July 16-22, 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 Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.

Working Overtime Ups Heart Disease Risk
A study of 6,014 British civil servants, ages 35 to 55 years, has found that people who regularly work three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day dramatically increase their risk of heart disease. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors such as age, sex, marital status and occupational grade, results showed that working 3-4 hours overtime (but not 1-2 hours) was associated with a 60-percent higher rate of coronary heart disease compared with not working overtime. Further adjustments for a total of 21 cardiovascular risk factors made little difference to the results. Study leader, Dr Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki and University College London, said: “The association between long hours and coronary heart disease was independent of a range of risk factors that we measured at the start of the study, such as smoking, being overweight or having high cholesterol.” The authors concluded: “Overtime work is related to increased risk of incident coronary heart disease independently of conventional risk factors. These findings suggest that overtime work adversely affects coronary health.”

Dr. Klatz observes: In finding that regularly working several hours of overtime has been found to dramatically increase the risk of developing heart disease, these researchers reveal a potentially important factor in cardiovascular disease, and particularly a factor that is readily modifiable.

Short Sleep Linked to Premature Death
A review of 16 prospective studies involving more than 1.3 million participants has revealed that sleeping for less than six hours each night significantly increases the risk of premature death. Professor Francesco Cappuccio, leader of the Sleep, Health and Society Programme at the University of Warwick and colleagues found that people who sleep for less than six hours each night were 12 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who get the recommended six to eight hours. People who sleep for more than nine hours each night were also found to be more likely to die prematurely. However, Professor Cappuccio believes that sleeping for less than six hours may represent a cause of ill-health, whereas sleeping for nine or more hours is thought to be an indicator of ill-health. “Consistently sleeping six to eight hours per night may be optimal for health,” said Professor Cappuccio. “The duration of sleep should be regarded as an additional behavioural risk factor, or risk marker, influenced by the environment and possibly amenable to change through both education and counselling as well as through measures of public health aimed at favourable modifications of the physical and working environments.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: In revealing that people who sleep for less than six hours each night are at significantly higher risk of premature death, as compared to those who get the recommended six to eight hours, this group of researchers lend further evidence to support the essential nature of achieving restful, rejuvenative sleep on a regular basis.

Dark Chocolate May Protect Brain from Stroke Damage 
Epicatechin, a compound found in dark chocolate, has been found to protect the brain from ischemic damage by increasing cellular signals that are known to protect neurons from damage. Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine induced an ischemic stroke in two groups of mice, one group of which had been fed a single dose of the flavanol epicatechin. Results showed that the mice that had been given epicatechin suffered significantly less brain damage than those who had not been given the compound. Additionally, epicatechin also appeared to limit further brain damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after inducing a stroke. Assays of neuronal cell cultures confirmed that epicatechin protects neurons against oxidative damage. Further studies suggest that this is conferred through activation of the transcriptional factor Nrf2 and an increase in the heme oxygenase 1 (HO1) enzyme, both of which are pathways that are known to protect neurons from damage.

Comments Dr. Klatz: This team’s finding that epicatechin may reduce brain damage caused by stroke, adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting a broad functional health role for dark chocolate.

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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