Longevity News & Review

By Robert Goldman

For The Bali Times

Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 20,000 physician and scientist members from 90 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent, and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimize the human aging process. Dr. Ronald Klatz, A4M president, and Dr. Robert Goldman, A4M chairman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their commentary

Sleep Preserves Memory

Previously, studies have established that sleep enhances procedural memory, the process involved in consolidating procedural skills (typing or playing the piano, for example). A new study by Jessica Payne, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues now shows that sleep is important in the development of episodic memories, and particularly those of an emotional nature. The study involved 88 college students and the subjects who slept a full evening remembered the emotional scene they were shown in far greater detail than those participants who stayed awake for 12 hours after viewing the scene. Comment the researchers: “Sleep is a smart, sophisticated process. Sleep is actually working at night to decide what memories to hold on to and what to let go of.”

Dr Klatz remarks: In that too little sleep has been found to impair many of the body’s biological processes, including the immune system, metabolic function, cognitive performance (specifically, learning and memory) and more, this study shows the key role of sleep in preserving memories of an episodic and emotional nature. The restorative role of sleep is often underestimated and this study reminds us of the importance of this nightly process.

Stay Active, Calm, Organized … and Live Longer

A 50-year study suggests that men and women who are physically active, emotionally calm and organized may live longer than people with less positive personality traits such as anxiousness, anger, or fearfulness. Antonio Terracciano, from the National Institutes of Aging in Baltimore, and colleagues assessed personality traits among 2,359 generally healthy people who enrolled in 1958 in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. The team found that men and women who scored above average in measures of general activity, emotional stability, or conscientiousness lived an average of two to three years longer than those who scored below average. Conclude the researchers: “Enduring cognitive, emotional and behavioral tendencies have significant influence on health and longevity.”

Dr Goldman observes: This large-scale study reaffirms the notion of an anti-aging lifestyle. By staying active and energetic, emotionally stable, and organized, disciplined and resourceful, you can add years to your life.

Chocolate Boosts Blood Flow in Brain

Chocolate is high in flavonols, a type of antioxidants, and has in previous studies been shown to benefit cardiovascular health in that cocoa flavonols improve blood flow to the heart muscle. Farzaneh Sorond, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues have directly linked cocoa flavonols with improved cerebral blood flow. Thirteen men and women (average age 72) consumed flavonol-rich cocoa, and a counterpart group of 21 study subjects consumed the same quantity of a flavonoid-poor cocoa product. For both groups, brain scans and ultrasound were conducted to analyze the blood flow in the brain. The 13 participants who consumed flavonol-rich cocoa (900 mg per day) for two weeks achieved a 10% increase in cerebral blood flow.

Dr Klatz remarks: This study reaffirms previous research published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences volume 4 (February 2007) that reported that flavanol-rich chocolate boosts blood flow in the brain and consequently reduces the risk of dementia. In the previous work, consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa was associated with increased blood flow to the brain’s grey matter for 2 to 3 hours. That study’s authors suggested that “cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in … enhancing brain function among older adults.” When the urge strikes, opt for dark chocolate, as it has a far higher concentration of cocoa flavonols than milk chocolate.

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