July 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.
Low-Fat Diet May Improve Biomarker of Alzheimer’s
The 42-amino-acid form of amyloid-beta protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CFS), known as CSF AB42, is considered to be a key biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease risk, as some previous studies have reported that declines in CSF AB42 associate with worsening cognitive function and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Suzanne Craft, from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Washington, and colleagues recruited 29 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and 20 cognitively normal controls, with the mean age in both groups at about 70 years, and randomly assigned each subject to either a low-fat diet (25 percent of calories from fat, with less than 7 percent from saturated fat and a glycemic index of less than 55), or high-fat diet (45 percent of calories from fat with saturated fat accounting for more than 25 percent of calories and a glycemic index of more than 70). In addition to CSF AB42, levels of other factors such as insulin, tau protein and apolipoprotein E in CSF were measured, along with blood lipids and insulin. In response to the low-fat diet, cognitively impaired patients had increases in CSF insulin and AB42, whereas decreases were seen in the healthy controls. The high-fat diet seemed to affect the CSF biomarkers only in the normal controls. CSF insulin declined dramatically in controls with this diet but no mean change was seen in the patients. A similar pattern was seen for CSF levels of apolipoprotein E. Relative to those on the high-fat diet, those on the low-fat diet – among both cognitively impaired patients and controls – improved their performance on a test of delayed visual memory. Little change from baseline was seen in either group with the high-fat diet, but scores increased substantially from baseline in patients and controls. The researchers conclude that: “Our results suggest that diet may be a powerful environmental factor that modulates Alzheimer disease risk through its effects on central nervous system concentrations of A[beta]42, lipoproteins, oxidative stress, and insulin.”
Dr Klatz observes: “Reporting that a low-fat diet improves CSF AB42, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease risk, in patients with mild cognitive impairment, this team reveals a nutritional component to Alzheimer’s that potentially represents a major modifiable aspect of the disease.”
Strength Training an Anti-Aging Essential
While people typically lose 30 percent of their muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70 years, it is critically important to maintain muscle strength as we age, to preserve mobility and independent living. Frank Mayer, from the University of Potsdam in Germany, and colleagues reviewed recently published studies about strength (resistance) training in elderly persons, and which intensities of exercise are useful and possible in persons older than 60 years. The team found that regular strength (resistance) training increased muscle strength, reduced muscular atrophy, and that tendons and bones adapt, too. These successes in turn had a preventive effect in terms of avoiding falls and injuries. Greater intensities of training yielded greater effects than moderate and low intensities. In order to increase muscle mass, an intensity of 60-85 percent of the one-repetition-maximum is required. In order to increase rapidly available muscle force, higher intensities (greater than 85 percent) are required. The optimum amount of exercise for healthy elderly persons is 3 to 4 training units per week. The researchers urge that: “Progressive strength training in the elderly is efficient, even with higher intensities, to reduce sarcopenia, and to retain motor function.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: “Finding that progressive strength training helps to counteract aging-related muscle declines, this German team reaffirms the utility of resistance exercise as we age.”
Adequate Sleep Improves Quality of Life
While previous studies have associated excessive and/or short sleep durations with increased risks of death, researchers from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio reveal findings on how sleep duration affects quality of life and depression. Charles Bae and colleagues analyzed records collected on 10,654 patients, mean age of about 52 years. A standardized questionnaire assessed quality of life, and a screening tool rated depression. People with a “normal” sleep duration of six to nine hours per night had higher self-reported scores for quality of life and lower scores for depression severity, compared to short sleepers (less than six hours nightly) and long sleepers (more than nine hours per night). Further, among patients who reported having perfect health, there were a higher percentage of normal sleepers, who also had significantly lower scores for depression severity compared to short and long sleepers with perfect health. The researchers conclude that: “Short and long sleepers have a lower quality of life and screen higher for depression.”
Comments Dr Klatz: “Sufficient quality sleep not only improves self-rated quality of life, but lowers the person’s scores of depression, confirming the rejuvenative importance of this nightly process.”
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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