November 5-11, 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.
Cinnamon ‘Improves Antioxidant Status’
A US Department of Agriculture team finds that a water-soluble extract of cinnamon, rich in antioxidant compounds, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease. Richard A. Anderson and colleagues enrolled 22 obese subjects with impaired blood glucose values (prediabetics), for a 12-week study. Subjects either received 250 milligrams of a dried water-soluble cinnamon extract twice daily, or a placebo, along with their usual diets. Among those who received the water-soluble cinnamon extract, researchers observed improvements in a number of antioxidant variables by as much as 13 to 23 percent, resulting in improvement in antioxidant status and corresponding decrease in fasting glucose. The team concludes that: “This study supports the hypothesis that the inclusion of water-soluble cinnamon compounds in the diet could reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Dr Klatz observes: Researchers find that cinnamon extract helps to improve antioxidant status, which may potentially reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.
Walking Enhances Brain Connections
The default mode network (DMN) is a brain circuit which dominates brain activity when a person is least engaged with the outside world (such as being a passive observer). Previous studies have found that a loss of coordination in the DMN is a common symptom of aging and in extreme cases can be a marker of disease, and data has suggested that older adults who are more fit tend to have better connectivity in specific regions of the DMN than their sedentary peers. Arthur Kramer, from the University of Illinois, and colleagues followed 65 adults, ages 59 to 80 years, who were sedentary (two or fewer episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the previous six months), who joined a walking group or stretching and toning group for a year. The researchers measured participants’ brain connectivity and performance on cognitive tasks at the beginning of the study, at six months and after a year of either walking or toning and stretching. The team employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether aerobic activity increased connectivity in the DMN or other brain networks. At the end of the year, DMN connectivity was significantly improved in the brains of the older walkers, but not in the stretching and toning group. Additionally, the walkers also had increased connectivity in parts of the fronto-executive network, which aids in the performance of complex tasks; and they performed significantly better on cognitive tests than their toning and stretching peers. The researchers write that: “The study provides the first evidence for exercise-induced functional plasticity in large-scale brain systems in the aging brain … and offers new insight into the role of aerobic fitness in attenuating age-related brain dysfunction.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: In revealing that walking at one’s own pace for 40 minutes three times a week can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, this team suggests a potent approach to combat declines in brain function associated with aging.
Coffee Promotes Blood-Vessel Health
Hypertension (high blood pressure) makes blood vessels less responsive to signals to expand, and the lower elasticity of the aorta serves as a significant predictor of cardiovascular events. Christina Chrysohoou, from the University of Athens, and colleagues analysed coffee consumption patterns among 435 hypertensive individuals, ages 65 to 100 years, enrolled in a larger study involving the permanent inhabitants of Ikaria Island, where many residents reach 90 years and older. Compared to those who rarely drank coffee, moderate consumption of one or two cups a day associated with a lower prevalence of diabetes, lower prevalence of high cholesterol, lower body mass index, lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease and higher values of aortic distensibility. Proposing that the presence of phenol compounds in coffee may be responsible for these effects, the researchers conclude that: “Moderate coffee consumption has beneficial effects on the aortic distensibility in hypertensive elderly individuals.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Finding that one to two cups of coffee daily may help to counteract aortic stiffness in older adults with hypertension, this Greek team extends the growing body of evidence suggesting a functional health role for a popular beverage.
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.