Jun. 25-Jul. 1, 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.

Secrets to Happiness Revealed

In that happiness is believed to originate from a comparison of one’s current circumstances relative to past achievement, Iowa State University researchers have identified key predictors of happiness among the oldest old (those ages 85 years and older). In a study of 158 Georgia centenarians, Alex Bishop and colleagues analyzed the subjects’ responses to a series of questions that assessed their happiness, perceived health, social provisions, economic security and life satisfaction. While there was no indication that resources affect happiness, past life satisfaction – even individual achievements – was found to have a direct association. In other words, past satisfaction with life – even if something as simple as recalling isolated career accomplishments – was a major key to happiness in our oldest years. Suggesting that reminiscence therapy and structured life review sessions may be beneficial in fostering feelings of happiness among very old populations, the team concludes that: “Past satisfaction with life is directly associated with present happiness. This presents implications relative to understanding how perception of resources may enhance quality of life among persons who live exceptionally long lives.”

Dr. Klatz observes: Researchers confirm that past satisfaction with everyday life is a key predictor of happiness in one’s older years, adding to the reasons to maintain a productive and robust life.

Exercise, Computer Use Combat Memory Decline
Whereas physical exercise, cognitive activity and caloric intake are independently associated with mild cognitive impairment, Yonas E. Geda, from Mayo Clinic, and colleagues assessed the joint combined effects of these factors on memory decline. The researchers followed 926 men and women, ages 70 to 90 years, enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Subjects completed questionnaires surveying their physical exercise and cognitive activities during the past year. The team found that those subjects who engaged in any amount of moderate exercise were 36 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment, compared to those subjects who did not exercise at all. Additionally, the study participants who engaged in any amount of computer use were 44 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment, compared to those who did not use the computer at all. Most interestingly, when the researchers accounted for other risk factors for mild cognitive impairment, they found a synergistic effect, concluding that: “Our joint effect analyses suggest that moderate physical exercise and computer use in late life may have a beneficial interaction.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: The finding that a combination of moderate physical exercise and computer use may help protect against mild cognitive impairment suggests that a multi-modal approach may be valuable in intervening against age-related memory decline.
Almond Skins Promote Gut Health
Prebiotics are food ingredients that beneficially impact metabolism in the intestinal tract, and some studies have suggested these compounds help to manage metabolic diseases in overweight/obese individuals. Giuseppina Mandalari, from the UK’s Institute of Food Research, and colleagues the effects of natural and blanched almond skins. The researchers found that ingestion of almond skins promoted the numbers of good bacteria, specifically Clostridium coccoides and Eubacterium rectale, in the gut. Explaining that almond skins contain a high amount of dietary fibre, high in plant cell wall polysaccharides that provide the body with energy through fermentation and absorption of short chain fatty acids, the team concludes that: “Dietary fibre from almond skins altered the composition of gut bacteria and almond skins resulting from industrial blanching could be used as potential prebiotics.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: In finding that the skins of almonds promote the numbers of good bacteria in the gut, these UK researchers advance the notion that the gastrointestinal system can be beneficially impacted by making smart dietary choices.

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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