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Health

A 100-year-old neurologist who's still working shares his secrets to longevity

Guinness World Records named him 'world's oldest practicing doctor.'

dr. howard tucker, longevity, guinness world records

Dr. Howard Tucker from St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Dr. Howard Tucker added another honor to his illustrious career last year when the Guinness Book of World Records named him the world’s oldest practicing doctor. At the time, the neurologist was 99 years old and still seeing patients.

Now, at the age of 100, he told TODAY he recently stopped seeing patients but keeps himself busy teaching medical residents at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, twice a week.

Dr. Tucker believes his long career is a major reason for his incredible longevity. “I look upon retirement as the enemy of longevity,” Tucker told TODAY.

The doctor was born in 1922, graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1947 and served as a Navy neurologist during the Korean War. “Anyone who was discharged from the Navy for neurological reasons, if his residence was east of the Mississippi, I had to examine him before he could be discharged,” Tucker told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Dr. Tucker practiced neurology at a time when CT scans and MRIs didn’t exist, so diagnosed his patients using little more than his knowledge of medicine.

“We used to have to really think through a problem because there weren’t any diagnostic tools of that magnitude,” Tucker told JTA. “We used to agonize over a problem. Is this a pattern of a tumor? Is this a pattern of abnormality with a stroke? In those days we had to work harder, but it was fun.”

It’s no surprise that, as a neurologist, he believes keeping mentally active is the secret to a long life. He told News 5 Cleveland that he tries to learn something new every day with a focus on new advancements in the medical field.

He stresses the fact that people should remain active as they age, whether that means staying in their careers or engaging in mentally challenging hobbies.

“I think that to retire, one can face potential shriveling up and ending in a nursing home. It’s fun staying alive and working," he told TODAY. “It’s delightful work. Every day I learn something new.

“I’m going to caution (people): If they retire from their work, they should at least do something as a hobby, whether it be communal work or self-hobbies,” he continued, “you need a stimulus for the brain daily.”

Dr. Tucker clearly knows what he’s talking about both as a centenarian and a medical professional. A 2016 study of 3,000 adults published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that staying at work for an extra year reduced the risk of dying from any cause by 11%, over the following 20 years.

"Retiring earlier would seem healthy because you might escape a stressful workplace or have more time to exercise—a few studies have shown this," CBC longevity columnist Sharon Basaraba said. "But more and larger studies have concluded that early retirement is actually a risk factor for early death."

Dr. Tucker attributes his longevity partially to his genetics because his mother lived to be 84 and his father, 96. But lifestyle habits are important, too. “Everything in moderation, except no cigarette smoking—that’s about it,” he told TODAY.

He also has a philosophy he lives by.

"Study each day as if you were to live forever, and live each day as if you were to die tomorrow," he told WKYC. "I've carried that with me all the time."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

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