September 10-16, 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.
Protein Implicated in Alzheimer’s
Speculating that blood-based analytes may serve as markers of the pathological processes in Alzheimer disease, Simon Lovestone, from Kings College (United Kingdom), and colleagues conducted a study involving proteomics, immunodetection and neuroimaging to identify plasma proteins associated with the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers completed two small discovery-phase analyses and found that clusterin, a plasma protein, was significantly associated with atrophy of the hippocampus, as well as the speed of progression of the decline. The team then analyzed data from 689 subjects, including 464 people with Alzheimer’s and 115 with mild cognitive impairment, measuring the atrophy of the entorhinal cortex. Clusterin was associated with brain atrophy, significantly so among the Alzheimer’s patients. Plasma clusterin concentration was also significantly and negatively correlated associated with scores on the mini-mental state exam in those participants with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. The team concludes that: “These results demonstrate an important role of clusterin in the pathogenesis of [Alzheimer’s Disease] and suggest that alterations in amyloid chaperone proteins may be a biologically relevant peripheral signature of [Alzheimer’s Disease].
Dr. Klatz observes: Kings College researchers suggest a causal link between clusterin and Alzheimer’s, potentially diversifying the target proteins implicated in the life-robbing disease.
Vitamin E Vital to Alzheimer’s Reduction
Alpha-tocopherol, one of the more common forms of Vitamin E, has been widely studied for potential protective effects against the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. Francesca Mangialasche, from the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), and colleagues studied a group of 232 men and women, ages 80 years and older, who were dementia-free at the study’s start. The researchers follows the subjects for six years, tracking the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and measuring blood levels of all eight natural vitamin E components. Those subjects with higher blood levels of all the vitamin E family forms were at a markedly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, as compared to subjects with lower levels. After adjusting for confounding factors, the team reports the risk reduction in those with the higher blood levels of all the vitamin E family forms was 45-54 percent, depending on the vitamin E component. The researchers conclude that: “The neuroprotective effect of vitamin E seems to be related to the combination of different forms, rather than to alpha-tocopherol alone.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: Swedish researchers report that high blood levels of vitamin E components are associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease in advancing age, reaffirming the neuroprotective role of this antioxidant.
Cocoa Flavanols ‘Improve Blood-Vessel Function’
In that poor blood-vessel function is often an early marker of cardiovascular diseases, and most notably coronary artery disease (CAD), Christian Heiss, from University of California/San Francisco, enrolled 16 CAD patients, ages 61 to 67 years, in a 30-day study. During the study period, subjects were randomly assigned to receive a twice-daily beverage containing high flavanoid cocoa, or a low-flavanol drink. Those subjects that consumed the beverage containing high flavanoid cocoa were found to have doubled the number of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) in the blood. Separately published studies report that CACs have vessel repair and maintenance functions, which can contribute to healthy blood vessels; as well, a prior study found that increasing levels of CACs have also been associated with a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. As a result of the increased number of CACs, blood-vessel function improved by 47 percent in those subjects that consumed the beverage containing high flavanoid cocoa, compared to those who drank the low-flavanol drink.
Comments Dr. Klatz: By finding that cocoa flavanols may boost circulating angiogenic cells in the blood, this team reveals a novel functional-foods approach to improving blood-vessel function.
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.