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.
Mediterranean Diet Dissected
The Mediterranean diet is rich in cereals, fruits, legumes and whole grains, fish and olive oil. Numerous previous studies have shown those who follow the Mediterranean diet live longer, have less heart disease, and a reduced risk of cancers. Dimitros Trichopoulous, from Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues have dissected the Mediterranean diet to uncover the degree to which specific food groups in the diet contribute to health and longevity. Studying data on 23,349 men and women enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study, the researchers found moderate alcohol intake to be the single biggest contributor, accounting for 23.5 percent of the Mediterranean diet’s longevity benefit. The high ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fat in the olive-oil rich diet was found to reduce all-cause mortality by a modest 10.6 percent. While low meat consumption and increased fruits, vegetables and nuts were the most relevant factors following modest alcohol intake, interestingly, high fish and seafood consumption were actually associated with a non-significant increase in mortality risk.
Dr. Klatz observes: Previously, research on the Mediterranean diet has established its protective role in cardiovascular disease, cancer, certain chronic diseases and premature death in the general population. This study, involving more than 23,000 participants, reaffirms the protective relationship of the Mediterranean diet pattern and starts to define the benefits of its specific food groups.
Full, Active Life Benefits the Aging Brain
Previous studies have suggested that staying intellectually, physically, and socially active can prevent the loss of mental capacities with age. Christopher Hertzog, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and colleagues studied cognitive enrichment as a result of engagement in a variety of intellectual, physical, and social activities, and whether these activities can improve cognitive performance at different points of the adult life span, including in old age. The team suggests that the evidence is “most impressive” for the benefits ofd aerobic exercise on the aging brain. But, the researchers warn that staying active is more complicated than to “use it or lose it,” as a person’s behaviour, including social engagement and physical exercise as well as mental gymnastics, can strongly benefit their ability to maintain effective cognitive function into old age. Additionally, the researchers submit that cognitive enrichment could guard against dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as “normal” age-related decline, warning that cognitive enrichment should not be considered as a cure to prevent all types of mental decline.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: Improving our understanding of ways to preserve mental function is not only important for individual patients; it is a critical public health imperative that benefits all of society. In the globally greying populations of the world, this is important both for longevity and quality of life. Physicians and researchers must be encouraged to find ways to preserve or enhance cognitive functioning among older adults and to compress the duration of cognitive decline.
Mental Decline May Increase Risk of Death in Seniors
Older people with impaired cognitive function are at a greater risk of dying within a few years, as compared to those with intact mental capacities. Elizabeth L. Sampson, from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues, studied 10,720 men and women, ages 75+, for a period of up to 10 years. Those with mild cognitive impairment were at 31-percent greater risk of dying (versus those with no cognitive issues); the risk of death rose to 64 percent for those with moderate to severe impairment. Social engagement, however, was found to be a modest factor: those men and women with a medium amount of social engagement were 18 percent more likely to die during the study period, and the risk of death rose in those with low levels social engagement to 29 percent (as compared to those who were highly socially engaged). Conclude the researchers: “Cognitive impairment and social support are independent risk factors for mortality. Interventions that promote early identification and management of cognitive impairment and enhance social support for older people may decrease mortality and produce public health benefits.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study suggests that age-related mental decline can be modulated. Social engagement is found to have a modest but significant effect on longevity. We must encourage efforts to enhance social participation in the aging population, as doing so may not only improve the quality of life for individuals, but benefit the public health population-wide as well.
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.