“They are great actresses,” Charlize Theron told audiences last week at the Venice Film Festival, as she praised Kim Basinger, her co-star in the new film The Burning Plain. Like Scarlett Johannson two weeks ago, Theron pointed out the obvious: that actors with some experience have more power:

Basinger, 54, has seldom appeared on screen since her Oscar-winning turn in 1997 film LA Confidential, save for an acclaimed role in the Eminem film 8 Mile. Theron recommended Basinger for The Burning Plain and explained: “Right from the beginning we had a discussion about who we thought would play this role. …Kim is amazing. There is a strength about Kim now, at her age, more than when she was working in her 30s. She has a left-over vulnerability from her 20s that you can really see.”

Break out the popcorn: About a third of Americans over 60 develop diverticulosis, a painful digestive condition. But a new long-term study suggests that your chances of being in the other two-thirds improve if you snack on nuts or popcorn — yes, really:

The subjects were followed for the next 18 years, a period in which 800 cases of diverticulitis and about 380 cases of diverticular bleeding were diagnosed. Those who ate the most nuts, twice a week or more, had a 20 percent lower risk of developing diverticulitis than those who ate the least, while those who ate popcorn at least twice a week had a 28 percent lower risk. They also found no link between any foods and complications.

Just watch out for those buzzy lozenges: If you’ve ever taken too much vitamin B12 supplements, you know it feels a little like too much coffee. But too little of the stuff, it seems,can actually accelerate the shrinking of the brain that comes with aging,  according to a British study reported this week.

Researchers used M.R.I. scans to measure brain volume and blood tests to record vitamin B12 levels. They divided the subjects into three groups, based on their level of the vitamin, and followed them for five years with annual scans and physical and mental examinations.

The group with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 lost twice as much brain volume as those with the highest levels. The difference was significant even after controlling for initial brain size, age, sex, education, cognitive test scores and various measures of blood chemistry.

David Smith, an emeritus professor of pharmacology at Oxford and the lead author of the study, said the work established an association, but not a causal connection. “This doesn’t mean you should go out and buy vitamin B12 tablets tomorrow,” he said. “We need to know the results of a clinical trial in which we’re testing whether B12 does actually prevent brain shrinkage.”

When the mountain comes to Ms: In the seemingly perpetual effort to attract a younger demographic, the Boston Public Library rolled out its new “digital lending library” this week, complete with a “75-foot-long, 18-wheel bookmobile are computer workstations, portable
download devices, even a souped-up lounge replete with a “pleather”
couch and a flat-screen TV.” But their most loyal customers, it appears, are boomer women:

OverDrive founder Steve Potash says he thought the main demographic would be “business geeks and road warriors” from Gen-Y – those 18-30 years old, used to surfing the Web, and who, according to Pew, report going to the library more often than any other age group.

But women in their 40s have been the top users, and the No. 1 genre of downloaded media is harlequin romance, Mr. Potash says. Pop-fiction, mystery, science fiction, self-help, and books that teach a foreign language round out the most-borrowed list.

What we thought was most genius about the cyber-library: “There are no late fees – items check back in (i.e. delete themselves) within one to three weeks.” Maybe that’s what happened to our checkbook.

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