September 24-30, 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.
Music Helps Boost Learning
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and change as a result of training and experience over the course of a person’s life. A recent research focus on the effects of music training on the nervous system reinforces the concept of neuroplasticity, with data suggesting that the neural connections made during musical training also prime the brain for other aspects of human communication, such as skills of language, speech, memory, attention and even vocal emotion. As well, an active engagement also enables the nervous system to provide the stable scaffolding of meaningful patterns that are important to learning. Nina Kraus, from Northwestern University, and colleagues report that musicians trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies are primed to understand speech in a noisy background, and exhibit both enhanced cognitive and sensory abilities that give them a distinct advantage for processing speech in challenging listening environments compared with non-musicians; and that music training leads to changes throughout the auditory system that prime musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing. Writing that: “This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness,” the researchers suggest that: “the role of music in shaping individual development deserves consideration.”
Dr. Klatz observes: Musical training confers learning skills that subsequently promote skills of language, speech, memory, attention and even vocal emotion, suggesting a potentially vital role for music in ongoing learning as we age.
Vitamin E May Help Slash Alzheimer’s Risk
The Rotterdam Study previously found that higher dietary intakes of vitamins E and C related to lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease over a six-year long follow-up period. Monique M. B. Breteler, from Erasmus Medical Center, and colleagues studied whether the consumption of foods rich in the major dietary antioxidants influenced the long-term risk of dementia. The team studied 5,395 participants, ages 55 years and older, who were free of dementia and provided dietary information at the study’s start, following them for an average of 9.6 years. They found that those subjects who consumed the most vitamin E (18.5 mg/day) were 25 percent less likely to develop dementia, compared to those who consumed the least (9.0 mg/day). In that the dietary intake levels of other antioxidants (namely vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids) were not found to associate with dementia risk, the researchers conclude that: “Higher intake of foods rich in vitamin E may modestly reduce long-term risk of dementia and [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: This Netherlands study reveals a 25-percent reduced risk of dementia in those who consume foods rich in vitamin E, unveiling a potential role for this antioxidant in countering the onset of Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline.
Cashews May Help Ward Off Diabetes
In that compounds from the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) confer anti-inflammatory properties and thus have been used in traditional medicine for a variety of disorders, Pierre S. Haddad, from University of Montreal, and colleagues studied whether cashew extracts could improve the body’s response to its own insulin. Examining the impact of leaves, bark, seeds and apples from cashew trees, native to northeastern Brazil and other countries of the southern hemisphere, the team found that only cashew seed extract significantly stimulated blood sugar absorption by muscle cells, with extracts of other plant parts having no such effect. The team concludes that: “These results collectively suggest that [cashew seed extract] may be a potential anti-diabetic nutraceutical.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: Finding that cashew seed extracts help to improve the body’s response to insulin, these researchers discover the potential for this food as an effective anti-diabetic.
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.