No reason to wait: Researchers in New Zealand urge earlier screenings for breast cancer – while admitting that the benefits they predict can’t happen unless more women take advantage of the free mammograms:

Screening women aged 50-69 should result in 20-34 fewer breast
cancer deaths a year, an overall reduction of between 5.7-8 per cent, a
Dunedin School of Medicine survey found.

Beginning screening at 45 instead of 50 should prevent an additional one to seven deaths.

Study author Associate Professor Brian Cox said the overall effect
of screening was “modest as the reduction was confined to just a few
age groups”.

“These estimates rely on over 80 per cent participation in screening
by eligible women, a much greater figure than the 61.2 per cent for
women aged 50-69 years currently being achieved.”

He said the results showed the need for better screening methods to increase participation in the free service.

“International improvements in breast cancer treatment have produced
bigger reductions in mortality and they slightly preceded the
introduction of breast screening, so the future reduction in breast
cancer mortality rates will undoubtedly be due to improvements in
treatment in addition to screening.”

Age is just a number, say Indian celebs: Life rocks at 40!” writes Pallavi Tyagi in Saturday’s Times of India. These
so-called ‘Gen H’ (Generation Happy) females seem to be independent,
experimental and comfortable in their own skin.”
Prominent Indian women back her up:

“I think Indian women have managed to unshackle the stereotype. Apart
from the career front, more and more women are now asserting their
right to live life on their terms. Their lifestyle is reflecting a
trend where they are spending on themselves, travelling, and not just
saving up for their families. I absolutely agree with this
change….subtle as it may be in the middle class as yet,” says Mini
Mathur, TV personality, when probed about the kind of life forty plus
women look forward to.

“I love seeing women in their 40s and 50s living it up. Finally they
are giving themselves the attention they have always deserved. A
woman’s life is tough, and largely unappreciated. It’s only in their
40s that they realise that they need to and CAN strike out and focus on
themselves,” she adds.

Agrees actress Puja Bedi, “Universally, it has been seen that women
don’t stop “living life” just because they get married, have kids, or
grow older. It’s been an Indian thing. However, in just one lifetime,
with the economy opening up, women liberation kicking in, we can see
the average Indian woman enjoy her financial freedom, be in control of
her life and pursue pleasure. The well-heeled, svelte 40-year-old today
is a far cry from the image most women had just a decade ago at the
same age.”

Aasha Singhal, marketing head of a famous beverage firm, feels the
same, “I myself just hit the milestone (fifty) earlier this year but I
must say that just like a bottle of fine wine, I’m only getting better
with age. As far as I’m concerned, I am taking fifty as a stand from
where life really begins!”

When 5 hours’ sleep is just fine: According to Boston researchers, our bio-clocks may simply reset with age, giving us more time than those sleepyheads still in college.

reason healthy adults sleep less in their 60s than they did in their
20s might simply be because people need less sleep as they age, new
research suggests.

If true, the observation could mean that what many elderly people
interpret as insomnia could be a completely normal reflection of an
age-related shift in their internal clock.

“Older people may simply need less sleep than younger people,” said
study author Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, an assistant professor of medicine
in the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in
Boston. “It could turn out to be that they have more trouble falling
asleep. But it could also, in fact, be that they get what they need in
less time. We just don’t know the reason yet.”

…. The older patients did take longer to fall asleep than younger
people,” she noted. “And it could also be the case that they have an
unrecognized sleep disorder interfering with their restful sleep at
night. But we just can’t tell yet whether it’s a question of inability
to sleep or capacity to sleep.”

Yet, even as Klerman and her colleagues continue their efforts to
unravel the mystery, Dr. Gregg Jacobs, a sleep specialist with the
Sleep Disorders Center at University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical
Center, is already describing the study as “the best I’ve seen to date
on the physiology of older people’s sleep.”

“This study addresses a real need, because most of the research on
sleep debt is focused on college students, but most people with sleep
issues are middle-aged and older adults,” he observed. “And, in terms
of older people, this study seems to indicate that our drive for sleep
goes down as we age.”

“Part of it is that older people don’t expend as much energy as younger adults,” Jacobs said.

counseling students to a flock of her own
:  To be dean of students at a
community college takes patience, hard work and grace – not dissimilar
to what it takes to minister to an entire Methodist church, according
to a woman who’s done both:

“I feel much embraced by the congregation,” she said. “It was
surprising that some women, not any of the men, have said that they
have never had a female pastor before. But that was all that was said
on the subject.”

For the 55-year-old Rev. Gabriela Wright, the ministry is a second career.

Her first career was in the Florida Community College system for 20 years where she went from counseling to dean of students.

I always felt the call from God in my life,” she said. “Even as a
little girl I wanted to be in the ministry when there were no
opportunities for women, other than being a nun, and I wasn’t Catholic.”

was raised in Florida after 1969 and attended both the University of
South Florida and the University of Florida. She did her seminary work
at Asbury Theological Seminary at the Orlando campus. Married for 30
years, [she and her husband] have a daughter and a 2-year-old
granddaughter who live in Boca Raton, where she served her first parish.