June 3-9, 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.

Interactions Promote Cognitive Health
Among persons ages 65 years and older who have dementia, more frequent social activity appears to be associated with subsequently reduced rates of cognitive decline. Bryan D. James, from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Illinois, and colleagues evaluated data from 1,138 older study subjects, mean age 79.6 years, without dementia at baseline, enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project during an average follow-up period of 5.2 years, extending up to 12 years. The team employed a questionnaire to assess how often during the past year participants engaged in six common types of activities that involve social interaction, including visiting restaurants, church or relatives’ or friends’ houses and participating in civic clubs and volunteer activities. Cognition was measured in five domains, namely: episodic memory, semantic memory, working memory, perceptual speed, and visuospatial ability. Social activity scores ranged from 1 to 4.2. The researchers found that a 1-point increase in social activity score was associated with a 47-percent decrease in the rate of decline in global cognitive function.  The rate of global cognitive decline was reduced by an average of 70 percent in persons who were frequently socially active, as compared with persons who were infrequently socially active. This association was similar across the five domains of cognitive function measured. The researchers conclude that: “These results confirm that more socially active older adults experience less cognitive decline in old age.”

Dr Klatz observes: Reporting that more frequent social activity associates with subsequently reduced rates of cognitive decline, among seniors with dementia, these researchers reaffirm the life-enhancing benefits of positive interpersonal interactions.

Middle-Aged Spread Linked to Dementia
New research has shown that being overweight or obese at midlife can significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Weili Xu of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues studied data of 8,534 twins aged 65 and older. Of those studied 350 had been diagnosed with dementia and 114 had possible dementia. Information on the participants’ height and weight, which had been obtained some 30 years earlier, showed that 2,541 twins (~30 percent) were overweight or obese during middle-age. Results showed that participants who were overweight or obese at midlife had an 80-percent higher risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or vascular dementia in later life. “Currently, 1.6 billion adults are overweight or obese worldwide and over 50 percent of adults in the United States and Europe fit into this category,” said Dr Xu. “Our results contribute to the growing evidence that controlling body weight or losing weight in middle age could reduce your risk of dementia.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: Sharing data that suggests that being overweight or obese in middle-age may dramatically increase the risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia, these Swedish researchers underscore the vital importance of maintaining a healthy weight throughout life.

Bamboo Helps Lower Cholesterol, Prevent Cancer
Eaten in China for more than 2,500 years, bamboo shoots may be the next new superfood. Research has shown that high-fibber young bamboo shoots are a rich source of minerals (potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc, chromium, copper, iron, plus lower amounts of phosphorus and selenium), vitamins (thiamine, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin E) and amino acids (17 in total, 8 of which are essential amino acids). They also contain high levels phytosterols, anti-cancer agents, and anti-microbial compounds. Professor Nirmala Chongtham, of Panjab University in India, and colleagues note that eating bamboo shoots conveys a number of health benefits, “from cancer prevention and weight loss to lowering cholesterol level, improving appetite and digestion.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Packed with nutrients and demonstrating anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, this research team presents compelling evidence suggesting a functional health role for this ancient food.

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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