July 8-14, 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.
Anti-Aging Lifestyle Aids Productivity
Making positive and sustainable changes in one’s daily routine can result in measurable improvements in quality of life. Florence Clark, from University of Southern California, and colleagues enrolled men and women ages 60 to 95 years in a five-year study during which at six-month intervals licensed occupational therapists assisted the subjects to develop sustainably healthy lifestyles and assess subsequent changes to the participants’ overall quality of life. The team found that subjects who maintained an active social, spiritual and physical life were at reduced risks of developing health declines. Commenting that: “A lifestyle-oriented occupational therapy intervention has beneficial effects for ethnically diverse older people recruited from a wide array of community settings,” the researchers urge that: “Because the intervention is cost-effective and is applicable on a wide-scale basis, it has the potential to help reduce health decline and promote well-being in older people.”
Dr Klatz observes: Reporting that an active social, spiritual and physical life helps to prevent health declines, these researchers add to the growing body of evidence attesting to the merits of an anti-aging lifestyle.
Exercise to Protect the Brain
Small brain lesions that often are the first sign of cerebrovascular disease, “silent strokes” are associated with an increased risk of falls and impaired mobility, memory problems, dementia, as well as stroke. Joshua Z. Willey, from Columbia University, and colleagues report that older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop these small brain lesions. The team’s study involved 1,238 people who had never had a stroke. Participants completed a questionnaire about how often and how intensely they exercised at the beginning of the study and then had MRI scans of their brains at an average of six years later, when they were an average of 70 years old. A total of 43 percent of the participants reported that they had no regular exercise; 36 percent engaged in regular light exercise, such as golf, walking, bowling or dancing; and 21 percent engaged in regular moderate to intense exercise, such as hiking, tennis, swimming, biking, jogging or racquetball. The brain scans showed that 197 of the participants, or 16 percent, had small brain lesions (“silent strokes”). People who engaged in moderate to intense exercise were 40-percent less likely to have the silent strokes than people who did no regular exercise. The results remained the same after the researchers took into account other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. There was no difference between those who engaged in light exercise and those who did not exercise. Writing that: “Increased levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of [silent brain infarcts]…,” the researchers urge that: “Engaging in moderate to heavy physical activities may be an important component of prevention strategies aimed at reducing subclinical brain infarcts.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop small brain lesions, these scientists reaffirm the interconnectivity of physical health and brain fitness.
Strawberry Compound Lowers Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is suspected to be an overexpression or lack of control of the body’s normal protective mechanisms, and the condition has been linked to a range of conditions linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, type-2 diabetes, and arthritis. Britt Burton-Freeman, from Illinois Institute of Technology, and colleagues enrolled 24 obese men and women who were fed a high-carbohydrate, moderate-fat meal, which is known to produce inflammatory and insulin responses after eating, and given either a strawberry beverage or a placebo beverage. Among those who drank the strawberry beverage, the researchers observed a 25-percent lower level of IL-6, a marker of inflammation, six hours after consumption, compared with people receiving the placebo drink. In addition, levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), another key inflammatory marker, were 13 percent lower following consumption of the strawberry beverage, compared to following consumption of the placebo beverage. Further analysis showed that blood levels of two strawberry compounds, pelargonidin sulfate and pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside, significantly increased following ingestion of the strawberry beverage at the same time as eating the test meal, as compared with placebo. Writing that ”The strawberry beverage significantly attenuated the postprandial inflammatory response as measured by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and IL-6 induced by the [high-carbohydrate, moderate-fat meal],” and that “it was also associated with a reduction in postprandial insulin response,” the team concludes that: “these data provide evidence for favourable effects of strawberry antioxidants on postprandial inflammation and insulin sensitivity.
Comments Dr Klatz: Anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds found abundantly in strawberries, decrease levels of inflammatory markers. This study further advances the notion of a functional health aspect to the consumption of colourful fruits.
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.