December 9-15, 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.

Motivation for Active Life a Key to Happiness
While a number of studies document that regular physical activity lowers the risk of a number of diseases, including depression, as we age, getting people to engage in routine exercise remains difficult.  Magnus Lindwall, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues studied 17,593 older adults from 11 European countries, average age 64 years, who are enrolled in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE). The subjects in the study were followed up over a period of two and a half years, among other things with regard to physical activity and depression. The team found that regular physical activity associated with a lower risk of suffering depression in old age. Importantly, the team found that self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading seniors to exercise more. The study authors conclude that: “Regular physical activity may be a valuable tool in the prevention of future depressive symptoms in older adults, and depressive symptoms may also prevent older adults from engaging in regular physical activity.”

Dr Klatz observes: In that self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading seniors to exercise more, it is critical for physicians to foster a platform to reinforce such attitudes in an effort to promote the extended healthy lifespan.

Cycling Boasts Big Health Benefits
With the global obesity epidemic and concerns about the carbon footprint of automobile travel, University of Wisconsin researchers submit that more people should eliminate short car trips in lieu of cycling. Moving five-mile roundtrips from cars to bikes is a win-win situation that is often ignored in discussions of transportation alternatives, but Jonathan Patz and colleagues submit that doing so during the warmest six months of the year can save US$3.8 billion per year from avoided mortality and reduced healthcare costs for conditions including obesity and heart disease. Writing that: “We estimate that the combined benefits of improved air quality and physical fitness would exceed $7 billion/year,” the researchers conclude that: “Our findings suggest that significant health and economic benefits are possible if bicycling replaces short car trips. Less auto dependence in urban areas would also improve health in downwind rural settings.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: Replacing half of short auto trips with cycling during the warmest six months of the year produces financial savings that manifest from avoided mortality and reduced healthcare costs for conditions including obesity and heart disease.

Nuts May Improve Markers of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a condition characterised by central obesity, hypertension and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism.  Cristina Andres-Lacueva, from the University of Barcelona, and colleagues investigated the biochemical effects of nut consumption, enrolling 22 men and women with Metabolic Syndrome on a 12-week study in which subjects received patients one ounce of mixed nuts (raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) daily, and compared them to a group of 20 subjects who avoided nuts for the same duration. The team analysed the broad spectrum of compounds excreted in the subjects’ urine and found evidence of several healthful changes among those consuming nuts. They found that nut consumption boosted the levels of serotonin metabolites in urine, explaining that serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health. The study authors conclude that: “The results confirmed how a non-targeted metabolomics strategy may help to access unexplored metabolic pathways impacted by diet, thereby raising prospects for new intervention targets.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that consuming just an ounce of mixed nuts daily may improve abdominal obesity, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, these researchers reveal a potentially important dietary intervention for people with Metabolic Syndrome.

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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