Aug. 6-12, 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.

Happiness May Increase with Age 
Across all major objective markers, people seem to become happier as they get older, finds researchers from Princeton University, who compiled data resulting from a 2008 Gallup Survey of 340,847 Americans, ages 18 to 85 years. The general pattern of emotional wellbeing appeared to feature stress and anger on steep decline beginning in the early 20s, worry elevating through middle age and then declining, and sadness remaining essentially flat throughout life. The team found that enjoyment and happiness, while decreasing gradually until we reach our fifth decade of life, rise steadily from age 50 to 75 years.

Dr. Klatz observes: In finding that enjoyment and happiness rise steadily from age 50 to 75 years, these researchers remind us of the paramount importance of maintaining peak mental health and physical vitality as we age, so we may fully savour life to the fullest.

Pecans May Help Protect Neurological Function 
Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that helps to protect against cell damage, has been found to provide therapeutic benefit in a variety of diseases including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Pecans are among the top fifteen dietary sources of antioxidants including Vitamin E. Thomas B. Shea, from the University of Massachusetts/Lowell, and colleagues completed a series of laboratory studies on three groups of mice specifically bred to demonstrate severe decline in motor neuron function that are commonly used in studies of amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a type of motor neuron degenerative disease. Each of the three animal groups was fed a control diet or one of two diets containing differing amounts of pecans ground into their food, and the researchers employed standard testing methods to determine how well the mice scored relative to motor neuron functions, both before and after they were provided with one of the three diets. The team found that those mice that were provided a diet supplemented with pecans displayed a significant delay in decline in motor function, as compared to mice receiving no pecans. Mice eating the diet with the most pecans fared best, while both pecan groups fared significantly better than those whose diets contained no pecans. The team comments that: “These findings suggest regular consumption of pecans may provide significant nutritive and antioxidant benefits for your body.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: By revealing that eating a handful of pecans daily may help to protect from motor neuron degeneration, these researchers identify a functional health role for pecan nuts, which are a good source of Vitamin E.

Chilli Pepper Compound Helps to Fight Fat
While capsaicin has been studied for potential benefits in fighting obesity, the underlying molecular mechanism by which the chilli pepper compound has been observed to decrease calorie intake, shrink fat tissue and lower fat levels in the blood has not been elucidated. Jong Won Yun, from Daegu University (Korea), and colleagues engaged an animal model of obesity, and fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to the study animals. The team observed that the capsaicin-treated rats lost 8 percent of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat, whereby the altered proteins worked to break down fats. Writing that: “These data demonstrate that thermogenesis and lipid metabolism related proteins were markedly altered upon capsaicin treatment in [white adipose tissue],”the researchers urge that: “capsaicin may be a useful phytochemical for attenuation of obesity.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: Capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, exerts molecular changes at the protein level that may help to promote weight loss. This finding is an important addition to the armament of natural therapies that may help to offset the global epidemic of obesity.”

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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