March 04-10, 2011
By Dr Robert Goldman & Dr Ronald Klatz
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.
Walking Speed May Predict Longevity
Gait speed, or walking speed, has previously been suggested as a potentially useful clinical indicator of wellbeing among older adults. Stephanie Studenski, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues assessed the association of gait speed with survival in older adults, aiming to determine the degree to which gait speed explains variability in survival. The researchers pooled analysis of nine participating studies, involving data from 34,485 community-dwelling adults age 65 years or older at the study’s start, who were followed for a period from six to 21 years. Gait speed was calculated for each participant using distance in meters and time in seconds, with subjects instructed to walk at usual pace and from a standing start for a distance of up to six meters. The average gait speed of the participants was 0.92 meters per second. Correlating the incidences of death during the follow-up period, the team found that gait speed was associated with differences in the probability of survival at all ages in both sexes, but was especially informative after age 75 years. At this age, predicted 10-year survival across the range of gait speeds ranged from 19 percent to 87 percent in men, and from 35 percent to 91 percent in women. The authors suggest there are several reasons why gait speed may predict survival, positing that: “Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking.”
Dr Klatz observes: Finding that higher measures of walking speed among older adults associate with increased longevity, these researchers reveal a novel indicator that, with further confirmation, may prove to serve as a simple, reliable and cost-effective diagnostic marker of lifespan.
Walking May Prevent or Delay Diabetes
Those who walk more not only promote their overall physical and mental wellness, but may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes as well. Terry Dwyer, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia, and colleagues investigated the relationship between daily step count with both adiposity and insulin sensitivity. The team studied 592 non-diabetic adult men and women, average age 50-51 years at the study’s start, for a five-year period. Many participants were already overweight (57.4 percent of men and 36.9 percent of women) or obese (17.7 percent of men and 16 percent of women) at the outset and then gained further weight over the five year period. During the study period, most subjects became more sedentary as well, with 65 percent showing a decline in step counts. The researchers found that sedentary individuals who change their habits to walk an extra 2,000 steps (about one mile) a day might expect to shave 0.16 kg/m2 off their body mass index (BMI) and boost insulin sensitivity by 2.76 units. Further, a relatively inactive person who achieves 10,000 steps (about five miles) per day could expect their BMI to drop 0.83 kg/m2 and their insulin sensitivity to rise 13.85 units – a 12.8-percent increase from the mean for men and 11.5 percent for women. Consequently, the team calculates that sedentary individuals who reach 10,000 steps (about five miles) per day might improve their insulin sensitivity three-fold, as compared with increasing daily activity to 3,000 steps five days a week. The researchers conclude that: “Among community dwelling, middle aged adults, a higher daily step count … was associated with better insulin sensitivity. This effect seems to be largely mediated through lower adiposity.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Sedentary middle-aged men and women who walk 10,000 steps daily demonstrate a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity. This finding reinforces the health-promoting benefits of physical activity.
Green Tea ‘Exerts Protective Effect’
Previous research has suggested that the antioxidant compounds (polyphenols) present in green tea possess neuroprotective properties, due to their capacity to counter oxidative stress induced by free radicals. As well, other studies have found green tea polyphenols effective in enhancing cognition in laboratory animal models of cognitive impairment. Ed Okello, from Newcastle University, and colleagues conducted lab experiments in which the team exposed tumour cells to varying concentrations of different toxins, as well as digested green tea compounds. They found that digested green tea compounds protected the cells and prevented the toxins from destroying them. Explaining that: “At high concentrations, [digested green tea compounds] exhibited direct anti-proliferative effects, in line with the reputed anti-cancer properties of green tea polyphenols,” the researchers submit that: “These results demonstrate that potentially bioavailable green tea metabolites are able to ameliorate … cytotoxicity.”
Comments Dr Klatz: In reporting that regular green tea may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, this UK research team extends the growing list of functional health benefits for a widely accessible 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.
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