May 13-19, 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 Mindset Key Anti-Aging Strategy
A review of 160 published studies confirms a compelling connection between a positive state of mind and overall health and longevity. Ed Diener, from the University of Illinois, and colleagues found that subjects who reported high subjective wellbeing (such as life satisfaction, absence of negative emotions, optimism and positive emotions) enjoyed better health and longer lives. As well, the   evidence associating a positive mindset and enjoyment of life to better health and longer life was stronger even than that linking obesity to reduced longevity. Observing that: “Combined with experimental human and animal research, as well as naturalistic studies of changes of subjective wellbeing and physiological processes over time, the case that subjective wellbeing influences health and longevity in healthy populations is compelling,” the researchers submit that: “Positive feelings predict longevity and health beyond negative feelings.”

Dr Klatz observes: From a comprehensive review of 160 published studies, these researchers reaffirm the importance of a positive state of mind and its impact on overall health and longevity.

Tai Chi Improves Symptoms of Depression
Over 2 million people ages 65-plus are affected by depression, and an estimated two-thirds of elderly patients treated for depression fail to achieve adequate symptom management with conventional drug therapy. Helen Lavretsky, from the University of California/Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the role of Tai Chi, a Chinese wellness practice that has been previously associated with a variety of physical and mental health benefits, in ameliorating the symptoms of depression in seniors. The team combined a weekly tai chi exercise class with a standard depression treatment for a group of depressed elderly adults, finding a greater improvement in the level of depression — along with improved quality of life, better memory and cognition, and more overall energy — than that achieved by a different group in which the standard treatment was paired with a weekly health education class. The researchers conclude that: “Complementary use of a mind-body exercise, such as [Tai Chi], may provide additional improvements of clinical outcomes in the pharmacologic treatment of geriatric depression.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that the Chinese wellness practice of Tai Chi is an important adjunctive therapy that improves quality of life among seniors affected by depression, this team reveals the potential for an innovative non-drug approach to improve mental health.

Coffee May Protect Against Stroke
In that some published studies have suggested a link between coffee consumption and reduced incidence of stroke, Susanna C. Larsson, from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and colleagues investigated this association utilizing data collected on 34,670 women enrolled in the Swedish Mammography Cohort study. Coffee consumption was assessed in 1997 using a self-administered questionnaire, and incident stroke cases were ascertained from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry. The researchers found that those women who drink coffee daily are at a reduced risk for stroke, with the risk being 22 percent lower with one to two cups a day and 25 percent lower with three to four cups a day.  Noting that antioxidant polyphenols and other compounds in coffee may boost endothelial function, cut down on inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity, the team concludes that: “These findings suggest that low or no coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of stroke in women.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting data from a large-scale study, Swedish researchers find that women who drink coffee daily may be at a reduced risk for stroke, extending the potential functional health benefits of this 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.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavors and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

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