February 4-10, 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.
Positive Outlook Key Anti-Aging Strategy
In that complex interactions between biological, psychological, and sociological factors impact longevity and health, Leonard W. Poon, from the University of Georgia, and colleagues studied the impact of psychosocial domains on health and quality of life, specifically focusing on: demographics, life events and personal history; personality; cognition; and socioeconomic resources and support systems. The team analysed data collected for the Georgia Centenarian Study, involving 240 men and women, ages 100 and over, followed for an eight-year period. The researchers found that critical life events and personal history, along with how people adapt to stressful situations and cope with them, are crucial to the anti-aging lifestyle. Specifically, centenarians’ feelings about their own health, wellbeing and support systems, rather than biological measures such as blood pressure and blood sugar, were revealed to be stronger predictors of survival. Personality also determined how well the centenarians reacted to life stress and change, and therefore whether they were as happy in their old age as they were when young. Healthy 100-year-olds had personalities described as open and conscientious. Explaining that: “Evaluating comprehensive quality of life domains among centenarians is important,” the researchers conclude that: “After all, life would only be worth extending to a second century if it came with a minimum level of health, autonomy and functioning. We conclude that … psychosocial domains are as important and have the highest potential to interact with biological and medical aspects in unearthing the secrets to exceptional longevity.”
Dr Klatz observes: Finding that maintaining a positive outlook on life is essential for reaching and enjoying 100+ years of age, these researchers find that psychosocial factors trump biological markers of health as a key to longevity and vitality.
Exercise Unlocks Stem Cells in Muscles
The combination of aging and a sedentary lifestyle significantly contributes to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as well as a decline in cognitive abilities. A common result of the aging process is sarcopenia, a decline in the mass and function of muscles. Dafna Benayahu, from Tel Aviv University, and colleagues studied a laboratory-rat population, finding that endurance exercise increased the number of satellite cells (muscle stem cells), which normally decline with aging. Comparing the performance of rats of different ages and sexes, they found that the number of satellite cells increased after rats ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day for a 13-week period. The younger rats showed a 20-35-percent increase in the average number of stem cells per muscle fibre retained – and older rats benefited even more significantly, exhibiting a 33-47-percent increase in stem cells. Further, the team found that endurance exercise improved the levels of “spontaneous locomotion,” a response mechanism that is typically reduced with aging. The researchers are hopeful that this finding leads to discoveries of new methods to raise satellite cell populations in human muscle tissue, to raise the production and performance of young and healthy muscles, to provide an anti-aging musculoskeletal benefit.
Remarks Dr Goldman: Israeli researchers report that endurance exercises increase the number of muscle stem cells, and enhances their ability to rejuvenate aging muscles. This discovery reinforces the diverse range of benefits of physical activity across the lifespan.
Apples Confer Anti-Cancer Protection
Previous research has suggested that different food matrixes may affect the bioavailability of polyphenols in the colon. In that apples are rich in a diverse array of vitamins, minerals and polyphenol antioxidants, German researchers find that apple smoothies deliver a higher quantity of bioavailable polyphenols to the colon than apple juices or ciders, and may therefore be effective in the prevention of chronic colon diseases. Stephanie Hagl, from the Division of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, University of Kaiserslautern in Germany, and colleagues completed a study to determine the amounts of polyphenols and quinic acid reaching a simulated healthy colon (represented by ileostomy bags) after ingestion of apple smoothie, a beverage containing 60 percent cloudy apple juice, and a 40-percent apple puree or cider. The team found that the amounts of polyphenol and quinic acids reaching the ileostomy bags were considerably higher after apple smoothie consumption, compared to after the consumption of cloudy apple juice or cider. The researchers speculate that the differences in bioavailability may be related to the differences in the amounts of cell wall constituents which may reduce polyphenol metabolism. They conclude that: “These results suggest that the food matrix might affect the colonic availability of polyphenols, and apple smoothies could be more effective in the prevention of chronic colon diseases than both cloudy apple juice and apple cider.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenol antioxidants, apples in the form of smoothies have increased bioavailability and may thus confer protective benefits against cancer. This finding further advances the notion of a functional health role for this readily available fruit.
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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