Friday, January 13, 2017

White Blood Cell Count: Biomarker of Health

Photo by keepingtime_ca.

Most people know that having a high white blood cell count is most likely a sign that the body is fighting an infection.

Also, having a low white blood cell count can be a sign of a problem.

White blood cells play a central role in the body's immune system. These cells constitute about 1% of human blood. They are small, but they are mighty.

Until doing research for this post, I had no idea what values constituted a healthy range for white blood cell count (WBC).

Depending on the source, healthy ranges for WBC are listed somewhere between 4,000 to 5,000 per microlitre on the low end or normal and between 10,000 and 11,000 per microlitre on the high end of normal. 

This post is part of a series on bimarkers of health and longevity.

White blood cell count was one of 18 biomarkers studied by a team of researchers, led by Daniel Belsky from Duke University.   They used data from the Dunedin, New Zealand longitudinal study to see if the pace of aging affected people as they moved from their 20s into their 30s. Their goal was to look at pace of aging in younger people while there is still more time for intervention.

Many of the biomarkers did present significant findings, but the biomarker of white blood cell count was not one of them. Nevertheless, I'm investigating all 18 to learn more about them in case I need to understand WBC lab results for me or a for a family member.

A different study published in 2007 has linked high white blood cell count with cardiovascular problems. However, more research is required to solidify the connection.

[This post does not offer medical advice. It is only aimed at increasing awareness. If you have a concern about your health or the health of a loved one, please see a licensed medical professional.]


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 5th Blogoversary to TGAM

Image by Nick Lee.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of this blog on aging.

Initially, this was a place for me to record my observations as a graduate student in a gerontology master's program.

Since then, I have taught gerontology classes at Wichita State University before moving to Indiana, where I currently teach part time for University of Southern Indiana (USI).

One of my primary identities is "Life-long Learner."  The blog gives me a place to share book reviews, research notes, and film analysis with others.

I've published over 300 posts, but the views in the last year pushed SIX posts from 2016 into the top 20.

Here are the 20 Posts that have accrued the most views over the last five years. 

In ascending order...


20. Quotes about Aging (April 25, 2016)
19. New Home for an Emptying Nester (March 14, 2016)
18. Midlife Ennui (March 7, 2016)
17. The Lie of One-and-Done Caregiving (January 21, 2016)
16. Books about Alzheimer's (June 5, 2014)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Top Ten Posts

Photo by Sam Churchill.
Over the last year, this blog enjoyed a significant jump in readership.

Two posts from 2016 moved into the Overall Top 15 viewed posts.

Another eight posts from this year, moved into the Overall Top 25 from over 300 posts. 

Thank you, dear readers, for traveling with me.

This blog records my journey to better my own aging process while supporting the generation above me.

I'm hoping that other travelers have an easier path because of my "trail notes." 

Without further ado, here is a countdown of the Top 10 Posts from 2016, in ascending order:


Both of these films (one American, one Norwegian) chronicle the transition from full-time work to retirement.  The main characters, however, take a radically different approach to adjusting.  Great performances by Jack Nicholson and Baar Owe.  


Baby Boomers said farewell to many favorite entertainers.  While it's appropriate to memorialize them, we can also embrace many recording artists who are still living and working.  Are your favorite singers from the 1960s and 1970s on this list?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Forever Painless: Book Review

Published November 15, 2016.
Miranda Esmonde-White is a fitness expert, author and host of the PBS show called Classical Stretch, which has over 300 episodes.

This fall, Harper Wave has published Esmonde-White's most recent book:

Forever Painless: End Chronic Pain and Reclaim Your Life in 30 Minutes a Day. (Hardcover, 320 pages).

The book's main point is this:

Appropriate movement is key for managing chronic pain.

The first four chapters explain the theory behind this point. 

The next ten chapters provide detailed instructions for various types of movement.


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