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.
Emotionally Stable, Intelligent Men Live Longer
Previous studies have linked personality traits to lifespan, as research has found that being outgoing, agreeable, conscientious, and intelligent have been associated with longer life. Alexander Weiss, from the University of Edinburgh, and colleagues studied 4,200 men for a 15-year study period, assessing them via psychological examination and tests of cognitive ability. After accounting for age and other factors, men with high neurotic traits – a tendency to worry and to experience emotional ups and downs – and/or lower cognitive ability, were at a greater risk of dying over the next ten years (as compared to men without these personality traits). Further, the researchers observed that: “the risk posed by lower intelligence was via its association with poorer health, less education, and lower income,” whereas higher socioeconomic status did not blunt the effect of high neuroticism on mortality.
Dr. Klatz remarks: This study strongly demonstrates that negative personality traits, such as neuroticism and lower cognitive skills, contribute negatively towards health and longevity. The role of psychological factors on how long, and how well, we can potentially live should not be underestimated and the correlation warrants further investigation.
Insomnia Linked to Premature Death in Men
Certain sleep disorders may increase the risk of premature death. A study conducted by Alexandros N. Vgontzas, from Penn State University, and colleagues found that in men, short sleep duration due to insomnia significantly increases the odds of dying prematurely. The researchers followed 741 men for a 14-year period, along with 1,000 women for a 10-year period. The team evaluated sleep patterns in a sleep laboratory, and collected self-reported data on sleep quality and quantity. Those men who experienced insomnia and short sleep duration were almost five times more likely to die than men who had normal sleep.
Dr. Goldman observes: The restorative role of sleep is often underestimated. This study is important because it underscores the importance of achieving sleep of both a sufficient quantity as well as quality, nightly to maintain health as we age.
Purposeful Life Promotes Longevity
Previously, researchers have found that having a purpose in life is crucial to maintaining psychological wellness and may contribute to physical health as well. Now, a large-scale investigation links life purpose to longevity. Patricia Boyle, from the Rush University Medical Center, and colleagues studied 1,238 dementia-free older men and women, evaluating their purpose in life at the study’s start and during the five-year study period. After controlling for factors such as depression, chronic medical conditions, and disability, the researchers found that those study participants with higher sense-of-purpose scores were half as likely to die during the three-year study follow-up period, as compared to those with a lower sense of purpose.
Comments Dr. Klatz: Recently, other researchers [Sei J. Lee, April 2009 and SL Brown et al, April 2009] have found that volunteering and caring for the aging and ill may extend the giver’s lifespan, suggesting that 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. Having a greater sense of purpose may promote a similar effect, with the net achievement in a greater sense of accomplishment seemingly translating to more years of life.
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 endeavours and to sign-up for your FREE subscription to The Anti-Aging News Journal.