May 20-26, 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.

Gardening Grows Quality of Life
Aime J. Sommerfeld, from Texas A&M in Texas, and colleagues surveyed 298 men and women, ages 50 years and older, who either engaged in gardening or not, for perceptions of personal life satisfaction. The researchers found significant differences in overall life satisfaction scores, with gardeners receiving higher mean scores (indicating more positive results) on the standardized survey. Significant differences between gardeners and nongardeners were also noted in the “energy level” statement, to which gardeners disagreed with the sentiment of “feeling old and somewhat tired” at a rate of 70.9 percent, whereas 57.3 percent of nongardeners disagreed with the statement. Older adults who garden also reported a higher level of daily physical activity compared to nongardening respondents. Over three times as many nongardeners (14.71 percent) considered themselves to be “quite inactive” while only 4.43 percent of gardeners said the same. “Almost twice as many gardeners (38 percent) considered themselves to be ‘very active’ compared with only 19.6 percent of nongardeners,” the noted study. More than 75 percent of gardeners who participated in the survey rated their health as either “very good” or “excellent.” Gardeners also reported eating more fruit and vegetables because of their exposure to gardening.

Dr Klatz observes: Older adults who garden report enhanced optimism, more physical activity and higher energy levels, suggesting the health benefits of outdoor hobbies and active engagement.

More Sleep Equals Less Weight
If you want to increase your chances of losing weight, reduce your stress level and get adequate sleep. A new Kaiser Permanente (Oregon, US) study found that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach that goal if they had lower stress levels and slept more than six hours but not more than eight hours a night.  Nearly 500 participants from Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Washington took part in the study, which measured whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing and computer screen time were correlated with weight loss. During the study’s first phase, all participants attended weekly meetings at which they were weighed and advised to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories per day, adopt a low-fat, low-sugar diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity to 180 minutes a week and keep daily food records. People who kept more food records and attended more meetings were more likely to lose weight during this phase of the trial. Participants also were asked to report levels of insomnia, stress and depression and to record how much time they slept and spent watching television or using a computer. The research team found that sleep and stress levels were good predictors of weight loss, but depression and screen time were not. People with the lowest stress levels who also got more than six hours, but not more than eight hours, of sleep were most likely to lose at least 10 pounds. In fact, nearly three-quarters of this group moved on to the second phase of the trial, and were twice as likely to be successful as those who reported the highest stress levels and got six or fewer hours of sleep per night.

Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach that goal if they had lower stress levels and slept between 6 and 8 hours nightly, these researchers reaffirm the importance of rejuvenative sleep.

Cranberry Shows Heart Benefits
Cranberry containing 835 milligrams of total polyphenols and 94 mg of anthocyanins was associated with improvements in a measure of arterial stiffness called carotid femoral pulse wave velocity. Joe Vita, from Boston University, and colleagues observed “a highly significant effect of cranberry juice on stiffness of the central aorta, which is increasingly recognized as an important measure of vascular function with relevance to cardiovascular disease.” The team completed an acute pilot study with no placebo involving 15 participants, finding that cranberry juice (480 mL) was associated with improvements in both brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, from 7.7 percent before ingestion to 8.7 percent four hours after ingestion, as well as digital pulse amplitude tonometry ratio from to 0.10 to 0.23.

Comments Dr Klatz: Finding that polyphenol-rich cranberry juice may boost heart health by alleviating arterial stiffness, this team reveals a potentially vital functional health role for this common berry.

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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