May 21-27, 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.
Papaya Extract Slows Cancer Cell Growth
Papaya has been used in traditional herbal medicine in Asia and Australia as a remedy for a variety of diseases. Nam Dang, from University of Florida, and colleagues studied extracts of papaya leaf to ascertain the cellular mechanism of action of its potential role in inhibiting the growth of tumour cell lines. The team found that four strengths of papaya leaf extract slowed the growth of 10 types of cancer cell cultures, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas. Positing that the papaya may beneficially alter the immune system, the researchers write that: “…papaya leaf extract can mediate a Th1 type shift in human immune system … [Papaya] leaf extract may potentially provide the means for the treatment and prevention of selected human diseases such as cancer, various allergic disorders, and may also serve as immunoadjuvant for vaccine therapy.”
Dr. Klatz observes: This intriguing study finds that four strengths of papaya leaf extract slow the growth of cancer cell cultures, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas. This is a promising arena for future research into effective dietary approaches to ward off cancer.
DASH Diet ‘Boosts Brain Function’
Previous studies have revealed the benefits of lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise, to lower blood pressure and improve brain activity. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which emphasizes low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, is a common potential dietary recommendation for blood pressure reduction. James A. Blumenthal, from Duke University Medical Center (North Carolina), and colleagues assessed the combined effects of diet and exercise on brainpower in overweight people with high blood pressure. The team enrolled 144 overweight (BMI of 25 to 40 kg/m2) men and women, average age 52 years, with high blood pressure, and assigned each to one of three groups: the DASH diet in combination with an aerobic exercise program (30 minutes of exercise, three times a week); DASH diet alone; no dietary or exercise recommendations, for a four-month long study period. The researchers assessed the subjects’ brain function and mental skills, at the study’s start and conclusion. They found that those participants who followed the DASH diet in combination with aerobic exercise experienced a 30-percent improvement in brain function as well as lower blood pressure, improved their cardiovascular fitness, and lost an average of 19 pounds by the end of the study.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: The DASH Diet, resultant from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study, is found to improve mental activity in overweight adults with high blood pressure. This finding is an important additional incentive for all adults to mind their blood pressure and take the initiative to ensure it remains in the healthy range.
Berries May Combat Metabolic Dysfunction
Alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) is an established marker of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that is commonly associated with obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal lipoids profile and type-2 diabetes, and thus may be regarded as a manifestation of metabolic syndrome by the liver. Heikki K. Kallio, from University of Turku (Finland), and colleagues assessed the effects of berry products on risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. The team recruited 61 women, average age 42.9 years, for a 20-week study. The women were divided into two groups: one subset group engaged lifestyle changes and consumed berry products equalling an average daily dose of 163g of northern berries (such as lingonberry, sea buckthorn, bilberry and blackcurrant), and the other group completed lifestyle interventions without added berry products in their diet. Among the women who consumed berry products, the researchers observed a 23-percent decrease in the ALAT value, described as “nutritionally significant by enhancing the liver function.” Positing that the berries may work by a non-antioxidative mechanisms, the team concludes that: “This may contribute positively to the low-grade systemic inflammation in body and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: In revealing that a diet rich in berries may reduce levels of inflammatory markers linked to metabolic disorders and liver disease, Finnish researchers advance an important discovery that adds to the armament of natural approaches to combat metabolic dysfunction.
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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