December 18-31, 2009
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 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.
Green Space Protects Physical, Mental Health
In an increasingly urbanised world, people are living in environments with dwindling green spaces. Jolanda Maas, from the EMGO Institute VU University Medical Centre (Netherlands), and colleagues studied the medical records of 345,143 Dutch adults, identifying for the prevalence of 24 health conditions, and classified each study subject’s residence in relation to a nearby green space. The researchers found that for 15 of the 24 health conditions, the annual prevalence rate was lower in subjects who lived in locations with more green space in a 1-km radius. This impact was greatest for mental health conditions, with people living in areas with the most green space being one-third less likely to have anxiety disorders and one-fifth less to be clinically depressed (as compared to residents of areas with the least green space). Similarly, physical health was improved in those living near more green space, as doing so was linked to protective effects against respiratory diseases (such as asthma and COPD) and upper respiratory infections.
Dr. Klatz observes: This study is important in that it finds that people who live near a park, wooded area or other green space reap benefits for both physical and mental health. It underscores the notion that where we live can directly influence how well we live.
B Vitamin May Protect Aging Brain
In that Vitamin B-12 is essential for the recycling of certain enzymes that maintain the health of nerve cells and counteracts homocysteine – a compound that is associated with increased risk of stroke and atherosclerotic diseases, Anna Vogiatzoglou, from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) at University of Oxford (UK), and colleagues investigated the role of Vitamin B-12 status and annual brain volume loss. For a five-year period, the researchers studied 107 community-dwelling men and women, ages 61 to 87 years, without cognitive impairment at enrolment, assessing each yearly by clinical examination, MRI scans, cognitive tests and blood tests to assess levels of B-12, homocysteine and other related blood markers. The team found that people with higher Vitamin B-12 levels were six-times less likely to experience brain shrinkage (as compared to those with lower levels of the vitamin in the blood). Writing that: “Low vitamin B12 status should be further investigated as a modifiable cause of brain atrophy and of likely subsequent cognitive impairment in the elderly,” the researchers urge for further research to ascertain whether preventing brain shrinkage may save memory function.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: This is an important study from the United Kingdom that finds that Vitamin B-12 exerts a protective effect against aging-related brain volume shrinkage. It underscores the importance of maintaining the brain with age.
Green Tea Soothes Psychological Stress
Green tea is rich in catechins, an antioxidant compound, and contains high levels of EGCG, a polyphenol that has been previously found to reduce levels of oxidizing compounds that contribute to physical and mental fatigue. Atsushi Hozawa, from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine (Japan), and colleagues analyzed data relating to tea consumption, psychological distress, and lifestyle factors collected on 42,093 Japanese men and women, ages 40 years and older. Finding that 6.6 percent of the study population suffered from psychological stress, the researchers determined that those who drank five cups of green tea daily reduced their levels of psychological distress by 20 percent.
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study makes an important discovery in identifying that green tea consumption may help to alleviate mental stress and may promote psychological wellbeing. It is a strong example of a broad therapeutic use for a natural, safe and widely accessible nutrient.
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.