February 05-11, 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.

Higher Resting Heartbeat May Correlate to Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Death
In an effort to elucidate the combined effect of resting heart rate and physical activity on heart disease, Javaid Nauman, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway), and colleagues analysed data collected during an eighteen-year study of 24,999 men and 25,089 women, each of whom did not have cardiovascular disease at the study’s start. The researchers found that an elevated resting heart rate correlated to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In women, however, maintaining a high level of physical activity appeared to offset the danger. The team observes that: “[Resting heart rate] s positively associated with the risk of death from [ischemic heart disease], and among women, the results suggest that by engaging in [physical activity], the risk associated with a high [resting heart rate] may be substantially reduced.”

Dr. Klatz observes: While this team of Norway researchers finds that having a higher heartbeat at-rest correlates to increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, they also observe that among women physical activity may intervene beneficially. These findings may prove to be important insights that contribute to future cardiovascular interventions.

Blueberries May Boost Memory
In the first human trial assessing the potential benefits of blueberries on brain function in older adults with increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, Robert Krikorian, from University of Cincinnati (Ohio, US), and colleagues recruited nine older men and women, average age 76.2 years, and asked them to consume a daily dose of blueberry juice equivalent to between 6 and 9 mL per kilogram of body weight (approximately equal to 500 mL). The team found that after just twelve weeks of consumption, the subjects displayed significant improvements in improved learning and word list recall. As well, the study participants showed less depressive symptoms and lower glucose levels. The researchers encourage that: “The findings of this preliminary study suggest that moderate-term blueberry supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefit.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: These researchers find that drinking 500 mL of blueberry juice for 12 weeks may enhance memory in older people with early memory problems.    The finding suggests a potential functional role for this fruit as a neurocognitive agent.

Yoga Reduces Inflammation Implicated in Stress, Aging
While cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an important part of the body’s inflammatory response, it contributes to the inflammation associated with heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, arthritis and a host of other age-related debilitating diseases. As such, reducing inflammation is thought to have the potential to yield important health benefits.  Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, from Ohio State University, and colleagues assembled a group of 50 women, average age 41 years, and divided them into two groups: “novices,” who had either taken yoga classes or who practiced at home with yoga videos for no more than six to 12 sessions, and “experts,” who had practiced yoga one of two times weekly for at least two years and at least twice weekly for the last year. The team asked each of the women to attend three study sessions held at the university, before which each participant completed questionnaires and psychological tests to gauge mood and anxiety levels. During the study session, blood samples were taken several times, and participants were deliberately stressed by physical discomfort or mental challenge, after which followed either the yoga session, a walk on treadmill set at a slow pace (.5 miles per hour), or watching boring videos (control group). After examining the blood samples, the researchers determined that those women labelled as “novices” had levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 that were 41 percent higher than those in the study’s “experts.” The team concludes that: “The ability to minimize inflammatory responses to stressful encounters influences the burden that stressors place on an individual. If yoga dampens or limits stress-related changes, then regular practice could have substantial health benefits.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: In that these Ohio State University researchers find that women who regularly engage in yoga exercise lower their blood levels of the inflammatory compound known as cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), they open new avenues for further research into effective non-pharmacological approaches to lower the inflammatory response that contributes to stress and aging.

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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