May 7-13, 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.

Coffee May Slash Stroke Risk
Previous studies have suggested a variety of health benefits to coffee consumption, with positive effects associated for conditions ranging from type-2 diabetes to cognitive function. Yangmei Li, from University of Cambridge, and colleagues studied data collected on 9,978 men and 12,254 women, ages 39 to 79 years, enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk study. The team found that those who drank a single cup of coffee, either regular or decaffeinated, a day, slashed their risk of stroke by 30 percent.  Greater consumption did not provide further protective effect.

Dr. Klatz observes: This large-scale UK study finds that just a single cup of coffee a day cuts stroke risk by 30 percent, adding to the evidence suggesting a functional health role for the beverage.

Omega-3s Boost Brain Function
In that previous studies have suggested a role for greater dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids in lowering the risks of cognitive decline later in life, Matthew Muldoon, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues pursued the mechanisms underlying this association. The researchers assessed data collected on 280 community-dwelling men and women, ages 35 to 54 years, who were free of major neuropsychiatric disorders and not taking fish oil supplements. The team monitored dietary biomarkers of specific types of omega-3 fatty acids, and found that alpha lipoic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) correlated to five major aspects of cognitive performance. While neither ALA nor EPA were associated with improvements in tests of reasoning, memory or vocabulary, higher DHA did correspond to better performance on those cognitive parameters. Writing that: “[O]nly [docosahexaenonic acid] is associated with major aspects of cognitive performance in nonpatient adults <55 years old,” the researchers suggest that: “DHA is related to brain health throughout the lifespan and may have implications for clinical trials of neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: In finding that healthy middle-aged men and women with higher blood levels of DHA (docosahexaenonic acid), perform better on tests of reasoning, memory and vocabulary, this team of US researchers adds to the growing body of data demonstrating a therapeutic role for omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.

Epidemic of Cognitive Decline
With the oldest old (men and women ages 85 years and over) as the fastest-growing segment of the US population, and dementia incidence doubling every five years from ages 65 to 90 years, the stage is set for an epidemic of cognitive decline. Maria Corrada and colleagues engaged subjects who were originally part of The Leisure World Cohort Study, and were 90 years of age or older as of January 1, 2003, to enroll in The 90+ Study. The team assessed 330 resulting study subjects, primarily women (69.7 percent) between the ages of 90 to 102, and who showed no signs of dementia at baseline. The researchers identified 140 new cases of dementia during follow-up with 60 percent of those cases attributed to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 22 percent vascular dementia, 9 percent mixed AD and vascular dementia and 9 percent with other or unknown cause. The researchers found the overall dementia incidence rate, based on 770 person-years of follow-up, was 18.2 percent per year. Rates increased with age from 12.7 percent per year in the 90-94 age group, to 21.2 percent per year in the 95-99 age group, to 40.7 percent per year in the 100+ age group. Incidence rates were very similar for men and women. Previous results from The 90+ Study found higher estimates of dementia prevalence in women (45 percent) compared to men (28 percent), a result also seen in other similar studies. Based on these findings, the team urges that: “Incidence of all-cause dementia is very high in people aged 90 years and older and continues to increase exponentially with age in both men and women. Projections of the number of people with dementia should incorporate this continuing increase of dementia incidence after age 90 years. Our results foretell the growing public health burden of dementia in an increasingly aging population.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: University of California (US) researchers project that the nation’s oldest men and women will experience an 18-percent annual dementia incidence that increases with age. This finding is a potent reminder of the implications of the aging population, which may be extrapolated from the US to most other developed nations around the world.

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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