September 23-29, 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 Promotes Longevity
Living an anti-aging lifestyle is associated with reductions in the risks of major chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Such a low-risk lifestyle, with an emphasis on healthy eating and being active, beneficially impacts the risks of death as well. Earl Ford, from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and colleagues assessed data collected on 16,958 subjects, ages 17 and up, enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III Mortality Study from 1988 to 2006. People who practiced four low-risk behaviours – not smoking, eating healthy, getting enough exercise and drinking alcohol moderately – were 63 percent less likely to die within the 18-year study period than those who kept none of those practices. The researchers also found that the rate of advancement periods – a representation of the equivalent risk from aging a certain number of years – for those who practiced high-risk behaviours (rather than low-risk ones) compared with those who practiced none was equivalent to the risk of: 11.1 years for all-cause death; 14.4 years for malignant neoplasms; 9.9 years for major cardiovascular disease; and 10.6 years for other causes. The team concludes that: “Low-risk lifestyle factors exert a powerful and beneficial effect on mortality.”
Dr Klatz observes: Four behaviours characteristic of the anti-aging lifestyle markedly slash the risks of death. The principles are simple: don’t smoke, eat a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise and drink alcohol in moderation.
Exercise Helps Prevent Brain Changes
Previously research has shown that exercise after brain injury can help the repair mechanisms. This new study shows that exercise before the onset of damage modifies the brain environment in such a way that the neurons are protected from severe insults. Jean Harry, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and colleagues used an experimental model of brain damage, in which mice are exposed to a chemical that destroys the hippocampus, an area of the brain which controls learning and memory. The team observed that mice that were exercised regularly prior to exposure produced interleukin-6 in the brain, which dampened the harmful inflammatory response to this damage, and prevented the loss of function that is usually observed. This research helps to elucidate how exercise could be used to affect the path of many human conditions, such as neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, as a chemical model of neuronal damage was used, it also raises the possibility that exercise could offer protection against the potentially harmful effects of environmental toxins.
Remarks Dr Goldman: Reporting that regular exercise may help prevent inflammation-related brain damage characteristic in Alzheimer’s Disease, these researchers further the growing body of evidence that demonstrates the connection between body fitness and brain fitness.
Physical Activity Relieves Arthritis
While a number of studies suggest a substantial therapeutic role for physical activity in alleviating the symptoms of osteoarthritis, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers warn that more than half of women and 40 percent of men with arthritis are virtually couch potatoes. Postulating that physical activity can help people with arthritis better control and lower pain and improve general function; and that some studies indicate exercise may delay or even prevent disability in people with arthritis, Dorothy Dunlop and colleagues asked 1,111 adults with knee osteoarthritis, ages 49 to 84 years, to wear an accelerometer – a small, sophisticated device that looks like a pedometer – to measure their physical activity for one week during waking hours. The team found that only 40.1 percent of men and 56.5 percent of women met the federal guidelines recommending that adults with arthritis participate in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity, low-impact activity. Writing that: “Despite substantial health benefits from physical activity, adults with knee [osteoarthritis] were particularly inactive” with “the percentages of men and women who met public health physical activity guidelines were substantially less than previous reports based on self-reported activity in arthritis populations,” the team urges that: “These findings support intensified public health efforts to increase physical activity levels among persons with knee [osteoarthritis].”
Comments Dr Klatz: Physical activity is one of best ways people with arthritis can improve their health, adding to the long list of life-improving, life-extending benefits of staying active as we age.
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 endeavours and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.