May 28-June 3, 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.

Longevity Continues to Climb

Today, residents of developed nations around the world now live in good health as much as a decade longer than their parents did. James Vaupel, from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany), suggests that this phenomenon is because they are staying healthy to a more advanced age. Dr Vaupel observed that over the past 170 years, in the countries with the highest life expectancies, the average lifespan has grown at a rate of 2.5 years per decade, or about six hours per day. Further, he notes that while the chance of death goes up with age up until the most advanced ages, after age 110, the chance of death does not increase further. Commenting that “death is being delayed because people are reaching old age in better health,” Dr Vaupel suggests that it also may be time to rethink how we structure our lives, in that the life trajectory is impacted by more time for careers, parenting and leisure.

Dr. Klatz observes: James Vaupel, from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, observes that “death is being delayed because people are reaching old age in better health.” This demographic trend affirms the successes of the anti-aging medical model, which is being adopted in nations around the world to address the socioeconomic ramifications of the aging population.


Alzheimer’s Accelerates Cognitive Decline

Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, US) researchers find that people with Alzheimer’s disease experience a rate of cognitive decline four times greater than those with no cognitive impairment. Robert S. Wilson and colleagues followed 1,168 older adults, enrolled in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, a longitudinal cohort study of older white and black persons residing on the south side of Chicago. At the study’s start, none of the subjects had dementia. After a mean of five to six years, subjects underwent a detailed clinical evaluation, from which 614 subjects were found to have no cognitive impairment, 395 had mild cognitive impairment and 149 had Alzheimer’s disease. The subjects then completed brief cognitive testing at three-year intervals for a mean of five and half years. In comparison to the no cognitive impairment group, the annual rate of cognitive decline was increased more than twofold in those with mild cognitive impairment and more than fourfold in those with Alzheimer’s disease. The results did not vary by race, sex or age. The team writes that: “Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact on cognition, even in its prodromal stages, with comparable effects in African American and white persons.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: The finding that people with Alzheimer’s disease experience a rate of cognitive decline four times greater than those with no cognitive impairment should prompt each of us to become knowledgeable as to how to identify the earliest signals of AD, a stage at which we may have a fighting chance to slow the progression of cognitive decline.

Social Engagement Spreads Kindness

In that social networks are thought to influence the evolution of cooperation amongst individuals, James H. Fowler, from University of California/San Diego, and colleagues explored how cooperative and uncooperative behaviours spread among people. The team found that when study participants played a game in which they had an opportunity to cooperate with one another, people who received a donation of money were more likely to donate money to other people in future games. The resulting domino effect spread one person’s generosity onward, whereby the influence persisted for multiple periods and spread up to three degrees of separation (from person to person to person to person). The researchers observe that: “The results suggest that each additional contribution a subject makes to the public good in the first period is tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who are directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more as a consequence. These results show experimentally that cooperative behaviour cascades in human social networks.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: Among a person’s social network, this study finds that kindness can spread rapidly and persist for up to three degrees of separation. It suggests that the public good benefits robustly from social interactions, which also have been shown in previous studies to promote individual longevity.

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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