and how can I help my husband
avoid the same fate?