Based on my health issues and current status in life, several news stories piqued my interest recently, and I thought caregivers and seniors alike could benefit from this information.

The Benefits of Coffee

If you drink coffee, your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is lowered by 31 percent, according to a meta-analysis presented at the First Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Berlin.

As reported in a recent article in Medical News Today, Dr. Filipe Brogueira Rodrigues and his team at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon conducted a systematic review of 37 studies from all over the world. “Men and women benefit equally from the effects of caffeine,” he said.

While there are still many possible explanations, the researchers think that coffee’s caffeine interacts with the neurotransmitter adenosine. According to Brogueira Rodrigues, “This may have neuroprotective effects on specific brain regions which play an important role in relation to Parkinson’s.”

The good news about coffee’s positive health benefits wasn’t especially surprising, since the popular drink has already been linked with reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Professor Kailash Bhatia from the Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, said, “Better understanding of environmental factors which reduce or increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is crucial to safeguard against developing this disorder.”

He urged continuing study to more clearly understand the link between caffeine in coffee and its association with reduced risk of Parkinson’s.

Old People DO Smell Different

“Nonenal” is the culprit—a component of body odor that develops in men and women after about age 40. Maybe you’ve smelled it in nursing homes or other elder care facilities.

According to this article on AgingCare, the formation of Nonenal is a naturally occuring process.

As the skin grows weaker, its natural oils become oxidized more quickly; this is caused by fatty acids, which are secreted by the sebaceous glands and react to the oxygen in the air to form Nonenal. Because it isn't water soluble, Nonenal can remain on the skin despite washing, even remaining after intense scrubbing. Therefore, the smell caused by Nonenal persists, even in extremely clean environments.

There are healthy lifestyle strategies for reducing “old people smell,” including:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding stress
  • Not smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Eating a clean diet
  • Getting enough rest

Sounds like good advice for anyone, to be honest.

In addition, persimmon extract and Japanese green tea are both thought to combat Nonenal.

Unfortunately, the aroma lingers, even with excellent personal hygiene. Currently, most popular soaps in the United States include deodorants to eliminate odors such as ammonia (caused by urine), trimethylamine and sulfide oxygen (caused by feces and urine), acetic acid (caused by sweat) and isovaleric acid (created by feet). As millions of Baby Boomers enter their senior years, maybe we’ll see some new products on the market soon that address the Nonenal specifically.