The Friend Who Keeps You Young

The Friend Who Keeps You Young

The Friend Who Keeps You Young | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Linkedin Pinterest Aging Well Age-Related Depression, Mood and Stress Staying Active as You Age Aging and Relationships

Adopting a pet may seem a selfless act, but there are plenty ofselfish reasons to embrace pet ownership. Research has shown that owning apet provides an amazing array of health benefits, says Jeremy Barron, M.D.,medical director of the Beacham Center for Geriatric Medicine at JohnsHopkins.

Not ready for a full-time furry friend in your home? Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog, cat-sit for a friend, or donate time at a local animal shelter—even short interactions provide enough pet exposure to reap some of these rewards.

Reduce stress

Research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol , while the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies).

In fact, an astonishing 84 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder patients paired with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and 40 percent were able to decrease their medications, reported a recent survey.

Lower blood pressure

The cortisol-lowering and oxytocin-boosting benefits of petting also help keep your blood pressure at bay. “Petting and holding an animal allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature,” explains Barron. “It’s relaxing and transcendental.”

Increase physical activity

How many people are willing to go outside at the crack of dawn and exercise in the rain or snow? Dog owners often have no choice—they have to walk their pet, thus providing them with an excuse-proof daily dose of exercise.

Boost heart health

The American Heart Association released a research report endorsing dog ownership as a way of warding off cardiovascular disease .

Ease loneliness and depression

A 2011 study found that pet owners had better self-esteem. Another study determined that pets provided greater social support than humans in mitigating depression. “Caring for a pet provides a sense of purpose to the owner,” says Barron. Plus, pets are a good social catalyst for meeting people who share your animal interests.

Help specific health concerns

Beyond simple companionship, dogs have long been wonderful helpers to those without sight or with mobility issues. Dogs are even being used to help detect conditions from seizures to cancer.

Cardiovascular (car-dee-oh-vas-cue-ler) disease: Problems of the heart or blood vessels, often caused by atherosclerosis—the build-up of fat deposits in artery walls—and by high blood pressure, which can weaken blood vessels, encourage atherosclerosis and make arteries stiff. Heart valve disorders, heart failure and off-beat heart rhythms (called arrhythmias) are also types of cardiovascular disease.

Cortisol (kor-tuh-sol): A hormone produced by the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys and involved in the stress response. It rises in the mornings, inducing wakefulness and also rises during stress. Sleep deprivation, caffeine and alcohol can also raise cortisol levels. Chronically high levels have been linked with low immunity, weight gain and other health problems.

Oxytocin (ok-si-toh-suhn): In men, a hormone released from the pituitary gland that aids penile erection and ejaculation. In women, it stimulates milk production and the uterus to contract.

In both genders, it influences social bonding, which is why it also is sometimes referred to as a bonding or love hormone. As a medicine, oxytocin is sometimes given to pregnant women to induce or speed labor.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A disorder in which your “fight or flight,” or stress, response stays switched on, even when you have nothing to flee or battle.

The disorder usually develops after an emotional or physical trauma, such as a mugging, physical abuse or a natural disaster.

Symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, angry outbursts, emotional numbness, and physical and emotional tension.

Social support: The help you receive from others in your life. Family, friends, peers and other people who care about you and for you make up your social support system or network.

While dogs give you the most benefits of any other pet, they also requiremore time and financial commitment.

Dogs cost an average of $227 per yearin vet bills, and the larger the dog, the more you will have to spend onfood (not to mention more time spent exercising the dog).

If you havemobility issues, also keep your fall risk in mind when deciding the sizeand type of dog you bring into your home.


A League of Your Own

The Friend Who Keeps You Young | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Linkedin Pinterest Aging Well Staying Active as You Age Aging and Relationships Age-Related Depression, Mood and Stress

Is play part of your plan for health? Leisure activities, particularlygroup activities, are a vital part of keeping adults healthy in mindand body, says Jeremy Barron, M.D., medical director of the BeachamCenter for Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins. But according to theBureau of Labor Statistics, time spent on leisure and sports activitiesover the weekend peaks in our late teens and then diminishes as adultresponsibilities monopolize our free time. 

To help make play a priority in your life again, check out these benefits of indulging in recreation as an adult. Then try joining a league or group at the local YMCA or community center. Better yet, start a recess group in your neighborhood. A meetup.

com group in Austin, Texas, gets together for “adult recess” to play tag and kickball, while in Portland, Oregon, a self-proclaimed group of “youthful-minded adults” created the Recess Time Sports Leagues to bowl and to play dodgeball, kickball, Ping-Pong and mushball.

Improve productivity

“With media connectivity, people are more accessible and therefore spend more time doing work,” says Barron. “But too much time working and plugged in burns people out.

It backfires: Workers who don’t take breaks turn out to be less happy and less productive.

” In fact, start-up company Fundable factors in a 30- to 45-minute recess every day to allow employees to disconnect and recharge for a fresher mind.

Keep your brain sharp

Johns Hopkins researchers determined that adults who participated in a variety of activities experienced an 8 percent to 11 percent reduction in the risk of verbal memory impairment.

“There has been a question of whether we can prevent cognitive decline and dementia by engaging in social activities that aren’t necessarily cognitive,” explains Barron.

“This research showed that social activities improved cognitive reserves even if they didn’t tax the mind.”

Connect with real friends

In the Internet age, social activity has come to imply how many times you post on or . But Barron says that technology can’t replace real human contact. “Relationships through the Internet are not as beneficial as face-to-face contact, where you can see someone smile and laugh,” he explains.

Stay motivated for fitness

Getting together with a group of people to do something active reduces the odds that you will turn into a couch potato. “People are more ly to stick with something if there is peer pressure or peer expectation; otherwise, participation will drop off quickly,” says Barron. “To keep people engaged and motivated to be active, you have to have a buddy.”

Dementia (di-men-sha): A loss of brain function that can be caused by a variety of disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms include forgetfulness, impaired thinking and judgment, personality changes, agitation and loss of emotional control. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and inadequate blood flow to the brain can all cause dementia. Most types of dementia are irreversible. What the Experts Do

Not everyone has the time, or the inclination, to join a league or group.But you only need one person to reap the benefits.

In fact, some expertsbelieve that you can get more interacting with an acquaintance thanwith your inner circle of friends and family—people outside your closestcontacts can offer you new ideas and perspectives.

“Twice a week I meetsomeone to study the Talmud,” says Barron. “Those conversations andexperiences are often the highlights of my week.”


Mayor posts coronavirus misinformation on , falsely claims to be from Johns Hopkins

The Friend Who Keeps You Young | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Every day, we learn new information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), the pandemic that has changed the world. Wochit

LAS CRUCES – Mayor Ken Miyagishima shared an inaccurate post about coronavirus avoidance tips that falsely purported to come from Johns Hopkins University, an institution which has been researching the virus and providing expert information.

On Sunday, the mayor posted to the community page “las cruces community watch” a post that falsely claims “Johns Hopkins University has sent this detailed note on avoiding the contagion.”

The post then claims to lay out tips and tricks to avoid catching the virus. It describes the virus' genetic makeup, describes why hot water and soap can destroy the virus and explains that alcohol can kill the virus.

It claims the virus cannot go through healthy skin, claims keeping your fingernails short prevents the virus from hiding under them and claims you can prevent the virus from spreading by not shaking clothes or bedsheets.

While many of these claims seem to sound tips the public has heard from health officials, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins confirmed to the Sun-News that the post is a hoax. It did not come from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The Sun-News couldn't get Johns Hopkins to evaluate the veracity of each claim in the post, so it's unclear the degree to which each claim included is true or false. Johns Hopkins emphasizes the whole post lacks credibility.

“This is not something produced by Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM),” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We have seen rumors and misinformation about COVID-19 citing our experts and circulating on social media, and we have received several inquiries from the general public about these posts. We do not know their origin, and they lack credibility.”

More: Coronavirus in Southern New Mexico: What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak

Johns Hopkins has kept a detailed webpage about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, called the Coronavirus Resource Center that includes a map of infections and deaths, information about proper social distancing, information about the virus' behavior and updates from experts and researchers. 

You can find coronavirus information from Johns Hopkins at

Once another member of the group pointed out the post appeared to not have come from Johns Hopkins, the mayor removed it Monday morning.

Miyagishima said when the veracity of the post was called into question, he looked for the information on the Johns Hopkins website and couldn't find it. So he removed the post.

“I made an error in not verifying that it came from Johns Hopkins and that won’t happen again,” the mayor said.

More: Council gives mayor authority to declare state of emergency

The text of the post has been circling in dozens of posts and the mayor’s post appears to have been a direct copy and paste of the viral hoax's text. Before the mayor took the post down, his post was shared more than 480 times. 

Miyagishima told the Sun-News he takes responsibility for the mistake, saying he received the information in an email.

“I have an acquaintance who in the past has emailed me and it always seemed to be pretty much, well, I had no reason to dispute it,” Miyagishima said. “I took it for granted that it was good.”

He said he did research some of the claims online to see if they checked out and determined the information seemed true. 

“There was information on there that seemed credible,” Miyagishima said. “So I guess what I’m trying to say is, some of that, for example washing your hands, certain things that were on there (seemed credible).”

For the last few weeks Miyagishima has been sharing all sorts of coronavirus information with residents on “community watch.”

He's reminded residents that the Las Cruces tap water is available in the event of bottled water shortages. He's reminded travelers into New Mexico from certain hot spot cities to self-quarantine. And he's compiled and posted information about essential city services, grocery store hours for seniors and assistance for workers.

Miyagishima said to expect a further statement on about the false post.

For other places with trusted information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at and the New Mexico Department of Health website at

Michael McDevitt can be reached at 575-202-3205, or @MikeMcDTweets on .

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Prosthetic Services

The Friend Who Keeps You Young | Johns Hopkins Medicine

At the Johns Hopkins Facial Prosthetics Clinic, Juan R. García, MA, Certified Clinical Anaplastologist provides patients with non-weight bearing custom-designed rehabilitative prostheses for the face, eye or body. These devices are used in the treatment of disfigurements caused by trauma, cancer, or developmental differences.

Patients and physicians may arrange for a free consult or referral by calling 410-955-8215.

Prosthetic Rehabilitation

The prostheses a clinical anaplastologist makes are non weight-bearing and are worn externally, on the skin surface to cover, protect, and modify disfigured or missing anatomy in the face, eye or body.

These devices are not meant to be “perfect” or “totally indistinguishable.” Instead, they are “realistic enough” to allow the wearer to maintain social interaction while minimizing discomfort.

The primary concern is to protect and maximally restore function through a safe and comfortable prosthesis.

Prostheses address several functional needs such as protecting underlying fragile tissues, closing off an open cavity, warming incoming air, and providing support for eyeglasses.

Secondarily, the device should match the remaining anatomy as much as possible, knowing that there are limitations to reproducing living tissue through the use of artificial materials and a process that relies equally on clinical, artistic and technical skills.

Other factors, such as secure retention and the ability of the patient to accept and care for the device over the long term, will also contribute to a successful outcome.

A prosthetic treatment plan is generally decided upon through a collaborative effort between the physician, clinical anaplastologist, and the patient. Once the patient has been medically cleared to proceed with treatment, a prosthesis can generally be made over several office visits.

The process involves the following steps: creating a casting of the affected area, sculpting a custom prosthesis wax, creating a mold of the sculpted form, casting the final prosthesis in silicone, and externally painting to more closely match a patient’s skin tones.

Prostheses can be secured through the use of adhesives, tape, magnets or implantable screws to which a bar and clip or magnet system is attached.

The chosen method of retention will affect the length and number of appointments as well as the time frame for delivery of the prosthesis.

The Clinical Anaplastologist

The professional that creates the prosthesis is known as a clinical anaplastologist. This is a non-physician provider with varied educational and training background. Our clinical anaplastologist, Mr.

Juan García received his Master of Arts degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Medical & Biological Illustration. He since participated in several training and continuing educational opportunities to develop his skills in the discipline of anaplastology.

He currently holds an Associate Professor appointment in the department and serves as the Clinic Director. Mr. García is a former president of the International Anaplastology Association (IAA) and continues to participate as an active member, providing many lectures and workshops over the years. Mr.

García has also played an active role in the development of clinical standards in the field as a board member of the Board for Certification in Clinical Anaplastology (BCCA). He is a board Certified Clinical Anaplastologist (CCA).

The Johns Hopkins Facial Prosthetics/Anaplastology Clinic offers a Supervised Clinical Anaplastology Training Program for individuals interested in pursuing education in this field. Program requirements as well as information for applying to the program can be found by clicking the link above.

Individuals interested in learning more about the field are also encouraged to review the Education and Training information posted on the International Anaplastology Association (IAA) and the Candidate Handbook information posted on the Board for Certification in Clinical Anaplastology (BCCA).