Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 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.
Living to 100 Linked to Telomere Variant
In that telomeres are the endcaps on chromosomes, and telomeric shortening is thought to govern the number of times a cell can divide, telomeric replication is governed by an enzyme, telomerase. Gil Atzmon, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York), and colleagues studied Ashkenazi Jews, a population group that generally lives well into their 90s and beyond, in a generally healthy condition. The researchers found that participants who have lived to a very old age have inherited mutant genes that make their telomerase-making system extra active and able to maintain telomere length more effectively. For the most part, these people were spared age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which cause most deaths among elderly people. The team observes that: “As we suspected, humans of exceptional longevity are better able to maintain the length of their telomeres. [T]hey owe their longevity, at least in part, to advantageous variants of genes involved in telomere maintenance.”
Dr. Klatz observes: Genetic clues to longevity have been discovered among a homogenous ethnic population. This study by US researchers suggests that variants of a telomere enzyme may serve as a powerful factor in longevity.
Lifetime Exercise Benefits Heart Health
In that sedentary aging leads to decreases in performance in the heart’s left ventricular region, it has previously been observed that master athletes who train six or more sessions per week throughout their adult lives maintain more optimal heart muscle performance. Paul S. Bhella, from the University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center, and colleagues studied a group of 35 healthy men (ages 65+), without chronic diseases and who were all recruited from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, which has prospectively documented lifelong exercise training patterns in subjects for the past 25 years. Subjects underwent cardiopulmonary stress tests, ultrasounds of the heart and blood vessels and other diagnostics to ascertain heart health status. The team found that the more exercise the subjects had completed during their lives, as measured by the number of days each week they trained, the more likely they were to preserve youthful performance of the heart tissue, particularly in the left ventricular region. The team urges that: “[I]ncreasing levels of prolonged, sustained endurance training improve diastolic function and may help to prevent heart failure in the elderly.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: This study suggests that declines in heart tissue performance may be averted by making exercise a lifelong priority, an important message in this time of rising obesity and costs of cardiovascular disease treatment and care.
Vitamin D Deficiency Raises Many Risks
While Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with musculoskeletal disorders, and recent studies now suggest a correlation to hypertension, diabetes mellitus and renal disease, Joseph B. Muhlestein, from the University of Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center, and colleagues studied 27,686 Utah residents, average age 66.5 years. They measured 25[OH] Vitamin D level at the study’s start, and followed the subjects for an average of 1.3 years, tracking for subsequent deaths and respective causes. The researchers found that the patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were 77 percent more likely to die, 45 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease and 78 percent more likely to have a stroke, as compared to subjects with normal Vitamin D levels. In addition, patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were twice as likely to develop heart failure, as compared to those with normal Vitamin D levels. Comments the team: “[M]oderate to severe levels of vitamin D deficiency are strongly associated with death and the incident development of [coronary artery disease, heart failure, or cerebrovascular accident].”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This large-scale study involving nearly 28,000 American men and women ages 50+ affirms that inadequate levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of cardiovascular incidents and death. Consult your anti-aging physician to measure your circulating Vitamin D levels and plan a judicious program of supplementation when deficiency is observed.
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.