Feb. 26-Mar. 04, 2010

By Dr. Robert Goldman

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.

Fruits, Vegetables Benefit Eye Health
Pigments known as carotenoids are bountiful in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, with specific carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin found in kale and spinach and lycopene abundantly present in tomatoes. Explaining that scientists since the late 1700s have postulated that consumption of certain food pigments may correlate to improvements in human vision, James M. Stringham and colleagues studied whether dietary consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin may impact visual performance. The team found evidence for the role of these two carotenoids in reducing glare effects, specifically via the involvement of macular protein in absorption of short-wave scattered light.

Dr. Klatz observes: Finding that foods such as spinach and tomatoes are abundant in specific carotenoids that benefit visual performance by reducing glare effects, this research suggests a future role for such foods in disease prevention.

Green Tea Reduces Symptoms of Depression
In that previous studies have reported that green tea exerts a variety of beneficial effects on stress and inflammation, Kaijun Niu, from the Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering (Japan), and colleagues investigated the relationship between green tea consumption and depressive symptoms. Studying a group of 1,058 community living elderly Japanese individuals, ages 70 and over, the researchers surveyed green tea consumption and evaluated depressive symptoms via the Geriatric Depression Scale. They found that those study subjects who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression (as compared to subjects who drank one or less cups). The team speculates that the amino acid theanine, present in green tea, which has a calming effect on the brain, may contribute to the beneficial effect seen on depression in this study.

Remarks Dr. Goldman: This study finds that older Japanese residents who drank several cups of green tea daily were at reduced risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. It adds to the body of research evidence suggesting the potential for green tea as an interventive compound improve health and wellbeing.

Acupuncture Aids Breast Cancer Patients
Eleanor M. Walker, from Henry Ford Hospital (Michigan, US), and colleagues studied 50 breast cancer patients, randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or drug (venlafaxine) treatment for 12 weeks. The acupuncture group received treatments twice per week for the first four weeks, and then once a week for the remaining eight weeks, while the drug therapy group took venlafaxine orally each night, 37.5mg the first week and then 75mg for the remaining 11 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, all patients stopped their therapy and were followed for one year. Patients kept a diary to record the number and severity of hot flashes, and took surveys to measure their overall health and mental health.  While both groups initially experienced a 50-percent decline in hot flashes and depressive symptoms, differences began to emerge two weeks post-treatment: The acupuncture group continued to experience minimal hot flashes, while the drug therapy group had a significant increase in hot flashes. The acupuncture group did not experience an increase in the frequency of their hot flashes until three months post-treatment. Noting in addition that “the acupuncture group experienced no negative adverse effects. Acupuncture had the additional benefit of increased sex drive in some women, and most reported an improvement in their energy, clarity of thought, and sense of wellbeing,” the researchers conclude that: “Acupuncture appears to be equivalent to drug therapy in these patients. It is a safe, effective and durable treatment for vasomotor symptoms secondary to long-term anti-estrogen hormone use in patients with breast cancer.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: These researchers find that not only is acupuncture as effective as drug therapy at reducing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, it has the added benefit of potentially increasing a woman’s sex drive and improving her sense of wellbeing. This modality is an important armament in the breast cancer battle.

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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