March 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.

Apple Promotes Digestive Health
The adoption of the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” suggests that our “gut instinct” has speculated that apples confer a variety of health benefits. Andrea Wilcks, from the University of Denmark’s National Food Institute, and colleagues engaged a lab animal model to investigate the effects of apple and apple-product consumption on microbial balance in the digestive tract. The team fed the animals a diet of whole apples as well as apple-derived products such as apple juice and puree. They found that the apples delivered a hearty dose of pectin, a type of dietary fibre present in apples, and consequently raised the amounts of “friendly bacteria,” that is – those bacteria strains that are associated with improved intestinal health. The team concludes that: “Our findings show that consumption of apple pectin (7 percent in the diet) increases the population of butyrate- and beta-glucuronidase producing Clostridiales, and decreases the population of specific species within the Bacteroidetes group.”

Dr. Klatz observes: Confirming previous “gut instinct” about the health benefits of apples, Denmark scientists find that consumption of apples raises levels of beneficial bacteria present in the digestive tract. It is an important finding that further advances the notion of simple nutritional approaches to wellness.

Extent of Obesity Raises Stroke Risk
In a study exploring ischemic stroke risk in relation to a variety of obesity measures by sex and race, Hiroshi Yatsuya, from the University of Minnesota, and colleagues analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), involving 13,549 participants, ages 45 to 65 years, between 1987 and 1989, who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the study’s start. Assessing body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio and obtaining data on the incidences of stroke for a follow-up period of nearly 17 years, the researchers found that subjects with the highest BMI were at 1.43 to 2.12 times increased risk of stroke (varying modestly by race and sex), as compared to the lowest BMI category. When waist circumference was used as a measure of obesity instead of BMI, those risk ratios ranged from 1.65 to 3.19; and 1.69 to 2.55 when waist-to-hip ratio was used. Thus, the researchers report that for any obesity measure, individuals in the highest category had approximately two times higher risk of stroke compared to the lowest category in each race-sex group. They conclude that: “Degree of obesity, defined by body mass index, waist circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio, was a significant risk factor for ischemic stroke regardless of sex or race.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: This large-scale US study reveals that the higher a person’s degree of obesity, the higher their risk of stroke. This finding is significant in that it is yet another example of evidence suggesting the life-promoting effects of physical activity and fitness.

Strong Relationships Benefit Health

In a survey conducted on more than 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years, Linda J. Waite, from the University of Chicago, and colleagues reveal that seniors who maintain strong and functioning sexual and intimate relationships generally have better health and wellbeing as well. Data collected from The National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), which was designed to examine the relationship between sexual behaviour, sexual problems and health among older women and men, found that men are more likely than women to have a partner, more likely to be sexually active with that partner and tend to have more positive and permissive attitudes toward sex. By exploring the link between sexuality, health, wellbeing and other dimensions of the lives of older adults, NSHAP researchers aim to present an optimistic view of sex and aging.

Comments Dr. Klatz: Among older men and women, strong and functioning sexual and intimate relationships correlate to better health and wellbeing. The findings reinforce the notion that positive relationships can have a beneficial impact on not just how well we live, but how long we may live.

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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