February 11-17, 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.
Healthy Lifestyle May Cut Strokes
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer, and a major cause of disability. With the aging of the American population and as obesity increases, more strokes are occurring: 795,000 a year, with 77 percent of them first-time; yet deaths from strokes have decreased by 30 percent. Experts speculate the reductions in stroke mortality are due in large part to improved prevention. As such, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have issued new guidelines aimed at reducing the incidence of stroke. Identifying lifestyle as having the biggest impact on preventing stroke, the new guidelines urge not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. By adopting these measures, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association estimates that an individual’s risk for first-time stroke can be cut by 80 percent. The expert panel concludes that: “Extensive evidence identifies a variety of specific factors that increase the risk of a first stroke and that provide strategies for reducing that risk.”
Dr Klatz observes: Finding that measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle can cut a person’s risk for first-time stroke by 80 percent, these new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association reinforce the importance of embracing the anti-aging lifestyle.
Exercise Helps Prevent Osteoarthritis
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Thomas M. Link, from University of California/San Francisco, and colleagues studied 132 asymptomatic participants at-risk for knee osteoarthritis who were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Osteoarthritis Initiative, as well as 33 age- and body-mass index-matched controls. Study participants included 99 women and 66 men between the ages of 45 and 55. The participants were separated into three exercise and strength-training levels, based on their responses to a standardized physical activity questionnaire. Exercise levels included sedentary, light exercisers and moderate to strenuous exercisers; strength-training groups included none, minimal and frequent. Knee-bending activities were also analysed. MRI exams revealed that light exercisers had the healthiest knee cartilage among all exercise levels, and patients with minimal strength training had healthier cartilage than patients with either no strength training or frequent strength training. Moderate to strenuous exercise in women who did any amount of strength training was associated with higher water content and more degenerated collagen architecture in the knee. In addition, the findings showed that frequent knee-bending activities, such as climbing up at least 10 flights of stairs a day, lifting objects weighing more than 25 pounds, or squatting, kneeling or deep knee bending for at least 30 minutes per day, were associated with higher water content and cartilage abnormalities. The researchers conclude that: “Light exercise appears to protect against cartilage degeneration in subjects with OA risk factors, and moderate-strenuous exercise in females seems to be detrimental,” urging that: “Modifying physical activity may be an effective intervention to prevent cartilage degeneration.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that people at-risk for osteoarthritis may be able to delay the onset of the disease or even prevent it with simple changes to their physical activity, these researchers underscore the health-promoting effects of routine exercise.
Omega-3s ‘Protect Vision’
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Caucasian Americans. High concentrations of omega-3s have been found in the eye’s retina, and evidence is mounting that the nutrient may be essential to eye health. Sheila K. West, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and colleagues engaged 2520 Maryland residents, ages 65 to 84 years, to participate in a study assessing the role of a diet rich in fish and seafood, on AMD onset and progression. The team surveyed study subjects for fish and shellfish consumption over a one-year period, and assessed participants for AMD. Those with no AMD were classified as controls (1,942 persons); 227 had early AMD; 153 had intermediate-stage disease; and 68 had advanced AMD. In the advanced AMD group, the macular area of the retina exhibited either neovascularization (abnormal blood vessel growth and bleeding) or a condition called geographic atrophy. Both conditions can result in blindness or severe vision loss. The team found that while participants in all groups, including controls, averaged at least one serving of fish or shellfish per week, those who had advanced AMD were significantly less likely to consume high omega-3 fish and seafood. They conclude that: “These data support a protective effect of fish/shellfish intake against advanced AMD.”
Comments Dr Klatz: In discovering novel nutrient mechanisms involved in the protective effect of an omega-3 rich diet on age-related macular degeneration, this team from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine elucidates a potentially vital dietary intervention for a leading cause of blindness.
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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