February 19-25, 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.
Pistachios May Reduce Lung Cancer Risk
In that pistachios are known to exert heart-healthy benefits by producing a cholesterol-lowering effect and providing antioxidants, such as gamma tocopherol, that are typically found in plant foods, Ladia M. Hernandez, from Texas Woman’s University, and colleagues studied 36 healthy subjects, each of whom either were assigned to an intervention group consisting of a pistachio diet or a control group. After a two-week baseline period, an intervention period of four weeks followed in which the intervention group was provided with 68 grams (about 2 ounces or 117 kernels) of pistachios per day (the control group ate a normal diet). The researchers observed a significant increase in energy-adjusted dietary intake of gamma-tocopherol at weeks three and four in those on the pistachio diet, as compared with those on the control diet. The similar effect was seen at weeks five and six among those on the pistachio diet compared with those on the control diet. For those on the pistachio diet, cholesterol-adjusted serum gamma-tocopherol was significantly higher at the end of the intervention period compared to baseline. The team comments that: “Pistachios are one of those ‘good-for-you’ nuts, and 2 ounces per day could be incorporated into dietary strategies designed to reduce the risk of lung cancer without significant changes in body mass index.”
Dr. Klatz observes: This is an interesting study that suggests that eating two ounces of pistachio nuts daily may slash the risk of lung cancer. It reflects the growing trend of discoveries for functional health purposes of everyday foods.
Blood Proteins Contribute to Vision Loss
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects the macula, the part of the retina that allows one to see fine detail. The leading cause of age-related vision loss today, there is no known cure for AMD but existing therapies aim to treat the symptoms and delay progression. In that the earliest hallmark of AMD is the appearance of “drusen,” which are protein, lipid and zinc deposits under the retinal pigment epithelial cells, Azubuike I. Okemefuna, from University College London, and colleagues studied two proteins involved in drusen formation – blood protein Factor H and C-reactive protein (CRP). In that Factor H binds to C-reactive protein when C-reactive protein is present in large amounts, as in the case of infection, to reduce the potentially damaging effects of an overactive immune system, the researchers found that in the aging eye, low level of C-reactive protein activity will enable the normal processes of clearance of dead cells at the retina through mild inflammation. As a result of this condition of high inflammation, the levels of C-reactive protein in the retina will increase dramatically, and uncontrolled C-reactive protein activity causes damage to the retina, which is followed by more inflammation and then even more damage to the retina, and so on, causing the drusen deposits. The team also found that a genetically different form of Factor H does not bind to the C-reactive protein quite as well as the normal one, making people who carry the modified protein more vulnerable to an immune system attack in the eye and, thus, drusen build-up. The researchers explain that: “In normal individuals, further damage to the retina by prolonged exposure to high levels of C-reactive protein is prevented by Factor H. C-reactive protein also prevents Factor H from clumping together and initiating the processes that lead to drusen formation. Both these ‘good’ activities of Factor H are much reduced in the genetically different form of Factor H.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: In revealing the roles of blood protein Factor H and C-reactive protein play at the molecular level in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), this team of United Kingdom researchers has opened the door to an array of promising new therapeutic avenues for this vision-robbing condition.
Pomegranates May Prevent Breast Cancer
The pomegranate fruit contains anti-aromatase phytochemicals and is rich in ellagitannins, and both compounds are associated with anti-cancer properties. Shiuan Chen, from the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, and colleagues evaluated whether phytochemicals in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately inhibit cancer growth. After screening and examining a panel of 10 ellagitannin-derived compounds in pomegranates, the researchers found that those compounds have the potential to prevent estrogen-responsive breast cancers. Specifically, Urolithin B, which is a metabolite produced from ellagic acid and related compounds, significantly inhibited cell growth. Prompted by these findings, the team concluded that: “These studies suggest that pomegranate [ellagitannin]-derived compounds have potential for the prevention of estrogen-responsive breast cancers.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This research team has found that pomegranates are a type of fruit that contains anti-aromatase phytochemicals, a compound that may reduce the incidence of hormone-dependent breast cancer. It suggests another potential interventive compound for the battle against breast cancer.
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.
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