January 20-26, 2012
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.
B-Vitamins Boost Brain Function
In that brain functioning naturally declines with age, a number of previous studies submit that folic acid and vitamin B12 serve to maintain healthy brain function, suggesting that low levels of these nutrients may lead to a more rapid deterioration of cognitive function. Janine G Walker, from Australia National University, and colleagues completed a randomised controlled trial conducted over two years, in which a subset of participants consumed a daily oral dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid plus 100 micrograms of vitamin B12, with the remainder of the subjects administered a placebo. The team examined changes in cognitive functioning at 12 and 24 months via two standardized assessment tests. At 24 months, the combination of folic acid with B-12 improved delayed recall scores, as compared to placebo. Whereas no significant changes were evident in orientation, attention, semantic memory, processing speed, or self-reported observations, the study authors conclude that: “Long-term supplementation of daily oral 400 [micrograms of folic acid plus 100 micrograms of] vitamin B-12 promotes improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 [months], particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance
Dr Klatz observes: Finding that daily supplementation of folic acid and vitamin B12 help to improve brain functioning among older people, these scientists add to the growing body of evidence suggesting nutritional approaches to maintain cognitive health.
Sustained Fitness Promotes Long Life
Fitness is considered to be a reliable objective marker of habitual physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) is widely accepted as a measure of overall obesity. Duck-chul Lee, from the University of South Carolina at Columbia, and colleagues explored the independent and combined associations of changes in fitness as estimated from a maximal treadmill test and BMI with all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. The team revealed that men who were physically fit in their 40s, and maintained that fitness level for a decade, reduced their risk of all-cause death by 30 percent – compared with men who were flabby at age 40. Specifically, during more than 11 years of follow-up, the researchers found that those men who maintained their baseline fitness levels had a 28-percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease death, while those who improved their fitness had a 40-percent and 44-percent lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease death, respectively, compared with those who remained unfit. Whereas BMI status had little impact on risk of death in those who remained fit, BMI had variable yet non-significant impact on those who lost fitness or were unfit at the study’s start. For every 1-metabolic equivalent (MET) improvement in fitness, there was a 15-percent lowering of the risk of all-cause death, and a 19-percent reduction in cardiovascular disease death. Observing that: “Maintaining or improving fitness is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and [cardiovascular disease] mortality in men,” the study authors urge that: “Preventing age-associated fitness loss is important for longevity regardless of [body mass index] change.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Reporting that men who are physically fit in their 40s, and maintain that fitness level for a decade, reduce their risk of all-cause death by 30 percent, these researchers reaffirm the life-extending role of regular exercise.
Role of Lifestyle, Environment in Cancer
In that it is well established that certain lifestyle habits relate to the risk of certain cancers, D M Parkin, from Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues have completed a study that estimates the proportions of cancer in the population associated with a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors. The team found that smoking exerts, by far, the largest effect on the risk of cancer, with 19.4 percent of cancer cases in the UK attributable to tobacco use. A poor diet (less intake of fruits and vegetables and fibre and greater intake of meat and salt), obesity, and alcohol are the next most important factors that relate to cancer, with alcohol being calculated to relate to 4 percent of cancer cases in the UK. The study authors observe that: “Population-attributable fractions provide a valuable quantitative appraisal of the impact of different factors in cancer causation, and are thus helpful in prioritising cancer control strategies.”
Comments Dr Klatz: UK researchers identify the proportions of cancer in the population that associate with lifestyle and environmental factors, urging a greater awareness and action on the public’s part to reduce these modifiable cancer triggers.
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.