Longevity News & Review
By Dr. 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 22,000 physician and scientist members from 105 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, M.D., D.O., A4M President, and Dr. Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their commentary.
Life-Extending Benefits of Volunteering, Caring
Two studies reveal that taking care of the needs of others may extend the giver’s lifespan. Sei J. Lee, from the VA Medical Center and University of California/San Francisco, asked 6,360 retirees (average age 78 years) about their volunteering habits. After adjusting for possible contributing factors such as socioeconomic status and chronic illnesses, the team found that volunteering was strongly associated with lower death rates, with 12 percent of the study subjects dying by 2006 (as compared to 26 percent of the non-volunteers). In a separate study, Stephanie Brown, from the University of Michigan, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,688 couples, ages 70+. Over a seven-year period, the couples were surveyed to ascertain the type and extent of assistance each provided to the other. Those who spent 14 or more hours/week caring for a sick spouse were almost 30-percent less likely to die during the study period (as compared to those who spent no timer helping).
Dr Klatz remarks: Giving one’s time and energy to others expands the giver’s social network, thereby increasing their access to resources and improving their sense of self-worth. The sense of accomplishment seemingly translates to more years of life. These studies, taken together, provide strong evidence to suggest that more of us should be more forthcoming as volunteers and caregivers.
Obesity, Arthritis Decrease Women’s Quality of Life
Obesity and arthritis that emerge during women’s early and middle age years significantly decrease their quality of life during the senior years, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Heather Whitson and colleagues studied 5,888 people over 65, and found that women suffered up to 2½ times more disabilities than men of the same age. Higher rates of obesity and arthritis among these women explained up to 48 percent of the gender gap in disability – above all other common chronic health conditions. The researchers point out that: “While women tend to live longer than men, this study shows that they are at greater risk of living with disability and much of the excess disability is attributable to higher rates of obesity and arthritis. This is important because it suggests that women’s tendency to pack on extra pounds in their child-bearing and peri-menopausal years translates into loss of independence in their old age.” In addition to obesity and arthritis, the researchers also found that wo
men were more likely than men to experience fractures, vision problems and bronchitis. Men were more likely to have emphysema, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes and hearing problems.
Dr. Goldman observes: This is an important study that isolates the impact of specific chronic health conditions on the difference in disability rates between older men and women. This research team elucidates the extent to which chronic conditions impact disability and thus quality of life, identifying salient discrepancies between men and women. It is important that women understand they have a natural tendency to gain more weight than men over the lifespan, increasing the likelihood that they may become disabled in later years. Thus, it is paramount to encourage women to maintain a healthy weight as they age.
Light Wine Consumption Linked to Longer Life
Light to moderate alcohol intake has been shown by numerous studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a study by Wageningen University (The Netherlands) researchers suggests it also may extend the lifespan. Martinette T. Streppel and colleagues studied 1,373 Danish Men and found that a half-glass of wine a day increased life expectancy by five years. In the study, the majority of the wine consumed was red wine.
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study is the latest to provide data suggesting the highly protective health benefits of wine. Drinking more than 20 grams of alcohol decreased the benefit, so moderation appears to be the key.
Comments Dr. Klatz: In April 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that life expectancy in the United States reached a record high in 2006, to stand at 77.7 years (up from 77.4 years in 2005). Citing declines in deaths from heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and stroke, this new CDC data must be taken in-juxtaposition with this study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers. In short, we must not become complacent. Obesity and overweight are two underlying factors to many medical diseases that, if left unchecked, will undo all the positive gains made in life expectancy. Consult an anti-aging physician who can customize a regimen of nutrition, exercise, lifestyle choices and other factors that can positively impact how long, and how well, you may live.
Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavors and to sign-up for your FREE subscription to The Anti-Aging News Journal.