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, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.
Women’s Weight in 50s Predicts Health in 70s
In further support of a number of previous studies that have linked obesity to poor health status, Qu Sun, from Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues have found that a woman’s weight at midlife may be a primary determinant of her health later in life. In their study of 17,065 women who survived into their 70s who were enrolled in The Nurses’ Health Study, the team assessed the occurrence of chronic disease, cognitive function, physical function and mental health at older ages. Compared with women who were lean at age 50 and maintained a healthy weight as they aged (that is, having a BMI of 18.5 to 22.9), those women with a BMI of 30 or more had only about a 20-percent chance of being healthy and disease-free in their 70s. The team also found that women who were overweight (BMI greater than or equal to 25) at age 18 and gained more than 22 pounds between 18 and 50 had the worst odds of healthy survival (as compared to women who were lean at age 18 and maintained a stable weight). Observing that “[t]hese data provide evidence that adiposity in mid-life is strongly related to a reduced probability of healthy survival among women who live to older ages,” the researchers encourage “the importance of maintaining a healthy weight from early adulthood.”
Dr. Klatz observes: This newly published Harvard study links a woman’s weight at age 50 to health status at age 70, suggesting there is no time like the present for women to engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight now and a healthier quality of life later.
Poor Vision Impacts Quality of Life
Among men and women in their 40s and 50s, impaired vision may adversely affect overall health and quality of life. Jugnoo Rahi, from University College London, and colleagues collected data on 9,330 44- and 45-year-olds relating to distance, near, and stereo visual acuities, along with health and social outcomes. The researchers found that various types of visual impairment were associated with inability to work because of sickness, low socioeconomic status, and self-reported health problems. In addition, vision problems in middle-age were also linked to prenatal and early life factors, including maternal smoking during pregnancy, low birth weight, small size for gestational age, and crowded living conditions. The team observes that: “[I]mpaired vision can have important adverse consequences, which highlights the value of investigating visual function in the broader context of health and social functioning. In addition, visual function in adult life may be influenced directly by key prenatal and childhood biological and social determinants of general health.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: While this study finds that impaired vision may adversely affect overall health and quality of life of middle-aged adults, maintaining healthy eyesight may be as close as a visit to your anti-aging physician, who may construct a program including eye exercises and dietary supplements to strengthen the muscles of the eye.
Longer Lifespans with Less Disability Projected
Kaare Christensen, from the University of Southern Denmark, and colleagues have completed a review of aging and its impact on healthcare systems, finding that “If the pace of increase in life expectancy in developed countries over the past two centuries continues through the 21st century, most babies born since 2000 in France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan and other countries with long life expectancies will celebrate their 100th birthdays.” The team’s specific findings include that:
• Since the 1950s, and particularly since the 1970s, mortality in people 80 and older has declined. In 1950 about one in 10 80-year-old women died before 81. About 50 years later, the rate was 1 in 20.
• Improvements in health in developed countries will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
• Disease trends are mixed. Some evidence suggests rates of disease and chronic conditions have increased in older individuals. On the other hand, survival among patients with potentially fatal illness has improved (notably cancer and heart disease). Obesity poses a major threat, but effective therapies exist to modify the consequences of obesity (such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia).
• Most studies have shown improvement or no change in mobility and function.
• Life expectancy in perceived good health has increased, life years without disability have increased, and life years with severe disability have declined.
While the growing population of very old individuals will challenge nations’ healthcare resources, the team submits that recent trends suggest the strain on society will be manageable, noting that: “The 21st century could be a century of redistribution of work … spread[ing] work more evenly across populations and over the ages of life. Individuals could combine work, education, leisure and child-rearing in varying amounts at different ages.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study finds that more than half of the babies born today in developed countries will live to be 100, and the extended lifespan will likely come with fewer disabilities and limitations. To ensure your extra years, and those of your loved ones, are enjoyed to the fullest, see an anti-aging physician or health practitioner in your geographic area to seek the latest information on maintaining an active, healthy and independent lifestyle.
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 Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.