April 15-21, 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.
Family Activities Promote Wellbeing
The adage “A family that plays together stays together” has been confirmed by researchers from Concordia University in Canada. Enrolling 14 intergenerational families – composed of 16 retired or semi-retired grandparents, ages 65 to 89 years, along with their respective grandchildren, ages 18 to 24 years, Shannon Hebblethwaite and colleagues observed that leisure-time activities, such as cooking, shopping and gardening help grandparents to maintain close ties with their grandchildren. Grandparents utilised such get-togethers as opportunities to teach, mentor and pass on family values and traditions; and reciprocally, seniors found the activities catalysed their own new discoveries. The researchers conclude that: “The findings illustrate the important role that family leisure played in the experience and expression of generativity,” thereby confirming previous research that found healthy intergenerational connections help grandparents age better and feel more positively about life.
Dr Klatz observes: Intergenerational bonds forged as a result of leisure-time activities help seniors to maintain a positive outlook on life, thereby serving to complement the anti-aging lifestyle.
Healthy Diet May Offset Alzheimer’s
Apolipoprotein E (APOE), created by the apolipoprotein E. gene, is a molecule that is generally acknowledged as a known contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. APOE is a lipoprotein and known to be influenced by the good oil found in fish. Daniel Michaelson, from Tel Aviv University, and colleagues, engaged under a joint European Commission grant known as LIPIDIDIET, introduced three different kinds of diet: a normal diet, a “bad” diet high in cholesterol and a “good” diet high in fish oil, to a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease. The team found that a rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and low in cholesterol, significantly reduced the negative effects of the APOE4 gene. The researchers urge that: “The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. This approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related genes.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: In finding that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and low in cholesterol, may significantly reduce the negative effects of the APOE4 gene, these researchers reveal a potentially powerful approach to avert the risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Daily Fibre Boosts Longevity
Fibre, the edible part of plants that resist digestion, has been suggested to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and certain cancers, as the substance reduces blood cholesterol levels, improves blood glucose levels, lowers blood pressure, promotes weight loss, reduces inflammation and binds to potential cancer-causing agents to promote excretion. Yikyung Park, from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, and colleagues analyzed data from 219,123 men and 168,999 women enrolled in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study in 1995 and 1996, and causes of death were determined by linking study records to national registries. Participants’ fibre intake ranged from 13 to 29 grams per day in men and from 11 to 26 grams per day in women. Over an average of nine years of follow-up, 20,126 men and 11,330 women died. Fibre intake was associated with a significantly decreased risk of total death in both men and women — the one-fifth of men and women consuming the most fibre (29.4 grams per day for men and 25.8 grams for women) were 22 percent less likely to die than those consuming the least (12.6 grams per day for men and 10.8 grams for women). As well, the risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases was reduced by 24 percent to 56 percent in men and 34 percent to 59 percent in women with high fibre intakes. Dietary fibre from grains, but not from other sources such as fruits, was associated with reduced risks of total, cardiovascular, cancer and respiratory disease deaths in men and women. Reporting that: “Dietary fibre may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases,” the researchers urge that: “Making fibre-rich food choices more often may provide significant health benefits.”
Comments Dr Klatz: In reducing the risks of death from cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, as well the risk of death from any cause over a nine-year period, dietary fibre may be considered a low-cost, accessible, and effective functional food for longevity.
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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