December 11-17, 2009

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 optimise 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.

Antioxidants May Combat Influenza Virus
In that liquid build-up in lung tissue as a result of influenza infection can cause permanent damage to the lungs and set the stage for pneumonia and other serious lung problems, Sadis Matalon, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Alabama, US), and colleagues have elucidated the role of the flu virus on the M2 protein and other key proteins present in lung cells. In laboratory models of influenza, the team found that an isolated segment of the M2 protein causes damage to lung protein, and that antioxidant compounds prevented the M2 protein from causing this damage. Explaining that: “Influenza virus M2 protein inhibits epithelial sodium channels by increasing reactive oxygen species,” the researchers submit that “these novel findings suggest a mechanism for the influenza-induced rhinorrhea and life-threatening alveolar edema in humans.”

Dr. Klatz observes: This study suggests that antioxidant compounds retard the ability of influenza virus to damage a key protein in lungs, crippling the viral mechanism causing liquid buildup in lung tissue. In this era of a looming H1N1 pandemic, such options for natural, non-toxic prevention and protection may become key.

Age-Related Vision Problems May Shorten Lifespan
Previous studies have suggested a link between poor vision and death, yet the exact causal connection has remained elusive. Michael J. Karpa, from Westmead Millennium Institute (Sydney, Australia), and colleagues examined 3,654 persons, ages 49 and over, during the two year period of 1992 to 1994, and after five and 10 years. The team assessed each subject for visual impairment and calculated their associations with mortality risk based on Australian National Death Index data. The researchers found that the study subjects with vision problems that couldn’t be corrected were 35 percent more likely to have died during the 13-year study period. Further, those with uncorrectable vision problems and were less than 75 years of age were more than twice as likely to have died. The team speculates that difficulty walking is a probable causal connection between poor vision and early death. Those who don’t walk well or much may not have good access to healthcare, be socially isolated, and make poor lifestyle choices based on lack of mobility. In addition, trouble walking may limit the ability to engage in routine physical activity and also contribute to an increased number of falls and injuries.

Remarks Dr. Goldman: This study suggests a surprising causal link between poor vision and earlier death. As such, it suggests that vision is an emerging factor in human lifespan and warrants further investigation.

Neighbourhood Environment Influences Diabetes Risk
People living in residential areas with easily accessible and readily available options for exercise opportunities and healthy dining choices are at reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Amy Auchincloss, from Drexel University (Pennsylvania, US), and colleagues studied 2,285 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, ages 45 to 84 years at the study’s start. The team collected data on neighbourhood assets and screened the subjects for diabetes. After a five-year period, the team found that living in areas with “[b]etter neighbourhood resources, determined by a combined score for physical activity and healthy foods, [was] associated with a 38-percent lower incidence of type-2 diabetes.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: This study finds that access to, and availability of, residential assets such as exercise opportunities and healthy dining options, help to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes. One’s external environment indeed may contribute significantly to one’s health and wellbeing.

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.

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