Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2011
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 24,000 physician and scientist members from 110 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.
Alpha-Carotenes Linked to Longevity
Yellow-orange vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash) and dark-green vegetables (including broccoli, green beans, green peas and spinach) are foods rich in the antioxidant alpha-carotene. Chaoyang Li, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues assessed the relationship between alpha-carotene and the risk of death among 15,318 adults, ages 20 and older, who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. Over the course of the 18-year study, 3,810 participants died. The team found that the risk for dying was lower with higher levels of alpha-carotene in the blood. Compared with individuals with blood alpha-carotene levels between zero and one micrograms per deciliter, the risk of death during the study period was 23 percent lower among who had concentrations between two and three micrograms per deciliter, 27 percent lower with levels between fourr and five micrograms per deciliter, 34 percent lower with levels between six and eight micrograms per deciliter, and 39 percent lower with levels of nine micrograms per deciliter or higher. Writing that: “Serum alpha-carotene concentrations were inversely associated with risk of death from all causes, [cardiovascular disease], cancer and all other causes,” the researchers conclude that: “These findings support increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a means of preventing premature death.”
Dr Klatz observes: A diet featuring colourful vegetables rich in the antioxidant alpha-carotene may reduce the risks of death, a finding that provides ample encouragement to consume foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and green beans on a daily basis.
Antioxidants May Reduce Inflammation
Previous studies have reported that high levels of homocysteine, a pro-inflammatory protein component, are associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. J.M. Morillas-Ruiz, from Catholic University of San Antonio in Spain, and colleagues enrolled 100 women to participate in a double-blind controlled clinical trial. Fifty-two of the women were considered generally healthy (no Alzheimer’s) and served as the control group, while the other 48 were diagnosed with Alzeimer’s disease (24 women with early onset and 24 with moderate Alzheimer’s). Each of the women was randomly assigned to one of two interventions: Drink an antioxidant beverage rich in polyphenols, or receive a placebo drink, for the eight-month study. The antioxidant beverage was formulated using apple and lemon concentrate juice, apple and green tea extracts and vitamins B and C. The team found that those women who consumed the antioxidant-rich drink were experienced an attenuation of homocysteine increase, as compared to the placebo group. As well, in the subjects with moderate Alzeimer’s disease, the antioxidant beverage was associated with lower average homocysteine level, as compared to the placebo group. The researchers conclude that: “The regular ingestion of polyphenols contained in an antioxidant beverage may decrease [total homocysteine] plasmatic concentrations in Alzheimer’s patients.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: In finding that an antioxidant-rich beverage reduces homocysteine, a pro-inflammatory protein component, these Spanish researchers elucidate an innovative approach to combating the inflammatory response associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Walking ‘Slows Alzheimer’s’
Alzheimer’s disease is a severe neurodegenerative disorder of the brain that is characterised by loss of memory and cognitive decline. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition where a person has cognitive or memory problems exceeding typical age-related memory loss, but not yet as severe as those found in Alzheimer’s disease; about half of the people with MCI progress to Alzheimer’s disease. Cyrus Raji, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues have published data from an ongoing 20-year study of 299 healthy adults (mean age 78), and 127 cognitively impaired adults (mean age 81), including 83 adults with MCI and 44 adults with Alzheimer’s dementia. The researchers monitored how far each of the patients walked in a week. After 10 years, all patients underwent 3D MRI exams to identify changes in brain volume. In addition, patients were given the mini-mental state exam (MMSE) to track cognitive decline over five years. Physical activity levels were correlated with MRI and MMSE results. The analysis adjusted for age, gender, body fat composition, head size, education and other factors. The findings showed across the board that greater amounts of physical activity were associated with greater brain volume. Cognitively impaired people needed to walk at least 58 city blocks, or approximately five miles, per week to maintain brain volume and slow cognitive decline. The healthy adults needed to walk at least 72 city blocks, or six miles, per week to maintain brain volume and significantly reduce their risk for cognitive decline. The researchers conclude that: “These results demonstrate that walking at least 72 blocks in two-weeks protects against grey-matter volume loss in late adulthood and reduces the risk of experiencing cognitive impairment 13-years later.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that the simple activity of walking on a routine basis may slow cognitive decline in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as in healthy adults, these researchers reveal a key, simple and achievable intervention in reducing cognitive decline as we age.
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.
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