October 7-13, 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.

Neighbourly Trust Means Better Health
In that an individual’s relative position in a community or population can influence their health, Eileen Bjornstrom, from the University of Missouri, examined data collected in the 2001 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey. Contrary to expectations, she found that respondents with a higher income, relative to their community, were more likely to be distrustful of their neighbours. Simultaneously, while taking into account factors such as level of education, income and age, people who reported that “their neighbours can be trusted” also reported better health on average.  She posits that shared community resources help to promote interaction and bridge the neighbourhood trust gap, serving to promote health and wellbeing.  Consequently, the researcher urges that: “Residents of all economic statuses might then benefit if community cohesion was increased.”

Dr Klatz observes: Finding that people who trust their neighbours enjoy better health, this team emphasises an oft-overlooked aspect of longevity – community connectivity and interpersonal engagement.

Lifetime of Physical Activity Boosts Independence  
A long-term commitment to routine physical activity contributes to maintaining physical performance and strength in later life. Rachel Cooper, from the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, and colleagues examined the associations of leisure time physical activity across adulthood with physical performance and strength in midlife in a group of 2,400 men and women from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, followed up since birth in March 1946. The researchers analyzed self-reported leisure time physical activity levels at 36, 43 and 53 years of age. During the 53-year investigation, grip strength (a measure of upper-body muscle condition), standing balance (a marker of neurophysiological and sensory system performance) and chair-rise times (characterising lower body strength and power, as well as cardiorespiratory fitness) were measured as indicators of strength and physical performance. Participants who were more active at all three ages showed better performance on the chair-rise test. Persons more active at ages 43 and 53 had better performance on the standing balance test. In men, physical activity at age 53 was associated with grip strength. Concluding that: “There are cumulative benefits of physical activity across adulthood on physical performance in midlife,” the team submits that: “Increased activity should be promoted early in adulthood to ensure the maintenance of physical performance in later life.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: British researchers report that the benefits of physical activity accumulate across a lifetime, serving to prolong physical performance and strength in later life. This finding reaffirms the life-enhancing benefits of regular exercise.

Dark Chocolate Promotes Healthy Cholesterol     
Previously, studies have identified that dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that may help to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Luc Djousse, from Harvard Medical School, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials of flavanol-rich cocoa products or dark chocolate, involving 320 subjects. Five of the studies used daily flavanol doses of less than 500 mg, and five use doses exceeding 500 mg daily. The researchers report that dark chocolate/cocoa products consumption reduced LDL by 5.9 mL/dl, and total cholesterol by 6.23 mL/dl. The team concludes that: “These data are consistent with beneficial effects of dark chocolate/cocoa products on total and LDL cholesterol.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that polyphenol-rich dark chocolate may reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels, these scientists add further evidence to the growing number of studies suggesting heart-healthy benefits of this 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 endeavours and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

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