April 9-15, 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.
IQ As a Longevity Factor
An observational study in which 1,145 men and women participated suggests that mental acumen may be linked to how long one may live. G. David Batty, from the University of Glasgow, and colleagues analyzed data compiled in the West of Scotland Twenty-07 study, to compare the strength of the association between intelligence quotient (IQ) and cardiovascular disease mortality with the predictive power for established risk factors. The researchers found that study subjects with higher IQ lived longer, with the impact of IQ being a greater influence than systolic blood pressure or physical activity. The team reported that: “Lower intelligence scores were associated with increased rates of [cardiovascular disease] and total mortality at a level of magnitude greater than most established risk factors,” with lower IQ ranking second only to smoking as a predictor of death due to cardiovascular causes.
Dr. Klatz observes: Scottish researchers propose that higher IQ may be associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as all-cause mortality. This supports the notion suggested by other studies that intelligence is inversely related to disease risk.
High Blood Pressure a Predictor of Dementia
Whereas previous studies have identified midlife hypertension (high blood pressure) as a risk factor for dementia, the role of late-life hypertension in cognitive deterioration among older subjects with cognitive impairment has not yet been elucidated. Shahram Oveisgharan, from University of Western Ontario, and colleagues studied 990 older adults (average age 83 years) enrolled in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging, each of whom were found to have cognitive impairment but no dementia. Over a five-year follow-up period, dementia developed at approximately the same rate among participants with and without hypertension (59.5 percent of subjects with high blood pressure versus 64.2 percent of those without). A similar pattern was observed among those with memory dysfunction alone and with both memory and executive dysfunction (the ability to organize thoughts and make decisions). However, among patients with executive dysfunction only, the presence of hypertension was associated with an increased risk of developing dementia (57.7 percent of those with high blood pressure progressed to dementia, as compared to 28 percent of those without). Reporting that: “Hypertension predicts progression to dementia in older subjects with executive dysfunction but not memory dysfunction,” the researchers urge that: “Control of hypertension could prevent progression to dementia in one-third of the subjects with cognitive impairment, no dementia.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: Canadian researchers find that high blood pressure may predict the progression to dementia in older adults with impaired executive functions. In that the numbers of cases of Alzheimer’s Disease are projected to swell in the coming decades as a result of a globally aging population, predicative assessments such as this become key in our armament in the battle against Alzheimer’s.
Low Vitamin B6 Levels May Raise Heart Disease Risk
Previous studies have suggested that low vitamin B-6 status raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Jian Shen, from Tufts University, and colleagues assessed data collected on 1,205 subjects, ages 45 to 75 years, enrolled in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study. The team found that higher levels of pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP), the active form of vitamin B6, lowered the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, as well as levels of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker for oxidative stress. Further, they found that metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes were also significantly associated with low plasma PLP concentrations. The researchers conclude that: “Low vitamin B-6 concentrations are associated with inflammation, higher oxidative stress and metabolic conditions in older Puerto Rican adults. Our data suggest that vitamin B-6 may influence cardiovascular disease risk through mechanisms other than homocysteine and support the notion that nutritional status may influence the health disparities present in this population.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: This team of researchers finds that via promotion of inflammation and metabolic dysfunction, low blood levels of Vitamin B6 may consequently increase cardiovascular risk. This suggests a potential role for B6 levels as an important biomarker of aging-related disease.
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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