Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 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.
Yoga Boosts Mood, Reduces Anxiety
In that previous studies have shown that yoga and other forms of exercise have beneficial effects on mood and anxiety, a team from Boston University School of Medicine studied the specific biochemical changes lending these positive results. Chris C. Streeter and colleagues recruited two groups of healthy men and women for a 12-week long study. One group practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, while the remaining subjects walked for the same period of time. The team employed brain scans to assess the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity in the subjects’ brains, and conducted surveys of psychological states at several points through the study period. The researchers found that those subjects who practiced yoga reported a more significant decrease in anxiety and greater improvements in mood than those who walked, and brain scans showed corresponding gains in brain GABA levels. Explaining that GABA activity is often reduced in mood and anxiety disorders, the team writes that: “This is the first study to demonstrate that increased thalamic GABA levels are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. It is also the first time that a behavioral intervention (i.e., yoga postures) has been associated with a positive correlation between acute increases in thalamic GABA levels and improvements in mood and anxiety scales.”
Dr Klatz observes: In finding that yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety, these researchers reaffirm the life-enhancing benefits of a natural, non-invasive, and readily accessible therapeutic.
Aerobic Exercise Combats Insomnia
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine studied 17 sedentary adults, all of whom suffered from chronic insomnia, to asses the effect of regular moderate aerobic exercise on sleep. Participants assigned to the aerobic physical activity group exercised for two 20-minute sessions four times per week or one 30-to-40-minute session four times per week, both for 16 weeks. Those in the non-physical activity group participated in non-physical recreational or educational activities for approximately 45 minutes three to five times per week for 16 weeks. Both groups received education about good sleep hygiene. Results showed that exercise improved participants’ self-reported sleep quality, so much so that their scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index dropped by an average of 4.8 points – enough to be elevated from a diagnosis of “poor sleeper” to one of “good sleeper.” Those in the physical activity group also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality and less daytime sleepiness. “This is relevant to a huge portion of the population,” said Phyllis Zee, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Medicine and senior author of the paper. “It is essential that we identify behavioral ways to improve sleep. Now we have promising results showing aerobic exercise is a simple strategy to help people sleep better and feel more vigorous. By improving a person’s sleep, you can improve their physical and mental health. Sleep is a barometer of health, like someone’s temperature. It should be the fifth vital sign.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Researchers reveal that regular aerobic exercise is an effective method of treating insomnia, and improving vitality and mood, thereby further diversifying the multitude of benefits of engaging in an active exercise routine.
Citrus Compounds May Reduce Cancer Risk
Previous studies have suggested that citrus consumption exerts a protective effect against cancer. Wen-Qing Li, from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues investigated the association of citrus consumption with cancer incidence among 42,470 Japanese adults, ages 40 to 79 years, enrolled in the Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort. The team found that daily citrus consumption correlated to significant reductions in the risk of all cancer, with an 11-percent reduction in the incidence of all types of cancer among men, and a 14-percent reduction among women. Further, the risk reductions for prostate and pancreatic cancer were calculated to be 37 and 38 percent, respectively. Observing that: “These findings suggest that citrus consumption is associated with reduced all-cancer incidence,” the researchers urge that: “Further work on the specific citrus constituents is warranted, and clinical trials are ultimately necessary to confirm the protective effect.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Japanese researchers find that daily citrus consumption reduces the incidence of all types of cancers, among both men and women. This finding advances our knowledge and understanding of the powerful health effects of foods.
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.