January 22-28, 2010
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.
Chocolate May Slash Stress
In that dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, previous studies have suggested its potential value in preventing coronary heart disease. Sunil Kochhar, from the Nestle Research Center (Switzerland), and colleagues have found that a small portion of dark chocolate can ward off stress. The team studied 30 men and women, each of whom were classified by anxiety level. The study subjects consumed 20 grams of dark chocolate in the mid-morning and again in the afternoon. Noting that those subjects with high anxiety traits had a distinct metabolic profile, the researchers observed that after two weeks of consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate daily, levels of stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical markers were reduced. Postulating that dark chocolate, which is rich in a variety of bioactive compounds, may partially correct stress-induced imbalances, the team concludes that: “The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40g of dark chocolate during a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of … healthy human subjects, as per variation of both host and gut microbial metabolism.”
Dr. Klatz observes: This study reaffirms the functional benefits of certain foods, particularly those high in bioactive compounds including antioxidants, to promote wellbeing.
Strong Muscles Slash Cognitive-Decline Risk
The loss of muscle strength is common and is associated with various adverse health outcomes in old age. Patricia A. Boyle, from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (Illinois, US), and colleagues studied more than 900 community-based older persons, average age 80 years, without dementia at the study’s start, measuring the subjects’ strength in 9 muscle groups in the arms, legs, and axial muscles. During the follow-up period that averaged 3.6 years, 138 persons developed AD, with these individuals being older, having worse mental function than the rest of the study participants, and being physically weaker. After adjusting for confounding factors, the team found that muscle strength strongly influenced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: subjects who ranked in the top 10 percent for muscle strength were 61 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s (as compared to the weakest 10 percent). Physically stronger participants also showed a slower decline in their mental abilities over time. Additionally, the relationship between muscle strength and mild mental difficulties, which occurred in an additional 275 people, was similar, with the strongest 10 percent being at 48 percent lower risk (than the weakest 10 percent). Stating that: “These findings suggest a link between muscle strength, AD, and cognitive decline in older persons,” the team posits that a possible explanation for the mental function-muscle strength link is that there is something going in the body that causes both muscle weakness and loss of mental ability.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: In this important study, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center researchers find that a loss of muscle strength raises risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment. It reinforces the notion of maintaining physical fitness throughout one’s lifetime, as doing so may confer a multitude of other benefits.
Risk of Stroke with Cumulative Infection Exposure
Mitchell S. V. Elkind, from Columbia University (New York, US) and colleagues studied a group of 1,625 stroke-free men and women, average age 68.4 years, living in a multiethnic urban community, following them for an eight-year period. The team found that five common infections – Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 – were associated with increased stroke risk. The infectious burden index was associated with an increased risk of stroke of 39 percent per standard deviation, after the researchers adjusted for confounding factors. The team urges that: “A quantitative weighted index of infectious burden was associated with risk of first stroke in this cohort. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and to further define optimal measures of infectious burden as a stroke risk factor.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study is the latest to suggest a causal connection between infectious disease and compromised longevity, finding that stroke risk may rise in those with common infectious pathogens such as Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2.
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.