August 13-19, 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.
Nature Boosts Vitality
Previously, researchers in the field of experimental psychology have associated spending time in a nature setting with increased energy and heightened sense of wellbeing, and have even reported that the activity of simply recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Richard M. Ryan, from the University of Rochester, and colleagues conducted a series of five studies, involving 537 college students, to assess the effects of being outdoors on subjective vitality. Across all study situations, subjects consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. The researchers found that exposure to the outside nature setting for as little as 20 minutes in a day was sufficient to significantly boost vitality levels.
Dr. Klatz observes: Spending just 20 minutes a day in a nature setting boosts feelings of vitality and energy. Doing so is a readily accessible, no/low-cost approach that can be easily integrated into one’s anti-aging lifestyle.
Cognitive Declines Seen in Diabetics
In that declines in memory, thinking speed, and mental flexibility sometimes are seen in middle age type-2 diabetics, Astrid Nooyens, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, and colleagues find that effective management and control of the condition can help to prevent some of the extent of these cognitive declines. The team analyzed data on more than 2,600 men and women, ages 45 to 70 years, who were enrolled in The Doetinchem Cohort Study, assessing the subjects’ health records and mental acuity scores. Over a five-year period, the researchers observed a three-time more pronounced decline in overall mental functioning in the subjects with type-2 diabetes, compared to non-diabetics in the study. Additionally, the team found that those subjects who developed diabetes after beginning the study were at a two-fold more pronounced decline, as compared to non-diabetics in the study. Further, subjects who had long-term diabetes were found to have the greatest declines in mental function. The researchers conclude that: “Middle-aged persons with type-2 diabetes showed a greater decline in cognitive function than middle-aged persons without diabetes.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: In finding that type-2 diabetics are prone to declines in memory, thinking speed and mental flexibility, starting as early as middle-age, these scientists provide data serving as strong incentive to engage preventative strategies to ward off diabetes onset.
Healthy Diet May Slow Alzheimer’s
Previous studies have reported that methionine, an amino acid, may raise levels of homocysteine, a compound that is considered a risk factor for inflammation. Domenico Pratico, from Temple University in Pennsylvania, and colleagues have previously demonstrated that a diet rich in methionine could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. In new research, the team fed one group of mice a diet high in methionine and another group a regular, healthy diet. After five months, they split the group receiving the methionine-rich diet into two, with one group continuing the amino-heavy diet while the second switched to the healthy diet for an additional two months. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the dietary switch reversed the cognitive impairment caused by the methionine-rich diet, as measured by fewer amyloid plaques in the animals’ brains. In addition, the team reports that the cognitive impairment that had been observed in the mice after three months on the methionine-rich diet was completely reversed after two months on the healthier diet, and they were now able to function normally. Writing that: “Our results demonstrate that lowering [elevated homocysteine] … is beneficial since it significantly improves behaviour deficits and brain amyloidosis,” the researchers conclude that: “Our findings provide new biological insights for future clinical trials aimed at lowering this modifiable risk factor in human [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
Comments Dr. Klatz: In reporting that a diet low in methionine, an amino acid, may help to slow or reverse the early-to-moderate stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, in an animal model, this research team provides insights for future innovations in dietary therapies to ward age-related mental decline in humans.
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.