Tucked away at the end of a secluded cul-de-sac, Nichelle Nichols’ Woodland Hills home was a testament to her boundary-breaking career spanning more than 70 years.
Nichols lined walls and shelves with photos of herself as Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” series, memorabilia from her legions of fans and documentation of her contributions to NASA’s recruitment of women and people of color in the 1970s.
The home was Nichols’ pride and joy, say those close to the star. She purchased it in 1982 for $12,000 and meticulously planned its details, from her plush, oversize furniture to the garden where she planted roses to the neighboring property she purchased in 1994 to use as a guesthouse and workspace for projects.
Questions around the fate of Nichols’ home — who lives in it and what happens to it — have been central to an ongoing, years-long legal battle over the finances and care of the beloved TV star, who friends and family say is financially drained and struggling with dementia.
When it comes to aging, the goal isn’t necessarily just to live longer, but to extend your years of healthy life.
“The scientific term is ‘healthspan,’ which represents the time period of life in which a person is free of debilitating disease,” Stephen Anton, PhD, of the Institute on Aging in the Department of Aging & Geriatric Research at University of Florida Health, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
This is a mix of health, happiness and good quality of life.
A new study estimates that life expectancy in the U.S. decreased by nearly two years between 2018 and 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the declines were most pronounced among minority groups, including Black and Hispanic people. In 2018, average life expectancy in the U.S. was about 79 years (78.7). It declined to about 77 years (76.9) by the end of 2020, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
“We have not seen a decrease like this since World War II. It’s a horrific decrease in life expectancy,” said Steven Woolf of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and an author of the study released on Wednesday.
(The study is based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and includes simulated estimates for 2020.)
It’s something that many of us reckon with: the sense that we’re not quite as sharp as we once were.
I recently turned 42. Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and with my mom suffering from a similar neurodegenerative disease, I’m very aware of what pathologies might lurk beneath my cranium.
In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the most important interventions for upholding brain function are preventive — those that help maintain our most marvelous, mysterious organ.
Based on the science, I take fish oil and broil salmon. I exercise. I try to challenge my cortex to the unfamiliar. As I wrote my recent book, A History of the Human Brain, which recounts the evolutionary tale of how our brain got here, I began to realize that so many of the same influences that shaped our brain evolution in the first place reflect the very measures we use to preserve our cognitive function today.
As I walked away from my parents at the Toronto airport last June, I desperately wanted to turn back to them. I briefly stole a look and noticed my father jerking his fist into the air, as if he were cheering me on for a marathon. My mother stood motionless, crying until her glasses became foggy. She had promised not to cry, but her “baby” — as she increasingly called me — was flying away.
I was returning to Boston to start business school, after completing two years of surgical residency in the early months of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, my parents continued to hunker down in their two-bedroom apartment in Toronto. My mother was 71 and my father almost 80, both with several high-risk medical conditions. To avoid catching the coronavirus, they rarely went outside. When they had to, they worshiped the “6 feet of social distancing” guidance as a Platonic truth.